Shalimar Gardens, Lahore
Watercolour of the Shalimar Gardens, by an anonymous artist working in the Punjab style, c. 1860. Inscribed in Persian characters:' Shala Bagh.'
The Shalimar Bagh (gardens) are 5 miles north-east of Lahore and were laid out in 1642 on the orders of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (ruled 1627-1658). At over 457 m long, they consist of three descending terraces through which a water channel flows, with pools and many fountains. Two of the terraces are designed as charbaghs, the “four-fold” square garden divided symmetrically into quarters by parterres, a form often used by the Mughals. Audience halls and marble pavilions used as residences for Shah Jahan and his daughter were built on the second terrace on the edges of a large central tank filled with fountains. Gardens became popular spaces for pleasure and relaxation under Mughal patronage and Shah Jahan was personally interested in their design. Lahore became known as the “city of gardens” as a result of the Shalimar Bagh and other gardens created by the Mughals from the 16th to the 18th centuries.