Nishat Garden in SrinagarNishat Garden or Nishat Bagh sited in Jammu and Kashmir state capital Srinagar is a very popular tourist landmark which attracts huge number of visitors each day. Varied reasons contributes to the popularity of the garden like its historic importance, architectural style, garden layout, lush and green garden, eye catching colouring blossoms and so on. The word Nishat Bagh comes from Urdu language meaning “Garden of delight”, “Garden of Joy” or “Garden of Gladness”.
Nishat garden was built by the elder brother of Empress Noor Jahan named Asif Khan who also designed the layout of the gardens and it is opened in year 1633 AD. At present the garden is owned by Jammu and Kashmir tourism department which is also in charge of operating and maintaining the garden.
Layout of Nishat GardenNishat garden covers an enormous area of 46 acres of plot which is naturally decorated with bright flowers and it is the second largest garden next to Shalimar garden sited in Kashmir valley. The garden lies on the banks of Dal Lake with mountain Zabarwan as its backdrop which also adds to its charm and Nishat garden also gives a good glimpse of the Lake. The massive snow topped Pir Panchal range also runs close to the garden which can also be seen for the garden.
Nishat is a terraced garden built in Mughal style. Terraced garden means gardening above an elevated flat concreted platform and Nishat garden is one of its kinds of terrace gardens around the globe. Initially the garden had 12 terraces on the time of its formation facing the Pir Panchal range but presently has only 9 terraces due to construction of roads along the garden.
Nishat Bagh is a rectangular layout with two side arms which follows a basic Persian style garden architecture facing east to west direction. The layout is 548 m length and 338 m width. The layout was brilliantly planned to suit the topography and water source in Kashmir valley by Asif Khan. The garden is divided into two sections namely public garden for the public visitors and private garden for Zenana. Within the garden premise few ancient Mughal building can also be seen.
History of Nishat GardenNishat garden has a quite an interesting historic story on its completion. Asif Khan who designed the garden invited his brother in law Emperor Shah Jahan to view Nishat Garden upon its completion. The beauty of Nishat bagh stole the heart of the Emperor and he appreciated Asif Khan and his father in law for constructing such a beautiful garden with an inner desire that they would in turn gift him the garden but they didn’t make any such offer to the Emperor which made him angry. So Shah Jahan ordered to stop water supply to the garden which was supplied from Shalimar garden close to Nishat bagh. Without water the plants started to dry and the whole garden was deserted which broke the heart of Asif Khan who with great interest built the garden couldn’t stand to see it destroying.
So one day Asif Khan was resting below a shady tree in one of the garden terrace with a very sad face, on seeing heart broken Asif Khan one of his servant took courage to open the water supply source to the garden. On hearing the sound of water flowing through the garden Asif Khan immediately ordered his servant to close the water supply so that this incident won’t increase the anger of Shah Jahan. When Emperor Shah Jahan came to know this act of Asif Khan and his servant was not annoyed but ordered to open waster supply to the garden and appreciated them for their loyalty.
Architecture excellence of Nishat GardenThe garden was built initially built with 12 terraces representing the 12 zodiac signs. The garden terraces were fenced with cypress and chinar trees. The garden starts from the banks of Dal Lake and it extends up to the hill end with polished stone channels. The top terrace of the Nishat garden homes the Zenana garden and the lower terraces are well connected to the Dal Lake and the approach road.
The water supply to Nishat comes from Shalimar while “Gopi Thirst” spring provides enough water supplies to the garden. Water is supplied to garden though canals and water flow from higher terrace to the lower terrace. To the top terrace water is supplied through a central canal which is 4 m in width and 20 cm in depth. Water channels and water fountains are sited in each terrace of the garden which also supplies water to its terrace. Close to this water crossing channels seating arrangements are done for the public to view the garden.
Terraces of Nishat BaghThe first terrace or the lower terrace of Nishat bagh has the water gathering chamber while the second terrace has five water fountains to supply water apart from which it gets water from the third terrace. The second terrace can be reached through a gate and it is considered as most beautiful terrace of all 12 terraces. The third terrace has five water fountains with a stairway connecting it to the fourth terrace.
The fourth terrace has a square water pool and a water channel to supply water and it connects itself with fifth terrace by 5 way staircase. The fifth terrace with five water channels has seating arrangements for its visitors. The sixth and seventh terrace has five water fountains each and stands unique form the rest of the terraces by a different pavement design. The eight terrace has one water channel. The ninth terrace has a water pool with nine water fountains.
The tenth terrace can be reached from the ninth terrace through a staircase and this terrace also has water fountains. The tenth terrace connects the eleventh terrace through an engraved path and this terrace homes a water pool with twenty five water fountains. The top or the twelfth terrace called the Zenana chamber has two octagonal towers and a two storey porch surrounded by beautiful saplings.
Visiting Time of Nishat GardenThe beautiful picture square landmark of Nishat Garden is open for public view on all days in a week from 9.30 am till 5.50 pm within the garden premise while the last garden entry time for public will be only till 4.30 pm. Charges for entry will be rupees ten per person.
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir- 191123
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