Mughal Gardens of Kashmir
The celebrated Mughal gardens of Kashmir owe their grandeur primarily to Emperor Jahangir who deeply loved Kashmir, and his son Shah Jahan. Jahangir was responsible for the careful selection of the sites and manoeuvring it to suit the requirements of the gardens.
Jahangir spent fourteen summers in the Valley of Kashmir, coming in late spring, and returning in Autumn when the saffron flowers had bloomed. He died in Bahram-Galah (a small village near Poonch), on the way to his fifteenth visit.
The sites selected were invariably at the foot of a mountain, wherever there was a source of water either in the form of streams or springs. This feature eventually evolved in terraced garden layouts.
The highly advanced engineering skills of the Mughal empire helped in creation of the timeless beauty of the exquisite gardens.
The major gardens are - Pari Mahal, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh & Chashma Shahi in Srinagar, Achabal Bagh near Anant Nag and Verinag.
The Bagh was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Noor Jahan, in 1619. The Bagh is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture. this garden has four terraces rising one above the other. There is a central canal of water flowing in this garden and numerous different trees and flowers grow in abundance.
Designed by Asaf Khan, the brother of Mughal Queen NoorJahan in 1633 AD, this is the largest of the Mughal gardens. It offers a mystic view of the Pir Panjal range and Dal Lake. There is a spring called ‘Gopi Tirth’ which provides water for the whole garden. There is a Mughal era, two storied structure enclosed on two sides with latticed windows. A central water channel flows through the middle of the garden and is flanked by flower beds and Chinar trees on either side.
Chashma Shahi or Chashma i Shahi (translation: the royal spring), also called Chashma Shahi, is one of the Mughal gardens built in 1632 AD around a spring by Ali Mardan Khan, a governor of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as per the orders of the Emperor, as a gift for his elder son Prince Dara Shikoh.
The Pari Mahal was built by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh in the mid-1600s. It served as a library and an abode for him. Dara Shikoh was said to have lived in this area in the years 1640, 1645, and 1654. It was further used as an observatory, useful for teaching astrology and astronomy.
Mughal Gardens of India
The founder of the Mughal empire, Babur, described his favourite type of garden as a charbagh. The term bāgh, baug, bageecha or bagicha is used for the garden. This word developed a new meaning in South Asia, as the region lacked the fast-flowing streams required for the Central Asian charbagh. The Aram Bagh of Agra is thought to have been the first charbagh in South Asia.
From the beginnings of the Mughal Empire, the construction of gardens was a beloved imperial pastime. Babur, the first Mughal conqueror-king, had gardens built in Lahore and Dholpur. Humayun, his son, does not seem to have had much time for building—he was busy reclaiming and increasing the realm—but he is known to have spent a great deal of time at his father’s gardens. Akbar built several gardens first in Delhi, then in Agra, Akbar’s new capital.These tended to be riverfront gardens rather than the fortress gardens that his predecessors built. Building riverfront rather than fortress gardens influenced later Mughal garden architecture considerably.