“Gar Firdaus Bar Ruye Zameen Ast, Humi Asto, Humi Asto, Humi Ast!”

So says a Persian poet about Kashmir.
Truly so! In Kashmir there is a paradise at every step.

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Mention Kashmir and what comes to mind is the lush green carpet of the soft grasslands, the plains of Sonmarg and Khilanmarg, the gardens of Srinagar and the snow capped peaks of Gulmarg with glaciers on the road. It is difficult to capture Kashmir and its beauty in pictures or words. Also, there is much more to Kashmir than scenic beauty. There are picture perfect handicrafts in fabric and woollen embroidery, carpet weaving, unbelievable art in silver, brass, wood and copper, a rich tradition of cuisine and teas, paper mache and jewellery and what not? But for today we just explore the beautiful gardens of Kashmir that are exquisite by every standard especially in spring time!
To begin with the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden attracts millions of visitors every year because it is Asia’s largest and has the biggest variety of Tulips that typically bloom in April. Situated close to it, is the Pari Mahal and as the myth says, angels descend and dance in the silence of the night there, hence the name! The other Mughal gardens include Chashm-e-Sahi which has a natural spring and stairs lead one to a most scenic courtyard of fountains and gardens with canopies. The water is full of minerals and very cool and satiating.
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Harwan is at a distance from central Srinagar but totally worth a visit. It has a pathway and then opens up into a sprawling lawn with heavenly rivulet flowing from within. The natural waters have been harvested into a dam which is full round the year and the lush green lawns see quite a lot of wazwans during the wedding season. So with the aroma of the flowers you may also catch a whiff of the delicious Kashmiri food.
Shalimar and Nishat gardens see a lot of film shootings. They are very scenic terraced gardens with fountains and brooks that flow throughout the year and quench the thirst of the people. Water tastes heavenly and is full of minerals in addition to the fact that it is chilled.
The lakes of Kashmir have lovely surrounding gardens too. As do Manasbal and Verinag. Verinag has the origin of Jhelum and the regular fountains flowers and lawns. In fact it is difficult to decide which garden is more beautiful, though all have some common features as lawns, flowers, terraces, a bubbling brook, rivulet flowing within the garden and fountains, yet the dissimilarities are also awe inspiring. So each garden has to be visited!
The most beautiful and wild natural garden is the Kokernag. This is one place where you have nature right in your face. The forest begins where the garden ends. The pine trees stand tall and proud and the flowers swing with every gust of wind that blows. The cool breeze kisses one’s cheeks turning them pink and one cannot but help say-‘ah, heaven!’ So pack up your bags and get set go!