Achabal Bagh in the Winter

A few photos of the Mughal Gardens at Achabal in Kashmir, all snowed up in the winter. These gardens and waterworks date back to the 17th c AD and are supposedly also called Begampur Bagh, having been constructed by Nur Jahan. The last building in the sequence of pavilions over the central water channel hides a spring that feeds the water channels of the garden and then forms a stream through the town of Achabal. Continue reading

Avantipur and Martand

Avantipur and Martand, on the road from Srinagar to Pehelgam, are the site of three imposing Hindu temples. The two temples in Avantipur date from the 9th c AD, and the the largest of the three in Martand is from the 8th c. While all three temples are in ruins, there is enough there (after reconstruction) to give an idea of what stone temple architecture in Kashmir from that time would have looked like. The style of these temples is unique, heavily influenced by the Buddhist Gandhara school of art, which in turn is heavily influenced by Greek and Hellenistic art and architecture. Scholarship mentions that these Kashmiri temples also show direct Roman influences, but I wonder if this influence could also be redirected from later Gandharan times. Continue reading

Srinagar’s Mosques and Shrines

Most of Srinagar’s most famous shrines and mosques lie within or close to the old city. The architecture of these monuments is unique, mostly constructed of wood and brick/stone masonry, with multi-levelled sloping roofs and tall spires reminiscent of Hindu and Buddhist religious structures from the western and central Himalayas. They have elaborately and beautifully ornate polychromatic interiors finished with wood and papier-mache. Continue reading