Verinaag in Kashmir is named after Nila Nag, the son of the wise saint, Kashyap Rishi, who reclaimed the Kashmir valley, the original shape of this spring was in the circular form of a kund. In 1620, the Emperor Jahangir had the shape changed into the traditional Mughal octagonal. The spring, which has a circumference of 80m in enclosed today by a brick wall under which are vaults. These lake < like waters have a limpid clarity in which the verdant surroundings of pine trees are mirrored. Fish swim in the cool depths and this picturesque setting that so captivated the Mughal emperors has lost none of its pastoral charm over the centuries. The lawns around the spring are a beautifully manicured green, and banks of massed flowers add splashes of colour to this symphony of greens and browns. If you decide to stay at Verinag, from your perch at the JKTDC’s Alpine Resort, backed by a forested mountain, you get to see a bird’s eye view of this Mughal creation — the pavilion, a channel carrying the spring water through a garden, trees, enormously big chinars, people lolling about or strolling through all of this, the town beyond, and the hills still behind it… You can spend a good amount of time just letting this seep into your consciousness as the sun travels and the skies change their colours, finally pulling on a blanket of dark and putting everyone to sleep. A Shaivite shrine just outside the complex draws pilgrims every year, who come for a ritual dip in the spring of the first day of the year according to the lunar Hindu calendar. Some 2 km away is Veravurthur, supposed to be the source of the Jhelum. The waters of the many nearby springs, called collectively, Sapta Rishi, have their confluence at Sangam, where people bathe on festival days. The birth of the river is celebrated annually with a fair. The shining bright valley of
Verinaag in Kashmir
was my first sight of the larger Kashmir Valley — the small valley so iridescent that the green of the paddy had turned almost yellow. That first impression has been a lasting image of Kashmir for me. This time around, I reached
Verinaag in Kashmir
from the other side, having flown in to Srinagar. To relive that childhood memory, I walked up to the Jawahar Tunnel. The beauty of
Verinaag In Kashmir
was as mesmerizing as before — hills all around housing a small valley, abundant with many hues of green, some of which were a silken yellow.
Verinag In Kashmir
is, however, more than just a beautiful valley and, for road travellers, it is the first view of Kashmir. It is home to a spring, revered for ages, that is the source of the principal river of the Vale of Kashmir, River Jhelum. The Mughal Emperor Jehangir had come to Verinag, became enchanted and built a pool, a pavilion and a garden around this spring. His son, Shah Jehan, enlarged the garden and added baradaris and hammams, most of which have perished over time.