Situated on the south-eastern side of the Dal Lake, the garden of Chashma Shahi boasts beautifully terraced lawns, dotted with vibrant flowerbeds. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in Kashmir, and was built in 1632 during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It is said that Shah Jahan himself had named it Chashma Shahi, after a mountain spring that watered the garden. The 108-m-long and 38-m-wide garden is spread over one acre and is the smallest garden among the three famous Mughal gardens, the other two being Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh.

It has been laid out in three tiers and gives a picturesque view of the Dal Lake below and the snow-clad ranges around it. The layout of the garden draws inspiration from Iranian architecture while the design has Persian influence. The spring is the centre of attraction as it flows down in terraces. It is divided into three parts – an aqueduct, a waterfall and fountains. On the first terrace stands a two-storey hut from where the spring originates. To the east of the garden stands the Pari Mahal or the Fairy Palace where Shah Jahan’s eldest son, Dara Shikoh, learnt astrology and was later killed by his younger brother, Aurangzeb.

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