Nishat Bagh is located in Srinagar, Kashmir, and is built on the eastern side of Dal Lake. It is the second largest terraced Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley.’’Nishat Bagh ‘’ is an Urdu word and it means the ‘’Garden of Joy’’,’’ Garden of Delight’’, and ‘’Garden of Gladness’’.
Credit: JK Tourism
Nishat Bagh is located on the bank of Dal Lake and is surrounded by Zabarwan Mountains. It was built and designed by Asif Khan, elder brother of Nur Jahan in 1633. After its completion in 1633, Shah Jahan was overwhelmed by its beauty and he even expressed his interest to his father-in-law, Asif Khan three times in a hope that he might gift him the same but that didn’t happen. So, Shah Jahan cut off the water supply to the garden and it was deserted for some time. This left Asif Khan heartbroken and he became disinterested in the events related to the garden. One day he was resting on one of the terraces, and suddenly one of his servants turned on the water supply from Shalimar Bagh. Asif Khan ordered the servant to disconnect the water supply but when Shah Jahan heard about this incident, he was impressed by the loyalty of the servant and ordered the full restoration rights for the water supply to Nishat Bagh of his Prime Minister and father-in-law Asif Khan. The granddaughter of Emperor Jahandar Shah and daughter of Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, Princess Zuhra Begum is buried in Nishat Bagh.
The layout is based on the basic model of Persian gardens or Iranian gardens but it was redesigned to adjust the topographic and water source conditions at the site chosen in the Kashmir valley. A rectangular layout with an east-west length of 548 m and width of 338 m was designed.
It is built in terraces that are lined with chinar and cypress trees that start from the lakeshore running all the way to the hill end. Nishat bagh has 12 terraces representing 12 zodiac signs. Nishat bagh is divided into two sections namely the public garden and the private garden (harem) while Shalimar Bagh has four sections. Although, there are some similarities between Nishat and Shalimar Bagh like polished stone channels and terraces. These two gardens have the same source of water supply. Nishat bagh is built in an east-west direction the top terrace has the Zenana garden and the lowest terrace is connected to Dal Lake. Some of the old Mughal buildings are present in the vicinity of the Bagh. There is a central canal, 4 meters wide, that runs through the garden from the top and has a water depth of 20 cm. The flow of water is from the top to the first terrace and all the terraces are provided with fountains.
The twelve terraces:
First terrace: It is a collection chamber for water that is linked to the side flow from the garden.
- The second terrace: It has five fountains that are supplied water from the third terrace, from where it flowed to the lowest terrace.
- Third terrace: Its design is a little different. It had a two-storied structure called a pavilion which was built in the beginning but was dismantled. The water channel has 5 arched open niches in the front and similar niches on the sides.
- Fourth terrace: It has two levels, one is a water channel and another is a square pool.
- The fifth terrace: It has a stone bench that gives the view across the channel. The fifth terrace has a square chamber with five fountains.
- Sixth terrace: It is at two levels with five fountains and a distinctive paving pattern.
- Seventh terrace: The same pattern continues.
- Eighth terrace: It is only a water channel.
- The ninth terrace: It has a pool with nine fountains.
- Tenth terrace: The stairways to this terrace are along the side retaining walls where only the water channel with fountains is provided.
- The eleventh terrace: It has a pool with twenty-five fountains.
- Twelfth terrace: It is the zenana chamber and is covered by a 5.5 m high wall. There is only one arch in this blind facade that provides an opening to the twelfth terrace. It also has a two-story pavilion which is surrounded by a lovely garden.
NOTE FOR TOURISTS:
Nishat Bagh is located in Srinagar and is 11 km from the city center the nearest airport is Shiekh ul-Alam International Airport. The nearest Rail Head is located at Jammu which is 300 km away. You can use Shikara to visit the Nishat Bagh via Dal Lake. It is open between 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
You can visit Nishat Bagh when you visit the valley as it is one of the popular Mughal Gardens. We will help you to book your trip to the famous tourist spots so stay tuned!