Pari Mahal & Cheshmashahi
The smallest of the Srinagars Mughal gardens, the Chashma Shahi or Royal Spring was laid out by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. Chashma in Urdu means waterfall. The garden was so named because of a mountain spring/waterfall that feeds it. The famous fresh water spring inside the garden is believed to have medicinal values.
As legend goes, when Mumtaz Mahal (Shah Jahans wife) fell ill and could not be cured even by the worlds best doctors, somebody suggested she be taken to some health resort. Shah Jahan preferred to stay at Pari Mahal in Kashmir along with his queen. She enjoyed the fresh air and flora and drank the sweet water of Chashma Shahi, resulting in dramatic improvement in her health. Since then, the water here is thought to have medicinal properties. The garden abounds in fruits, flowers and chinar trees.
Terraced lawns, fascinating fountains and floral beds on the banks of Dal Lake constitute the Mughal Gardens one of which is the Chashma Shahi. Beautifully terraced garden and a colorful flowers make Chashma Shahi beautiful than any other parks and gardens of Kashmir.
Situated near the Chashma Shahi Mughal garden, Pari Mahal has beautiful terraced gardens and the ruins of a five-storied Mughal building that is illuminated in the evening. It offers a fantastic view of theDalLakeand the city ofSrinagarand is the ideal place for some soul searching.
Pari Mahal is valued more as a historical monument than a park or a garden. The Mahal was initially a Buddhist Monastery, which was later converted into an observatory and a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Emperor Shah Jahan. He dedicated the place to his Sufi teacher, Mulla Shah.
Pari Mahal is set amid palace ruins high above the lakeshore. Viewed from afar the ensemble looks especially intriguing when floodlit at night. By day its worth the long, steep autorickshaw ride for the fabulous lake views more than for the gardens themselves. Bring ID for serious police checks on your way.