Historical Verinag Garden losing its fascination, VDA, Floriculture responsible: SYDF

By News Agency of Kashmir

Anantnag /Verinag : Famous for its magnificence Verinag Garden has lost its old glory as the newly created Development authority has defaced the history old structure not of only the outlets of the spring but the level of its canals were also vandalized.

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Notwithstanding, government has allocated funds for its face lifting
but the way work is being carried would loose its old fascination of
being one of the oldest heritage centre of Mugals. But the newly
created development authority and floriculture department has defaced
the garden and funds and being used with-out proper planning.

The Verinag spring is about 26 kilometers away from Anantnag and is
considered as the original source of river Jhelum. The spring is situated at the bottom of hill covered by pine trees and evergreen plants. The wonderful and charming construction of the spring as well as it's adjacent garden compel the visitors to see it again and again.

 The constructions of the banks of spring as well as its surroundings
are of rare shape. The Mughal Emperor Jehangir constructed it and
carvers for the purpose were brought from Iran.  The construction date
of the spring is 1029 H is duly inscribed on a stone installed at the
western gate of entry towards the spring which is also easily accessible through a link road from the Jammu-Srinagar highway at uphill of village Sadiwara.

The spring is fast loosing its splendor in the absence of proper look
after by the tourism authorities and department of archeology
responsible for safeguarding the old monuments and historical places.

The worst part of the history of Verinag has been that despite of
being the most beautiful tourist place of Kashmir, no care was taken
by the government during the last possibly for political reasons. "I
have been visiting this garden since my childhood but now it has lost
its charisma" said a Calcutta based tourist, adding that people from
new generation know less about this historical place.

"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 so captivated the Mughal emperors has
lost none of its pastoral charm over the centuries" another youth of
the area told News Agency of Kashmir.

Verinag spring is of great importance and beauty, with deep blue water
which issues from the bottom of a high scrap of a mountain spur and
here also Emperor Jehangir built a garden and pleasure house.

"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 from of a 'Kund' in 1620 the Emperor Jahangir had
the shape changed into the traditional Mughal octagonal" a local
resident told News Agency of Kashmir, adding the spring, which has a
circumference of 80m, is enclosed today by a brick wall under which
are vaults.

He said the garden has not been even visited by a single tourist during the last seventeen years, adding the only reason was installation of security forces camp out side the main gate of the garden.

"Instead of wasting money Verinag development authority should have
developed  infrastructure like construction of shops and maintenance
of roads and Bazaars so that the visitors will get attracted to this
historical place" Said Gul Mohd Bhat general secretary of newly formed
Shahabad Youth development forum, adding that if the department of
floriculture will not stop to disfigure this centuries old tourist place the forum would move to court of Law for seeking direction of maintaining and repairing the old structure as well as its glorious water canal from spring to end of the garden.

Some 2-km away is Veravurthur (Vetasta) 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.

Besides being known as the origin of river Jhelum, Vetasta spring is also of great importance for local Hindus who revere it as the incarnation of Mata Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.

Both the quantity and quality of crystal clear water gushing out of the foot hills of Peer Panchal is falling alarmingly due to unabated access to the spring which has reduced it to merely a Ghat where people wash their dirty clothes and utensils.

Though a development authority has received some lakhs of rupees which they tendered for the works of no use, allege a local resident. He
said that they VDA should beautify the surroundings of the spot and
ensure a good road connectivity so as to ease visitors who intend to
visit the spring.

However, government claims that the development authority was set up for the development of the area but locals allege that Verinag has
been a political victim during the last ten years for one or the other