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Verinag Springs, Kashmir: Origin Of The Jhelum

The kids squealed. As they threw dough balls into the spring waters, the carp sprang up to snap it up. The spring waters were a Maldivian turquoise and clear as crystal.

Carp in the spring waters

Our visit to Verinag Springs in Kashmir in November 2011 was quite a thrill. It was a great place for the kids to witness how a river originates.

The origin of the Jhelum river, these ever-flowing springs were built by the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1620 A.D. The Mughal Arcade and gardens around the spring were built later by his son, Shah Jahan.

Clear turquoise waters of Verinag Springs

Today the springs and the Mughal Arcade around it are recognized as a Monument of National Importance. The name of the springs, Verinag, arose because the nearby town was known as Vér. Nag is the local name for a spring.

Verinag springs in autumn

Before Emperor Jahangir decided to build a spring here, it was just a pond of water that formed a marsh. Always eager to improve on the beauty of Nature, the Emperor built the octagonal tank of sculpted stones using carvers from Iran, and – because that’s what Mughal emperors do – created a garden around it.

Mughal garden around Verinag Spring

The Mughal gardens were built as an adaptation of the traditional Persian Charbagh (four gardens), which takes its inspiration from the Quranic description of heaven as having four rivers, of wine, honey, milk, and water.

Entrance to Verinag Springs

From the entrances, a walkway takes the visitor towards the octagonal pool, which is approached through a colonnade.

Arch around the colonnade

This colonnade, composed of 24 arches, surrounds the pool, whose water comes from the spring deep below. The water exits from the pool into the 300-yard main axial water canal, which then flows down to the Bihat river.

The springs lead into a water canal

Water canal through Verinag Garden

Vernag is located on a steep hillside, with its water source at the top. The traditional Charbagh design had to be altered to fit the site’s topography, as the source of water shifted from the traditional centre of the square garden to the highest point of the garden.

His son Shah Jahan, constructed the cascades and aqueducts laid in straight lines through the garden. Little trace remains of the hot and cold baths he built to the east of the garden, or of the pavilions that once decorated the area.

Could this be one of the hot or cold baths?

On the stone slabs built into the walls surrounding the spring are carvings in Persian that describe how the source of the underwater spring is contained without revealing its architecture. The construction date is also inscribed on a stone slab built into the southern wall of the spring.

Inscriptions in Persian in the stone slabs around the spring

The structure is also a sacred place for Hindus as there is a shivling, built in honour of Lord Shiva, in one of the arches.

Shivling in an arch around Verinag spring

How to get to Verinag Springs:

There are two ways to get to the springs:

  1. You can take a bus from Srinagar to Anantnag and then by taxi to Verinag.
  2. You can come the way we came, by car from Srinagar to Verinag via Kokernag, Achhabal Mughal garden and the Martand Sun Temple.

If you’re not pressed for time, the second route is preferable as it has much more to see along the way.

Check out the video of our visit to Verinag springs below.

Also read:

All images are © Priya Florence Shah unless otherwise mentioned.

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Verinag Springs, Kashmir: Origin Of The Jhelum
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Verinag Springs, Kashmir: Origin Of The Jhelum
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Our visit to Verinag Springs in Kashmir in November 2011 was quite a thrill. It was a great place for the kids to witness how a river originates.
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Ahoy Matey
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18 thoughts on “Verinag Springs, Kashmir: Origin Of The Jhelum”

  1. Kristie says:

    This is really interesting! Sometimes we come and snap a few pictures at a place, then move on. I appreciate the history and background behind the springs. Of course emperors build gardens! 🙂

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Mughal Emperors especially built these ornate and beautiful gardens that they could roam in with their many wives. 🙂

  2. Lucy Pinkstone says:

    I really want to visit Kashmir one day; it always looks so beautiful. This place is clearly no exception – lovely!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Definitely worth a visit, Lucy.

  3. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Maldivian is right Priya. Eye popping my friend. I had no idea such colored water existed in Kashmir. Or that far away from tropical paradises. Talk about clean and pristine, eh? Good to see the carp are eating well too 🙂

    Ryan

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Kashmir is quite a paradise, Ryan. A troubled paradise, sadly. But tourism is still thriving despite all the problems there.

  4. Binny Marwaha says:

    Enjoyed reading all the history behind those Mugul gardens. Surely, this garden looks very pretty.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Glad you liked it, Binny.

  5. Nancy says:

    Wow! Such a great recap and I love the historical details you provided as well, great insight!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Glad you enjoyed the read, Nancy.

  6. Nives says:

    Very interesting post! I really want to visit Kashmir one day – maybe one sunny day I’ll manage it! Thanks for all the tips, they were very useful 🙂

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Glad you found it useful.

  7. anshul says:

    Oh Kashmir, my love. I wish to visit one more time. There is so much to see. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Where did you stay when you went, Anshul?

  8. Shreya Saha says:

    Wow, such an interesting spot. I was not aware of this place in Kashmir. Such an important site it seems now. Great pictures. Thanks for the share. Enjoyed reading it plus the video work was great.

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Thank you, Shreya.

  9. Medha Verma says:

    I didn’t know that the verinag springs are the origin of Jhelum River. It is interesting to read the history behind it and seems like a great place to visit with family, thanks for sharing!

    1. Priya Florence Shah says:

      Thanks, Medha. Yes, it was a very interesting place to visit and the kids had fun feeding the carp. Put it on your itinerary if you visit Kashmir.

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