“Of the trees which grow in the level portions of the valley, the chenar is by far the most striking.
As it grows in Kashmir it is a king among trees, and in its autumn foliage is one of the many attractions which go to make Kashmir one of the supremely beautiful spots in the world. Its official botanical name is the Platanus orientalis, and it is one of the varieties of the plane tree. The chief characteristic is the massiveness of its foliage– its umbrageousness. It grows to a considerable height; it has long outstanding branches and great girth–one which Mr. Lawrence measured was 63 feet around the base. And as the leaves are broad and flat, the whole mass of foliage is immense, and so thick that both sun and rain are practically excluded from any one sitting in its shade. Under the chenar trees in the Residency garden one can sit through a summer day without a hat, and through a summer shower without getting wet. All this mass of foliage turned purple, claret, red, and yellow in the autumn tinting, backed against a clear blue sky and overhanging the glittering, placid waters of the Dal Lake or the Jhelum River, forms a picture which can be seen in no other country than Kashmir.”
–Sir France Younghusband, explorer, Kashmir, 1908.