Timings : April to October: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM, November to March: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Time Required : 2-3 hours
Entry Fee : INR 10 per head
Located in the sublime beauty of Kashmir, Shalimar Bagh is a beautifully laid out garden which is the largest of the three Mughal Gardens in the valley. This pristine attraction was built in the year 1619 by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan and lies overlooking the scintillating waters of the Dal Lake. The term 'Shalimar' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'Abode of Love' and is known by several other names such as Faiz Baksh, Farah Baksh and "Crown of Srinagar". Exhibiting the exemplary craftsmanship of Mughals in horticulture, the place is quite popular with tourists from all over the world.
Sprinkled generously with well-trimmed gardens and exquisite architecture, Shalimar Garden is a gentle blend of natural allure and man-made structures. The entire premise is carpeted with lush green grass with endearing blossoms popping every now and then. Not only does the garden have a variety of blossoms, but it also has fruit trees such as almonds and walnuts. Currently, maintained and managed by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, the chini khanas or arched niches placed behind waterfalls are a highlight on this place. The light and sound show is organised in the evenings.
Shalimar Bagh has its history going back to the second century during the period of King Pravarsena II from Vakataka Dynasty. The king Pravarsena II was the founder of the Srinagar city who built a cottage named "Shalimar" bounded by a park in close proximity to Dal Lake. Although the cottage got ruined due to the lack of proper maintenance, the name Shalimar got stuck to the village which was given the same name.
It was Emperor Jahangir who chose to build a garden to please his wife close to Shalimar. He renovated the old garden and named it "Farah Baksh" meaning "the delightful". In 1630, the garden was further extended by Kashmir Governor Zafar Khan on the order of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and named it "Faiz Baksh" meaning "the Bountiful". Apart from that, there were many rulers who altered the garden from time to time further electrifying its beauty.
Spread across a vast area of 31 acres along the Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh is a typical Mughal Garden. It has a Persian Garden layout of three terraces, 31 acres of land with dimensions of 587 m of length and 251 m of depth. Each terrace is comprised of water fountain and pool with water supply in series. There are a total of 410 fountains within the premises of the Shalimar Bagh.
The garden is divided into private (second terrace) and public (first cum lower terrace or outer garden) section. The private terrace is known as the Diwan-e-Khas while the public terrace is called the Diwan-e-Aam. Each section leads to Diwan-e-Khas and Diwan-e-Aam respectively. The third terrace of the garden is Zenana Garden with two pavilions made in Kashmiri style.
One of the unique features of the Shalimar Bagh is its 'Chini Khanas' or ached niches which are situated right behind the garden waterfall. In the olden times, these niches were lighted at night and imparted a magical amber hue to the gardens. Needless to say, the Shalimar Garden is a masterpiece of the Mughal Sultanate.
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