Located at the foothill of picturesque Pir Panjal mountain range, Verinag is a major tourist attraction in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. It is situated 26 km south of Anantnag and 78 km from Srinagar. It lies just below the entry point of Kashmir Valley after crossing Jawahar Tunnel. With an average elevation of 1,851 m (6,076 ft), Verinag is famous for its spring and a garden. There is an octagonal stone basin at Verinag Spring and an arcade surrounding it which was built by Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1620 A.D. Next to this spring, a beautiful garden was laid out by his son Shah Jahan. This spring is also the major source of river Jhelum that flows through the entire Valley from south to north before crossing over to Pakistan.
Verinag spring is situated at the bottom of a hill covered by pine trees and evergreen plants. It was originally an irregular and shapeless pond forming a little marsh. After seeing the dilapidated condition of the spring and its scattered waters, Jahangir’s artistic taste for polishing the beauty of nature could not tolerate the eye- soaring spectacle and he determined to improve it. He built the octagonal tank of sculptured stones round it, so that all water was collected therein, for which carvers were brought from Iran. Seven years later, Shah Jahan, constructed a garden in front of the spring with cascades and aqueducts in straight lines through and around the fine garden.
The water contained in the octagonal spring has crystal blue water teeming with fish. Verinag Spring and Mughal Arcade surrounding it is officially recognized by Archaeological Survey of India as a Monument of National Importance. It is considered as the best picnic spot in south Kashmir for its being easily accessible by road transport. The garden is open for visitors round the year. However, to be here in the spring, summer and autumn has its own charm. With every season the garden changes colours as the seasonal flowers, bedecking its flower beds get changes and so does the ambience and the hues. Likewise, the majestic Chinar trees turn red in the autumn, lending a riot of colour to the landscape. Verinag spring has a big market starting just from its gates. So, visitors will not face any sort of trouble here. A day’s visit is easily manageable to this lovely place.
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