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Kokernag Botanical Gardens, Kashmir: Straight Out Of A Monet Painting

I remember walking into the gate of the Kokernag Botanical Garden and being astounded at the beauty that lay before me.

Entering the ‘Pleasure Garden’

It was autumn, and the leaves were a multi-hued bouquet of red, gold and green. Wooded glens, lawns and streams created a tranquil and dream-like mood.

Wooded glens and streams create a dream-like mood

A gurgling spring ran over the pebbles beside a paved promenade. Ornamental lamps stood guard providing the perfect foil to a green Japanese bridge that spanned the stream a few meters ahead. It was a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in a Monet painting.

Looks just like a painting

The kids splashed about in the stream and played on the swings and slides in a tiny playground at the centre of the park while I took in the view and took some snapshots. The sweet fragrance of pine filled my nostrils as I collected pine cones fallen beneath the huge conifers.

The kids splash about in the stream

The gardens were almost empty. Either there were very few people interested in visiting, or it was not on the usual tourist itinerary. I found the lack of crowds a blessing because we could sit around on the lawns undisturbed and take in the sun.

Sunning ourselves on the lawns

Kokernag is a sub-district town in Breng Valley (The Golden Crown of Kashmir), a distance of about 22 km from Anantnag. A picnicker’s paradise, the botanical garden was developed in the shadow of a thickly wooded hill, at the base of which springs gush out.

Channels that resemble the claw-foot of a hen

The spring divides into channels that resemble the claw-foot of a hen, giving rise to the theory that Koker comes from a Kashmiri word for chicken and nag from the Sanskrit word for springs or serpent.

Magical springs in a picture-perfect garden

The garden is developed entirely around these springs, which are thought to have magical, healing powers. Ain-e-Akbari, the detailed gazetteer of Akbar’s empire, also recorded the curative and digestive properties of Kokernag spring water.

Gorgeous roses in bloom

Unlike the Mughal gardens built by the kings of old, the Kokernag Botanical Gardens were developed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department and are home to over one lakh (100,000) species of flora including trees, roses, shrubs and bushes.

To have created a garden that rivals the beauty of even the Mughal gardens is no mean feat and J&K Tourism must be commended for that.

The Kokernag garden rivals the beauty of even the Mughal gardens

Although the best time to visit the Botanical Garden is from March to October, we went in early November and were treated to a glorious display of colour, with the Chinar trees a bright shade of red.

We spent a blissful few hours at ‘The Pleasure Garden’ (I could see why it was called that), and I remember wishing I had known that we could’ve booked a stay at the little cottages in the heart of the garden, right under the shade of Chinar trees. Unfortunately, we hadn’t planned for that.

You can stay in these little cottages

We also missed out on a visit to the trout farm at the end of the garden, but you don’t have to. The Kokernag Botanical Gardens left me stunned with their beauty. Be sure to put this little piece of Paradise on your itinerary if you visit Kashmir.

If you’ve visited Kokernag Botanical Gardens, do let me know how you liked it in the comments below.

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20 thoughts on “Kokernag Botanical Gardens, Kashmir: Straight Out Of A Monet Painting”

  1. Cristiane says:

    Wow! Beautifully written! I love exploring botanical gardens. I haven’t been to a lot but I tried to include it on my little trips. I’ve been to the one in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the one in San Diego California, a couple here in Dallas and it is on our list to visit the one in Houston this weekend! Picture looks lovely! Great post!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Thanks, Christiane. I haven’t been to many botanical gardens myself. But this one was quite lovely.

  2. Sunset Taj Mahal Tour says:

    Seems a place where we can connect with Nature’s beauty.
    You have stated your time that you have passed in gaining some awesome moments very nicely.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Glad you liked it.

  3. Brianna says:

    Beautiful gardens! And that stream does look like fun. I’d love to take a picnic here and spend a few hours!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      It’s a lovely place for a picnic, Brianna.

  4. Alexander Popkov says:

    How do you edit your photos? I do a lot of photography and the one that “looks like a painting” caught my attention.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      I took that a long time ago with a simple digital camera and did not really edit it much for lack of editing tools. For some reason, it came out looking like a painting.

  5. Milijana says:

    As a nature lover I truly enjoyed reading your post. Wonderful gardens! I have tried to translate the meaning of Kokernag. It goes for something like Chicken Springs, isn’t it?

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Yes, it means chicken springs or serpent (nag is serpent).

  6. Becca Talbot says:

    You’re totally right Priya, these gardens definitely look like a picnickers paradise! And how amazing that you and the girls pretty much had the gardens to yourselves?! I’d love to visit somewhere like this one day 🙂 x

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      It was a delight, Becca. I still enjoy looking at the photographs and recalling our time there 🙂

  7. WhodoIdo says:

    What a beautiful botanical garden. I love the autumnal colours of the leaves from the Chinar trees! I can just imagine strolling through the quiet garden, listening to the sound of the bubbling stream. Great that there was no one around …seemed like the perfect time to visit. Staying in the cute little cottages would be amazing and to wake up to those stunning views!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Yes, I really did miss staying in the cottages. If I ever go back to Kashmir, that is one thing I will definitely do.

  8. a speck in time says:

    Beautiful garden with running water to wade it. The best part is no crowds which rob the fun in Shalimar.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      That is true. The Shalimar gardens, while beautiful, can be very crowded at times.

  9. Followingtherivera says:

    This is a really beautiful botanical gardens! There’s nothing better than getting out in nature and seeing sights like this. I’ve never been to India, so I found this particularly interesting to read!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Glad you liked it.

  10. Jas says:

    I love Money and I love botanical gardens so this looks like a dream adventure for me. Can’t imagine how much more beautiful it’d be in March through October though – especially during spring when all the flowers are in bloom. Added to my bucket list!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Yes, Jas. Am sure it is magnificent in spring. I have read people recommending a visit then. In autumn it has it’s own charm when the chinar trees turn a bright red. Quite beautiful.

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