Mughal Gardens (Nishat Bagh)
The Mughal Gardens (Nishat Bagh) have been a sanctuary of peaceful contemplation since the site’s construction centuries ago. Take your time climbing the manicured landscape, enjoying shady cedar trees and fountain displays along the way.
These gardens were built on the eastern bank of Dal Lake in 1633 by Mughal Emperor Asif Khan. Note the distinctly Persian feel to this 46-acre (18.5-hectare) commons. A central aqueduct, which carries water down a terraced structure, is typical of Mughal design. The 12 terraces represent the signs of the zodiac.
Begin your exploration from the lower end, where a bardari (pavilion) showcases dignified Mughal architecture. Look uphill and admire the central aqueduct bordered by symmetrical plant displays on either side.
Walk the polished stone paths that flank this stream as you climb to the second terrace. Experience the beauty, both visual and aromatic, of the shallow pool decorated with fountains and Persian lilacs. Note the decorative patterns and small arched niches behind the water feature. It is said these arches were once filled with candles, which would reflect off the water to create a flickering light show.
Climb past the square pools of the third and fourth terraces to rest on benches located on the fifth. Admire the intricate paving pattern that begins at the sixth terrace. On the ninth terrace, rest on an octagonal bench and admire the nine fountains of its rectangular pool.
Before reaching the 12th and final terrace, take a moment to admire its 18-foot (5.5-meter) façade. This arched wall makes a great backdrop to the pool below, which is decorated with 25 fountains.
From the 12th level, relish a satisfying view down onto terraces you just conquered. Two octagonal towers offer views of Dal Lake and beyond. Take a moment to admire the upper bardari, which was the favorite rest stop of noble visitors.
The Nishat Bagh gardens are located 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) from Srinagar's downtown. This public park is open daily. Get there via taxi or tour bus.