Shalimar Gardens – The Epitome of Luxurious Mughal Architecture

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The World Heritage Shalamar Gardens, are among the most spectacular gardens of the
world. The Shalamar Gardens divided into three steps with the name of Farah Bakhsh,
Faiz Bakhsh and Hayat Bakhsh. The word Shalamar driven from two Kashmir words
Shali and Maar respectively meaning paddy and field. The first Shalamar Gardens was
built in Srinagar Kashmir and other in Delhi. The Shalamar Gardens in Delhi has been
disappeared but Shalamar Gardens in Kashmir and in Lahore still exists.
Shalamar Gardens Lahore was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the
year 1637 AD and was completed in 1641 AD. For the irrigation of this gardens a canal
was dug about 100 miles upstream of river Ravi at the village of Rampur.

Originally, the entrance to the garden was from the north, providing entry at the lowest
level and allowing a progression upwards to upper terraces to enjoy the full impact of
the cascading waterfall, chahar bagh parterres and water channels, along with flowers
and trees—an image of heaven on earth. The upper terrace—Bagh-e-Farah Bakhsh, the
Garden of the Bestower of Pleasure—was reserved for royalty and included chambers
such as Begum ki Khwabgah (The sleeping chamber of the Queen). Its central baradari
overlooks the spectacular waterfall discharging into the enormous water reservoir
with its 152 fountains—there are over 100 fountains in the upper terrace and more
than 150 in the lowest one, creating ‘Thousand and One Nights’ scene. A strategically
placed décorative throne overhangs at the foot of the waterfall while a central platform
(mahtabi), accessed by causeways, marks the middle pool terrace, giving a spectacular
view of the marble inlaid chaddar (cascade), overlooking the north chahar bagh known
as Bagh-e-Faiz Bakhsh (the Garden of the Bestower of Plenty), originally intended to
be a more public part of the garden.

The garden suffered considerable damage during the Sikh Period. The pavilions were
deprived of their marble and agate work to decorate Ram Bagh and the Golden Temple
at Amritsar.

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