I remember walking into the gate of the Kokernag Botanical Garden in Kashmir and being astounded at the beauty that lay before me.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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22 thoughts on “Kokernag Botanical Gardens, Kashmir: Straight Out Of A Monet Painting”
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!
Thanks, Christiane. I haven’t been to many botanical gardens myself. But this one was quite lovely.
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.
Glad you liked it.
Beautiful gardens! And that stream does look like fun. I’d love to take a picnic here and spend a few hours!
It’s a lovely place for a picnic, Brianna.
How do you edit your photos? I do a lot of photography and the one that “looks like a painting” caught my attention.
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.
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?
Yes, it means chicken springs or serpent (nag is serpent).
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
It was a delight, Becca. I still enjoy looking at the photographs and recalling our time there 🙂
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!
Yes, I really did miss staying in the cottages. If I ever go back to Kashmir, that is one thing I will definitely do.
Beautiful garden with running water to wade it. The best part is no crowds which rob the fun in Shalimar.
That is true. The Shalimar gardens, while beautiful, can be very crowded at times.
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!
Glad you liked it.
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!
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.
This reminds me on one little town in Croatia, it also has little bridge in the middle of the river 😀
Ahhh memories and nice moments, it was nice to go back there in my mind for a little bit 😀
The weather and vegetation in Kashmir do resemble Europe more than India.