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Information Digest
Volume 1
Reprint Edition March 2001

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Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

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Lalla-Ded Educational Trust
Project Zaan
Information Digest - Vol. 1


Historical Places


Srinagar is the summer capital and the largest city of Jammu & Kashmir State.  It is 1585 mts. above mean sea level. Its area is 218 sq. kms. and it extends  from Harwan to Panta Chhok and Chhanapora to Gulab Bagh. There are two famous  lakes namely Dal Lake and Anchar Lake and two hills namely Shankracharya Hill and  Hari Parbat Hill in the city.

Srinagar city has also been known as Himavat, Shri Nagri, Parwarpor and  Parwarsenpor. It is said that the original city named as Shri Nagri was established  between Zabarwan Hills and Pandrethan during the reign of King Ashoka in the 3rd  century B.C. According to Heun Tsang, a Chinese traveller, the city streched  from Harwan to Zewan.

There is a fort on Hari Parbat Hill. During the reign of Akbar, a 20 ft. high  stone wall was constructed around the fort for a length of 5.6 Kms. During  Mughal period, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh and Cheshma Shahi were also laid.

Srinagar was known as the City of Seven Bridges till 1957. All these bridges  connected two parts of the city bifurcated by river Jhelum, also known as  Vitasta. Ali Kadal bridge was the oldest, constructed by Sultan Ali Shah in the year  1415 A.D.

Srinagar has many places of historical and tourist interest. Mughal Gardens  rank first amongst them. Mughals were great builders. Their art of garden planning  reflected their varied aesthetic taste. Mughals, in fact, embellished  the  Valley with resplendent glory of their garden-designing by laying famous gardens  like Nishat Chashma-Shahi, Shalimar, Naseem, Achhabal and Verinaag etc. Some  important places are described below:

1. Nishat Garden. It is situated on the bank of Dal Lake, on the foothills of  Zabarwan. This was conceived and laid by Asif Khan in the year 1636 during the  reign of Shah Jahan. The garden is 1755 feet long and 1108 feet wide. Its front  wall is 13 feet high. It has 10 terraces. Three of them are 16 to 18 feet  higher than the lower ones. A water channel, 13 feet wide and 8 inches deep runs all  through its length. There are fountains in various beds. Water falls in  cascades, some of which are 12 to 18 feet high. Tall and mighty chinars provide shade  to the visitors. Lush green turf is all around. Multi-coloured flower beds  along sides of the water channel add to the attraction. Usually the garden is  thrown open to the public on Ist of Baisakh. Sundays attract large crowds

2. Shalimar Garden. Shalimar, the ‘Abode of Love’, was built in 1690 AD by  Emperor Jehangir for his beloved Noor-Jehan. The Garden is at the base of Mount  Mahadev. It has been laid on a plan parallel to Nishat. It is quadrilateral in  shape with four terraces of equal size. The Garden is divided in three parts. The  first part has a pavillion which was used by the emperor for his public  audience. The second one was being used exclusively by the Emperor for his private  audience and the third one was reserved for the Empress and the ladies of the  Court. The central water canal starts from the top terrace and falls in cascades,  into basins or tanks which are studded with 150 fountains. Pergolas  and teralised walks border the fountains and the flower beds, which enhance the  grandeur of this ‘abode of love’.

3. Cheshma Shahi.  Cheshma Shahi or the ‘Royal Spring’, nearly 10 Kms. from  Srinagar is the smallest garden laid by the Mughals. The Garden was laid in the  reign of emperor Shah Jehan by his governor Ali Mardan Khan in 1632-33 AD. The  Garden has pure crystalline spring rising from the base of Zabarwan mountains.  The mineral water of the Spring is reputed for its curative properties. The  Garden has three terraces. In the middle of the Garden, run cascades and fountains  play in the water beds. The Garden has varied and multi-hued flowers. It can  safely be called the ‘Nursery of Floriculture’. From the second terrace, one can  have panoramic view of the Dal Lake. Below Cheshma Shahi, is the famous Jawahar  Lal Nehru Botanical Garden.

4. Pari Mahal. Pari Mahal is situated in the lap of Zabarwan Hill on the South  East of Dal Lake between Oberoi Palace Hotel and Chashma Shahi garden. It was  constructed by Dara Shikoh during the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-58) to serve as  an institution for astrology. He would himself observe the movement of stars  from here. The architecture of Pari Mahal very much resembles to that of Greek  temples. The Garden has five terraces in all which would have had fountains in  the olden times. During 1969-74, when the garden was given a face-lift under the  supervision of Dr. Kailash Nath Kaul, earthen pipes were discovered during  excavation of the ground, which subscribed to the view that water was fed into the  fountains through underground pipes. According to Huen Tsang, there existed a  grand Bodh Vihar and a Stupa at or around the same place in olden times, where a  tooth of Lord Buddha had been preserved. There are no traces of any such place  now.

Martand Temple

The ruins of Martand, built by Lalitaditya, speak of Hindu architecture. It is  situated on the Mattan Udar (plateau), 8 kms. away from Anantnag at 750 - 17’  longitude and 330 - 45’ latitude. It is 1 km. to North-West of the sacred  springs of Martanda, mentioned in Nilamata Purana as a celebrated place of  pilgrimage, sacred to Surya. Jonaraja says the temple was destroyed by Sikander, a zealot  egged by his minister Saif-Ud-Din (Saha Bhatt).

Features:  The Martand Temple is called Architectural Lion of Kashmir. It has a  majestic plinth off set by an impressing gateway. The temple is 18 Mtrs. long  and 11 Mtrs.  wide. Its height as at present (ruins) is 12 Mtrs. which may  actually have been 23 Mtrs. in pyramidal f.mp3. Its courtyard is 66 Mtrs. x 42 Mtrs.  The central edifice standing on a quadrangle, is surrounded by 84 columns (7x12  i.e. No. of days in a week  x  No. of Zodiac signs). The temple consists of  three chambers, the outer two highly decorated and inner one plain. Two Surya and two Laxmi figures are engraved on four walls of the middle chamber. Walls of  the gateway are decorated, both internally and externally.

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