[Gateway into the Sardar Bag, Junagadh.]
Photographer: Nelson, F.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the entrance gateway to the Sardar Bagh at Junagadh in Gujarat, taken by the travelling commercial photographer F. Nelson in the 1890s from the Lee-Warner Collection: 'Photographs of Junagadh'. The creation of the Sardar Bagh is attributed to Sardarkhan, Foujdar of Sorath, in 1681. It was later enlarged by Nawab Mahabat Khan II (r.1851-1882). During his reign the city was developed and improved with a series of new palaces, public buildings and parks. This view looks through the stone gateway to the gardens and along an alleyway lined with potted trees with pergola arches at either end. There were lion cages within the gardens and the entrance is flanked at either side by majestic carved lions on plinths. The nearby Gir Forest is one of the last natural habitats of the Asiatic lion, the emblem of King Ashoka of the Buddhist Mauryan Dynasty in the third century BC, and Junagadh's most famous ruler. The Ashokan Rock Edicts at the foot of Mount Girnar admonished lion hunters and the animal was declared a protected species by the Nawab of Junagadh in the late 19th or early 20th century.