The Nishat Bagh is another lovely
garden with its 12 terraces representing the 12 signs of the
zodiac, which descend gradually and seem to almost merge into
the lake. It is situated on the banks of world famous Dal Lake
in the backdrop of Zabarwan hills. With its flowerbeds, trees,
fountains, the Nishat presents a dramatic sight. The gardens
were designed in 1633 by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, and
follow the same pattern as the Shalimar gardens with a polished
stone channel running down the centre and a series of terraces.
It's the largest of the Mughal gardens measuring 548 metres by
338 metres, and often the most crowed. The walks beside the
channel are bordered with lines of cypresses and Chinars. Also
found within its vicinity are some remains of Mughal period
buildings including a double storey pavilion enclosed on two
sides latticed windows.
Directly behind the garden is the Gopi Tirth, a small spring
gushing forth crystal clear water, which feeds the garden water.
Smallest of the Srinagar Mughal gardens, measuring just 108
metres by 38 metres, the Chasma Shahi, or 'Royal Spring', are
well up the hillside, above the Nehru Memorial Park. The fresh
water spring in these pleasant, quieter gardens is reputed to
have medicinal properties.
The gardens were laid out in 1632 by Ali Mardan Khan and include
three terraces, an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains. The water
from the spring supplies the fountains and then goes through the
floor of the pavilion and falls to the lower terrace in a fine
cascade of five metres, over a polished black stone chute.
Some extensions have recently been made to the gardens. Like all
the gardens the Chasma Shahi is open from sunrise to sunset but
unlike the other gardens this is the only one, which charges
admission. There is a small shrine, the Chasma Sahibi, near the
gardens, which also has a fresh water spring.