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The day was dedicated to exploring historical Srinagar – or at least as much as I could cover in a day. What will it take for the city to take a pause from impressing me? Show-off city!
Pari Mahal or Palace of Fairies
Built by Dara-Shikoh, the eldest son and favoured successor to Shahjahan (who built the Taj Mahal), in the mid-17th century to be a Sufi School. A unique design with six terraces, each with well manicured lawns, it was built around a small spring. Dara, an intellectual who patronized fine arts, music and dancing, was seen as a heretic in the eyes of his orthodix brother Aurangzeb. The latter eventually had him murdered, ascended the throne and is seen as largely responsible for the eventual downfall of the Mughal Empire. Had Dara lived, would history have been different? We will never know.
When I was there, it was full of picnickers – including romantic couples looking somewhat out-of-place in a Muslim dominated state. Just like groups of young school girls out with boys from their class – and chattering away and enjoying clicking each other. Having fun is healthy!
Do look in the direction of the Pari Mahal when it is dark – it is lit up and stands out from far on the slopes.
The Mughal Gardens
The Mughal Emperors must have really loved Kashmir – seen in the terraced gardens they created in Srinagar. Including the Shalimar, Nishat Bagh and Chashmashahi (meaning Royal Spring). The last was cherished for its refreshing sweet water and built by Shahjahan in 1632 A.D. – very popular with picnickers, and a place to get yourself clicked in traditional Kashmiri dresses. There was an endless stream of people coming to the spring to drink water from – and also to take some back in containers. Anything for a blessing – even spring water!
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