- The twelve terraced gardens in the Kashmir valley are a representation of twelve zodiac signs!
A picturesque setting: terraced garden
- On the eastern side of the picturesque Dal lake, lies the garden of bliss – The Nishat Garden. The second-largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir valley after Shalimar bagh is located in the backdrop of the Zabarwan Mountains and provides a spectacular view of the lake.
a close-up of the Nishat garden
Stepped stone ramps and a rectangular layout:
- The design of the garden is largely influenced by the Persian style. A water channel flows through the center, but unlike Chahar Bagh, the layout is rectangular. The architecture is east to west facing and the snow-capped Pir panjal range also lies close to it. One can have a magnificent view of the snow-capped range from the garden itself.
- The layout was planned out according to the natural topography of the garden hence a few elements are different from the Chahar style. The garden is 548m long and 338m wide. The garden resembles Shalimar with its polished stone channels and terraces, the source of the water supply of both gardens being the same, the gopi thirst(a spring).
sunset view of dal lake from Nishat garden
The garden premises also hold the beauty of other Mughal architecture that lies nearby. Central water channel with fountains adds more to the scenic beauty of the garden.[terraced garden]The garden is terraced and it is believed that each terrace represents a zodiac sign! The water flows from the topmost terrace to the lowest one. Stepped stone ramps provide sparkle to the flowing water.
The twelve terraces – fountains and water pools coupled with the scenic gardens:
the terraced appearance of the garden
- The lowermost terrace has a water gathering chamber followed by the second and third one with five fountains. The second terrace is the most beautiful of all. It impresses the visitors with its Persian lilacs and pansies along with the cascading water fountains.[terraced garden]
- The fourth terrace holds a water pool which is square while the fifth one is flanked by five water channels and has seating arrangements for the visitors. The sixth and seventh terraces have five water fountains each and stand out in terms of pavement design.
- The eighth terrace is a simple one with a single water channel while the ninth one has nine water fountains and a pool. Likewise, the tenth one holds water fountains and is connected to the eleventh one with an engraved path.[terraced garden] The eleventh terrace holds a water pool with twenty-five fountains and the topmost terrace has octagonal towers and is profoundly called the zenana chamber.
- The topmost terrace is home to a beautiful garden with a collection of kaleidoscopic flowers.
garden view – fountains along with red and yellow flowers
A Fascinating history :
- The garden is said to have been designed by Asif Khan, a relative of emperor Shah Jahan. It is said that the emperor was quite impressed with the grandeur of the garden and wanted it as a gift. On being denied for the same, he ordered the closing of all water sources to the garden.[terraced garden] The garden was deserted for some time but later the channels were reopened.
- The garden, today is a major tourist attraction of Srinagar and continues to delight its visitors with lush green gardens and colorful blossoms.[terraced garden]