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17-Nishaat Baag


17-Nishaat and Shaaleemaar Baag

Both Nishaat and Shaaleemaar Baag (gardens) are located along the bank of Dal Lake of Kashmeer. They are located close to Shree Nagar in Jammu and Kashmir State. At its back are Zabarvaan mountains. Shaaleemaar garden is the largest in size. Nishaat means joy, so Nishaat garden means garden of joy. It is the second to Shaaleemaar Baag.

Originally this garden was designed and built by Aasif Khaan, brother-in-law of Shaah Jahaan - elder brother of Noor Jahaan in 1633. Shaah Jahaan ruled from 1628-1658 - 30 years. When Shaah Jahaan saw this garden after its completion in 1633, he appreciated its great grandeur and beauty. It is said that he expressed his appreciation to Aasif Khaan three times in the expectation that he would gift it to him. But he found no such step towards it, so he stopped its water supply to it. So for some time the garden was deserted. Aasif Khaan got ver sad seeing the condition of such a beautiful garden.

Once he was resting under a shade of tree, that his servat opened the water supply from the Shaaleemaar garden. Aasif Khaan heard the sound of water running through the garden and fountains, he got startled and ordered for the closure of the water supply as he feared of the anger of the Emperor for his disobedience. On the cintrary, Shaah Jahaan appreciated the servant for the loyalty of his master and restored the water supply of the Baag.

Layout of the Garden
The layout of the Nishaat Baag is based on Persian style, Chahaar Baag (four gardens) but it had to be modified according to Kashmeer valley. The Chahaar Baag takes its inspiration from the Quraanik description of Heaven as having four rivers, of wine, honey, milk, and water. The traditional Chahaar Baag is uniformly shaped, with a water source in its center and four (Chahaar) radiating streams which divide the garden (Baag) into four sections. So it had to be in a rectangle layout instead of square layout. Thus, it is 1,798 ft (548 meters) long in East-West and 1,109 ft (338 meters) wide in North-South side. It is a broad cascade of terraces lined with avenues of Chinaar and Cypress trees, which start from the lakeshore and reach up to an artificial facade at the hill end. Rising from the edge of the Dal Lake, it has 12 terraces representing the 12 Zodiacal Signs. As Nishaat Baag was not an imperial garden, its design was less hierarchical than Royal Mugal Gardens. It has two sections - public and private (Zanaanaa females) Shaaleemaar Baag. It is because Shaaleemaar Baag belonged to the Mugal Emperor and Nishaat Baag belonged to Aasif Khaan. The source of water supply for both is the same. Zanaanaa Section is on the 12th terrace.

The central canal, which runs through the garden from the top end, is 13 ft (4 meters) wide and has a water depth of 7.9 in  (20 centimeters). Water flows down in a cascade from the top to the first terrace at the road level, which could be also approached from the Dal Lake through a Shikaaraa ride. The water flow from one terrace to the next is over stepped stone ramps that provide the sparkle to the flow. At all the terraces fountains with pools are provided, along the water channel. At channel crossings, benches are provided for people to sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden and the cascading flows and fountain jets.

Out of all the 12 terraces, the second terrace is considered the most impressive in view of the 23 niches provided in the arched recess just behind the cascade. Originally lighted lamps used to be placed at these niches. The second terrace also has abundance of Persian lilacs and pansies coupled with sparkling cascading water over the chute, which provided a lovely sight. Another interesting feature of the Nishaat Baag is of the many marble thrones like seats are placed at the head of the waterfall, across the channel.

How to Visit It
As Nishaat Bagh is located in the Shree Nagar District is 6.8 mi  (11 kilometers) from the city center. The nearest Airport is 16 mi (25 kms) away at Badgam. The Airport connects to all major cities of India. Jammu is the nearest Rail Head which is 190 mi (300 kms) away. The National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmeer valley with the rest of the country. One way of visiting the Baag is through the Dal Lake using the famous "water taxi" of Kashmeer, the Shikaaraa.

It is noteworthy that the Nishaat Baag has historically received attention from several provincial governors. At the time of the Mahaaraajaa Ranbir Singh (1830-1885), the Nishaat Baag was restored, and the Baaraadaree on the third terrace removed. Today, Nishaat Baag is a public park.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/09/12