Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar

Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal garden in Srinagar, linked through a channel to the northeast of Dal Lake. Its other names are Shalimar Garden, Shalimar Bagh, Farah Baksh, and Faiz Baksh, and the other famous shoreline garden in the vicinity is Nishat Bagh. The Bagh was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan, in 1619. The Bagh is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture. It is now a public park. It is also called the "Crown of Srinagar".[1][2]

Shalimar Bagh
The Shalimar Bagh pavilions in the periphery of Dal Lake.
The Shalimar Bagh pavilions in the periphery of Dal Lake.
TypeMughal garden
LocationSrinagar, Kashmir
Coordinates34°8′32.48″N 74°51′46.48″E / 34.1423556°N 74.8629111°ECoordinates: 34°8′32.48″N 74°51′46.48″E / 34.1423556°N 74.8629111°E
Area12.4 hectares (31 acres)
Opened1619 A.D.
FounderJahangir
Owned byJammu and Kashmir Tourism Department
Operated byJammu and Kashmir Tourism Department
Websitewww.jktourism.org

History

Shalimar Mughal Garden Srinagar 2
The Garden, with Dal Lake in the background

While the recent history and development of the Mughal types of gardens is credited to Emperor Jahangir, the ancient history of the garden can be traced to the 2nd century when it was built during the reign of Pravarsena II. Praversena II founded the city of Srinagar and ruled in Kashmir from 79 AD to 139 AD. He had built a cottage for his stay at the northeastern corner of the Dal Lake and had named it Shalimar.

The word Shalimar in Sanskrit means 'abode of love'. The king, on his visits to a local saint by the name Sukarma Swami at Harwan, used to stop at this cottage. Over the years, the cottage fell into ruins and later could not be located. However, the name of the place remained as Shalimar.

It is here that Emperor Jahangir built his celebrated Shalimar Bagh, his dream project to please his queen.[3] He enlarged the ancient garden in 1619 into a royal garden and called it 'Farah Baksh' ('the delightful'). He built it for his wife Nur Jahan ('light of the world'). In 1630, under Emperor Shah Jahan’s orders, Zafar Khan the governor of Kashmir extended it. He named it ‘Faiz Baksh’ ('the bountiful'). It then became a pleasure place for the Sikh governors of the province.

During the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the marble pavilion was the guest house for European visitors. Electrification of the premises was done during Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule. Thus, over the years, the garden was extended and improved by many rulers and called by different names, but the most popular name ‘Shalimar Bagh’ continues to this day.[2][4]

During the Mughal period, in particular, Emperor Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan were so enamoured of Kashmir that during summer they moved to Srinagar with their full-court entourage from Delhi at least 13 times. Shalimar Bagh was their imperial summer residence and the Royal Court. They crossed the arduous snowy passes of the Pir Panjal mountain range on elephants to reach Srinagar.[5]

Layout

The entrance to Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar
Entrance channel to Shalimar Bagh from Dal Lake, 1864 view

The layout of the garden is an adaptation of another Islamic garden layout known as the Persian gardens. This garden built on flat land on a square plan with four radiating arms from a central location as the water source. It needed to be modified to suit the hilly terrain and availability of a well, which could be diverted from a higher elevation to the planned gardens. Modifications involved the main channel running through the garden axially from top to the lowest point. This central channel, known as the Shah Nahar, is the main axis of the garden. It runs through three terraces. This layout left out the radial arms and the shape became rectangular, instead of a square plan of the Chahar Bagh.[2]

The garden, as finally laid out, covers an area of 12.4 hectares (31 acres) built with a size of 587 metres (1,926 ft) length on the main axis channel and with a total width of 251 metres (823 ft). The garden has three terraces fitted with fountains and with chinar (sycamore) tree-lined vistas. The Shahnahar is the main feeder channel to all the terraces. Each one of the three terraces has a specific role.[2]

The garden was linked to the open Dal Lake water through a canal of about 1 mile (1.6 km) length and 12 yards (11 m) in width that ran through swampy quagmire. Willow groves and rice terraces fringed the lake edge. Broad green paths bordered the lake with rows of chinar trees. The garden was laid in trellised walkways lined by avenues of aspen trees planted at 2 feet (0.61 m) interval.[3]

Architecture

Shalimar Gardens, Kashmir.
View of Shalimar Bagh
Shalimar Garden Shrinagar Pavilion
The marble pavilion

The architectural details of the three terraces of the garden are elaborate.

The first terrace is a public garden or the outer garden ending in the Diwan-e-Aam (public audience hall). In this hall, a small black marble throne was installed over the waterfall.[2][5]

The second terrace garden along the axial canal, slightly broader, has two shallow terraces. The Diwan-e-Khas (the Hall of Private Audience), which was accessible only to the noblemen or guests of the court, now derelict, is in its centre. However, the carved stone bases and a fine platform surrounded by fountains are still seen. The royal bathrooms are located on the north-west boundary of this enclosure. The fountain pools of the Diwan-e-Khas, the Diwan-e-Aam, and in turn, the Zenana terrace are supplied in succession.[6] It has 410 fountains.

In the third terrace, the axial water channel flows through the Zenana garden, which is flanked by the Diwan-e-Khas and chinar trees. At the entrance to this terrace, there are two small pavilions or guard rooms (built in Kashmir style on stone plinth) that is the restricted and controlled entry zone of the royal harem. Shahjahan built a baradari of black marble, called the Black Pavilion in the zenana garden. It is encircled by a fountain pool that receives its supply from a higher terrace. A double cascade falls against a low wall carved with small niches (chini khanas), behind the pavilion. Two smaller, secondary water canals lead from the Black Pavilion to a small baradari. Above the third level, two octagonal pavilions define the end wall of the garden. The baradari has a lovely backdrop of the snow mountains, which is considered a befitting setting for the Bagh.[2][6]

The Shalimar Bagh is well known for chini khanas, or arched niches, behind garden waterfalls. They are a unique feature in the Bagh. These niches were lighted at night with oil lamps, which gave a fairy tale appearance to the waterfalls. However, now the niches hold pots of flower pots that reflect their colours behind the cascading water.[2][6]

Another unusual architectural feature mentioned is about the doors of the Baradari. In the garden complex, the Baradari had four exquisite doors made of stones supported by pillars. It is conjectured that these stone doors were ruins from old temples that were demolished by Shahjahan. The garden also provided large water troughs where a variety of fountains were fixed.[7]

It has been aptly described by a chronicler glowingly:

[7]

A subtle air of leisure and repose, a romantic indefinable spell, pervades the royal Shalimar: this leafy garden of dim vistas, shallow terraces, smooth sheets of falling water, and wide canals, with calm reflections broken only by the stepping stones across the streams.

Even in later years, during Maharaja’s rule, the gardens were well maintained and continue to be so even now as it is one of the prominent visitor attractions around the Dal Lake.

The garden is considered to be very beautiful during the autumn and spring seasons due to the colour change in leaves of the famed Chinar trees.

The gardens were the inspiration for other gardens of the same name, notably the Shalimar Bagh, Delhi in Delhi (built in 1653, which now also has an upscale colony) and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1641.

The black pavilion built during the early part of Jahangir's reign (1569–1627), in the top terrace of the Shalimar Bagh, has the famous inscription in Persian, which says:[8][9]

اگر فردوس بر روے زمین است
همین است و همین است و همین است
Agar Firdaus bar rōy-e zamin ast,
hamin ast-o hamin ast-o hamin ast.

This is a couplet by the Persian-language poet Amir Khusrau, which is inscribed on many buildings in the Indian subcontinent.

Translated to English, it means:

If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.

It is also mentioned that when Jahangir was asked on his death bed about his cherished desire he is credited to have said:[10]

Kashmir, the rest is worthless.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bindloss, Joe; Sarina Singh (2007). India. Srinagar. Lonely Planet. pp. 353–354, 360. ISBN 1-74104-308-5. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar". Archnet.org. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b Stuart, C.M. Villiers (2008). Gardens of the Great Mughals (1913). Gardens of Dal Lake. Read Books. pp. 162–166. ISBN 1-4097-1962-6. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden, Srinagar". Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  5. ^ a b "The Royal Gardners of Mughal India". Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "History of Shalimar Bagh". 4 April 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  7. ^ a b Stuart p.167
  8. ^ Sajjad Kausar (July 2005). "Meaning of Mughal Landscape" (PDF). p. 1. Archived from the original (pdf) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  9. ^ Blake, Stephen P. (2002). Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India (1639-1739). Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-521-52299-4. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  10. ^ Byline. Chronicle Books. 2003. p. 248. ISBN 81-8028-003-9. Retrieved 31 December 2009.

External links

Amir Khusrow

Ab'ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (1253 – 1325) (Persian: ابوالحسن یمین الدین خسرو‎, Urdu: ابوالحسن یمین‌الدین خسرو‎), better known as Amīr Khusrow Dehlavī, was a Hazara Sufi musician, poet and scholar from India. He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of South Asia. He was a mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, India. He wrote poetry primarily in Persian, but also in Hindavi. A vocabulary in verse, the Ḳhāliq Bārī, containing Arabic, Persian, and Hindavi terms is often attributed to him. Khusrow is sometimes referred to as the "voice of India" (Tuti-e-Hind), and has been called the "father of Urdu literature."Khusrow is regarded as the "father of qawwali" (a devotional music form of the Sufis in the Indian subcontinent), and introduced the ghazal style of song into India, both of which still exist widely in India and Pakistan.

Khusrow was an expert in many styles of Persian poetry which were developed in medieval Persia, from Khāqānī's qasidas to Nizami's khamsa. He used 11 metrical schemes with 35 distinct divisions. He wrote in many verse forms including ghazal, masnavi, qata, rubai, do-baiti and tarkib-band. His contribution to the development of the ghazal was significant.

Dal Lake

Dal is a lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the " Lake of Flowers" , "Jewel in the crown of Kashmir" or "Srinagar's Jewel". The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F), freezing the lake.The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nigeen (although Nigeen is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.At present, the Dal and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious eutrophication problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments of approximately US$275 million (₹ 11 billion) are being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendour.

Doru Shahabad

Doru Shahabad (also written as Dooru Shahabad or only Doru) is a town and a notified area committee in Anantnag district of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It is also known as historical township in South Kashmir's Anantnag district. Doru shahabad has been known as a place of intelligentia where great scholars like Mehmood shah Gami, Rasul Mir shahabadi, were borne who contributed to the literature and culture of kashmir. In present times shahabad has produced chief minister like syed mir qasim and many other politicians, beuracrates and some leading agricultural scientists.

Garden design

Garden design is the art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Garden design may be done by the garden owner themselves, or by professionals of varying levels of experience and expertise. Most professional garden designers have some training in horticulture and the principles of design. Some are also landscape architects, a more formal level of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license. Amateur gardeners may also attain a high level of experience from extensive hours working in their own gardens, through casual study, serious study in Master Gardener Programs, or by joining gardening clubs.

History of gardening

The history of gardening may be considered as aesthetic expressions of beauty through art and nature, a display of taste or style in civilized life, an expression of an individual's or culture's philosophy, and sometimes as a display of private status or national pride—in private and public landscapes.

Kishtwar National Park

Kishtwar National Park is a national park located in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is bounded to the north by Rinnay river, south by Kibar Nala catchment, east by main divide of Great Himalaya and west by Marwa river.

Leh district

Leh is one of the two districts located in Ladakh, the other being the Kargil District to the west, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. With an area of 45,110 km2, it is the second largest district in the country (after Kutch, Gujarat) in terms of area. It is bounded on the north by Ghanche District (Gilgit-Baltistan), a small border with Xinjiang, China, via the Karakoram Pass which is part of the district. Aksai Chin and Tibet are to the east, Kargil district to the west, and Lahul and Spiti to the south. The district headquarters is in Leh. It lies between 32 to 36 degree north latitude and 75 to 80 degree east longitude.

The whole of Ladakh was under the administration of Leh until 1 July 1979, when the Kargil and Leh administrative districts were created. Religion has been a source of grievances between Buddhists and Muslims since the late 20th century and was a contributor to this division.As of 2011 it is the second least populous district of Jammu and Kashmir (out of 22), after Kargil.In 2017, the district was declared a tobacco-free zone. The Directorate of Health Services Kashmir under the National Tobacco Control Programme began working towards the designation early in 2017 and the status was declared in August. Rehana Kousar (in-charge, NTCP, Kashmir) said that work was done with civil society, religious and women's groups and that a "major success was achieved by the involvement of women in the anti-tobacco campaign."

List of World Heritage Sites in India

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are important places of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.There are 38 World Heritage Sites located in India. These include 30 cultural sites, seven natural sites and one mixed site. India has the sixth largest number of sites in the world.

Mughal architecture

Mughal Architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent. It developed the styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India as an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture. Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways, and delicate ornamentation. Examples of the style can be found in modern-day India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The Mughal dynasty was established after the victory of Babur at Panipat in 1526. During his five-year reign, Babur took considerable interest in erecting buildings, though few have survived. His grandson Akbar built widely, and the style developed vigorously during his reign. Among his accomplishments were Agra Fort, the fort-city of Fatehpur Sikri, and the Buland Darwaza. Akbar's son Jahangir commissioned the Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir.

Mughal architecture reached its zenith during the reign of Shah Jahan, who constructed the Taj Mahal, the Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, and the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. The end of his reign corresponded with the decline of Mughal architecture and the Empire itself.

Mughal gardens

Mughal gardens are a group of gardens built by the Mughals in the Persian style of architecture. This style was heavily influenced by the Persian gardens particularly the Charbagh structure. Significant use of rectilinear layouts are made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens.

Nishat Bagh

Nishat Bagh is a terraced Mughal garden built on the eastern side of the Dal Lake, close to Srinagar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is the largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley . Shalimar Bagh, which is also located on the bank of the Dal Lake. ‘Nishat Bagh’ is Urdu, which means "Garden of Joy," "Garden of Gladness" and "Garden of Delight."

Outline of Jammu and Kashmir

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Jammu and Kashmir:

Jammu and Kashmir – state in northern India, often denoted by the acronym J&K. It is located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and shares borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. Jammu and Kashmir has an international border with China in the north and east, and the Line of Control separates it from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and northwest respectively. The state has special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Pinjore Gardens

Yadavindra Gardens, also known as Pinjore Gardens, is a historic 17th century garden located in Pinjore city of Panchkula district in the Indian state of Haryana. It is an example of the Mughal Gardens architectural style, which was renovated by the Patiala Dynasty Jat Sikh Rulers.

Shalimar Gardens

Shalimar Gardens may refer to the following Mughal gardens:

Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar, India

Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan

Stepwell

Originating from the Indian subcontinent, Stepwells are wells or ponds in which the water is reached by descending a set of steps to the water level. They may be multi-storied with a bullock turning a water wheel to raise the well water to the first or second floor. They are most common in western India and are also found in the other more arid regions of the Indian subcontinent, extending into Pakistan. The construction of stepwells is mainly utilitarian, though they may include embellishments of architectural significance, and be temple tanks.

Stepwells are examples of the many types of storage and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. A basic difference between stepwells on the one hand, and tanks and wells on the other, is to make it easier for people to reach the groundwater and to maintain and manage the well.

The builders dug deep trenches into the earth for dependable, year-round groundwater. They lined the walls of these trenches with blocks of stone, without mortar, and created stairs leading down to the water. The majority of surviving stepwells originally served a leisure purpose as well as providing water. This was because the base of the well provided relief from daytime heat, and this was increased if the well was covered. Stepwells also served as a place for social gatherings and religious ceremonies. Usually, women were more associated with these wells because they were the ones who collected the water. Also, it was they who prayed and offered gifts to the goddess of the well for her blessings. This led to the building of some significant ornamental and architectural features, often associated with dwellings and in urban areas. It also ensured their survival as monuments.

Stepwells usually consist of two parts: a vertical shaft from which water is drawn and the surrounding inclined subterranean passageways, chambers and steps which provide access to the well. The galleries and chambers surrounding these wells were often carved profusely with elaborate detail and became cool, quiet retreats during the hot summers.

Uri, Jammu and Kashmir

Uri is a town and a tehsil in the Baramulla district, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Uri is located on the left bank of the Jhelum River, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of the Line of Control with Pakistan.

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