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Shalimar Bagh

Take a leisurely stroll through one of the Mughal Empire's lasting beauties, a royal garden overlooking Srinagar's Dal Lake. 

Experience the calm environment that once enchanted Mughal royalty at the Shalimar Bagh. This verdant garden, covering a prime 31-acre (12.4-hectare) area on the eastern banks of Kashmir's Dal Lake, is a place to slow down and enjoy nature.

The garden’s name is a Sanskrit term meaning "abode of love.” When Mughal Emperor Jahangir built the gardens in 1619, they were a gift for his wife, Nor Jahan. Experience the same lakeside vistas that enamored this Mughal queen.  

Admire the park's layout, which mirrors the typical design of Persian gardens. Navigate its square grounds via pathways radiating from a central water channel. This ancient aqueduct carries water from the top end of the garden, down a series of terraces, towards Dal Lake. 

Enter the gardens from the lower terrace, a traditional visiting area for the general public. Enjoy the calming presence of manicured lawns and lines of sycamore trees. Nearby, inspect the ornate columns and hypnotic fountains of the Hall of Public Audience.

Climb to the private terrace, which was reserved for those of noble class. Here, the Hall of Private Audience is surrounded by engraved stones and fountains. 

At the entrance to the upper terrace, note two ornate guard towers that restricted non-royal entry. The surrounding garden features shallow pools and lawns shaded by tall chinar trees. Admire the striking Black Bardari, a marble pavilion rising from a fountain pool. 

Throughout the gardens, note the chini khanas (arched niches) behind several water features. Once filled with candles, these arches now capture the senses with flower displays that reflect off the water's surface. 

Behind the pavilion, capture a photogenic mountain backdrop. Look the other way and note the way the symmetrical pathways point to the serene Dal Lake.

Shalimar Bagh is a public park, open from early until late every day. Get there from Srinagar via taxi. Visit in fall or spring to see the chinar trees changing between rich greens, orange and yellows.