HistoryJammu and Kashmir

Nishat Bagh: The Garden Of Joy

Nishat Bagh is a terraced Mughal garden built on the eastern side of the Dal Lake, close to Srinagar in the union territory 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, and means the “Garden of Joy,” “Garden of Gladness” and “Garden of Delight.”

Located on the bank of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, Nishat Bagh is a garden with views of the lake beneath the Pir Panjal mountain range. The Bagh was designed and built in 1633 by Asif Khan, elder brother of Nur Jehan.

An anecdote is told of the jealousy of the Emperor Shah Jahan on beholding such a delightful garden, which led to the abandonment of garden for some time.

When Shah Jahan saw the garden, after its completion in 1633, he expressed great appreciation of its grandeur and beauty. He is believed to have expressed his delight three times to Asif Khan, his father-in-law, in the hope that he would make a gift of it to him.

As no such offer was forthcoming from Asif Khan, however, Shah Jahan was piqued and ordered that the water supply to the garden should be cut off. Then, for some time, the garden was deserted. Asif Khan was desolate and heartbroken; he was uninterested in the sequence of events. When he was resting under the shade of a tree, in one of the terraces, his servant was bold enough to turn on the water supply source from the Shalimar Bagh. When Asif Khan heard the sound of water and the fountains in action he was startled and immediately ordered the disconnection of the water supply as he feared the worst reaction from the Emperor for this wanton act of disobedience. Fortunately for the servant and for the Khan, Shaha Jahan, who had heard about this incident at the garden, was not disturbed or annoyed by the disobedience of his orders. Instead, he approved of the servant’s loyal service to his master and then ordered the full restoration rights for the supply of water to the garden to Asif Khan, his Prime Minister and father-in-law.

The Mughal Princess Zuhra Begum, the daughter of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, and granddaughter of the Emperor Jahandar Shah, was buried in the garden.

Architecture:

Thus, Nishat Bagh as laid out now is a broad cascade of terraces lined with avenues of chinar and cypress trees, which starts from the lakeshore and reaches up to an artificial façade at the hill end. Rising from the edge of the Dal Lake, it has twelve 12 terraces representing twelve Zodiacal signs. However, it has only two sections, namely the public garden and the private garden for the Zanana or harem vis-à-vis the four sections of the Shalimar Bagh; this difference is attributed to the fact that the latter Bagh catered to the Mughal Emperor, while Nishad Bagh belonged to a man of his court, a noble. There are, however, some similarities with the Shalimar Bagh, such as the polished stone channel and terraces. The source of water supply to the two gardens is the same. Built in an east-west direction, the top terrace has the Zenana garden while the lowest terrace is connected to the Dal Lake. In recent years, the lowest terrace has merged with the approach road. A spring called the Gopi Thirst provides clear water supply to the gardens. There are a few old Mughal period buildings in the vicinity of the Bagh.

The central canal, which runs through the garden from the top end, is 4 metres (13 ft) wide and has a water depth of 20 centimetres (7.9 in). Water flows down in a cascade from the top to the first terrace at the road level, which could be also approached from the Dal Lake through a shikara ride. The water flow from one terrace to the next is overstepped stone ramps that provide the sparkle to the flow. At all the terraces fountains with pools are provided, along the water channel. At channel crossings, benches are provided.

News Desk

News Desk staff at The Kashmir Radar. Posting unbiased news as we believe in pure journalism!

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