The Shalimar Bagh is one of the most beautiful gardens in India. The duo of the Nishat Bagh and the Shalimar Bagh located on the banks of the iconic Dal Lake has been the identity of the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar. Srinagar is also the largest city in the valley region and also one of the most tourist friendly cities in the country. The Shalimar Bagh is built in a characteristic Persian Style with a lot of Islamic Architecture influence. The region was dominated by this culture for many centuries and hence this influence is quite on the expected tracks.
The classic architectural layout of the garden is adapted from the famous Persian gardens. The characteristic four radiating arms of the garden are built on a flat land. The water is drawn from a central location at the intersection of these arms. In order to fit the hilly terrain around the Dal Lake certain innovations in design of the channels were necessary. These innovations have today become the signature of the Shalimar Bagh.
View of Dal Lake From Shalimar Garden | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
A central channel runs axially through the gardens supplying water to all other branches. The channel had to start at a greater elevation to create a steady stream of water. This central channel was later named the, Shah Nahar. Today, all the three top terraces get water from the Shah Nahar. Another peculiar characteristic of the Shalimar Bagh which is quite often neglected by the average tourist is the fact that it is rectangular instead of being a square which is such an unmistakable characteristic of any Islamic style garden in India.
Shalimar Bagh | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
This mega structure is spread over a total area of more than of 12.4 hectares and the length of the central Shah Nahar is around 600 meters. A natural landform connects the Shalimar Bagh to the Dal Lake. The lush green paths on this natural form are marked by lines of Chinar Trees which are one of the most common genus of trees in Srinagar. These trees and the continuous flow of water create a cool environment in the gardens even on the hottest of the summer noon.