Mughal Emperors loved Srinagar and retreated to these cool altitudes in the summer. The Mughals are long gone, but the terraced gardens they had built still bear witness of their sense for refined architecture. In Nishat Bagh, once twelve of those terraces cascaded all the way to the lake. Now it’s only eleven – the terrace closest to the lake had to make room for a road running along the shore.
Nishat Bagh is the most impressive of the three gardens we visited, beautifully maintained. To keep up the garden seems a desperate attempt by the government short of resources. Each garden has big signs outside saying “no plastic, no wrapping” inside. Why it can be found all over the garden is a mystery. Could the caste system be part of the problem? The guards are certainly of a caste that is in no position to tell off 98% of the visitors and a gardener doesn’t pick up trash. That’s for those who are born to do so.
The two mosques in the old town of Srinagar are not really anything special. Extremely fascinating was the bazaar around the oldest mosque Jama Masjid. This could have been anywhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. All women were dressed in pitch-black abaya, a long cloak, many covered their face and quite a few were wearing a burka.