Spring is in the air, am waking up to singing birds, cool breeze and warm sunshine. I sat in the park bench in the morning watching the flower buds all set to bloom and started humming under my breath “Rind Posh Maal Gindane Graaye Lo Lo” which is a song in Kashmiri to welcome spring. Of the many languages in India, this is not my mother tongue nor do I know how to converse in it but I love the sound and rhythm which transports me to the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar.
Last year, I had spent some time in the three gardens Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Chashme Shahi located at the far end of the Dal within a 3 km radius with the Zabarwan range as the backdrop. While Nishat and Chashme Shahi have beautiful Dal Lake view, Shalimar Bagh is a little away. A visit to Srinagar is incomplete without a stroll in these gardens. Built nearly 4 centuries ago by the Mughal Emperors and their ministers Shalimar is the largest followed by Nishat and Chashme Shahi have retained their grandeur and charm over the years.
We visited Chashme Shahi and were taken in by the beauty of the flowers under the morning sun. I controlled my temptation to roll on the grass but the softness of it was perfect acupuncture for my tired feet. Next stop, Nishat Bagh was a perfect Persian Garden with a terraced layout lined with chinars and cypress through which water cascaded through gently and quietly. I stood at the edge of the highest of the 12 terraces admiring the beauty of it all, the green trees, the burst of colour from blooming flowers, the serene Dal Lake. I must unabashedly admin that I felt like a Mughal Queen for a few moments out to enjoy fresh in the air. The last and final stop was in the grandest of them all – Shalimar Bagh which is often synonymous with the term Mughal Garden. It was tough luck, since renovation work was going on and had to be satisfied with a few glimpses of the grand pavilions and a few people posing in borrowed Kashmiri garb for a photo opportunity. I will go back one day since I have always imagined myself reading my favourite lines under that Chinar Tree….
Travel Tip: 3 – 4 hours for all three gardens in the morning or late evening coupled with a trip to Shankaracharya Hill or a Shikara Ride in the Dal.