The Shalimar Gardens is a Mughal garden complex located in Lahore, Pakistan. Its Construction began in 1641 AD and was completed the following year in the era of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
The meaning of the word ‘Shalimar’ remains a mystery, but it is probably of Arabic or Persian origin. The Shalimar Gardens are located near Baghbanpura in Lahore the capital of Punjab province.
The Shalimar Gardens are laid out in the form of an oblong parallelogram, surrounded by a high brick wall, which is famous for its intricate fretwork. This garden was made on the concept of Char Bhagh. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west. In 1981, Shalimar Gardens was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Lahore Fort.
Three level terraces of the Gardens
The gardens have been laid out from south to north in three levels of terraces, which are elevated by 4–5 metres (13-15 feet) above one another. The respective names of the three terraces have been listed as follows:
- The upper level or the third terrace named Farah Baksh meaning Bestower of Pleasure
- The middle level or the second terrace named Faiz Baksh meaning Bestower of Goodness
- The lower level terrace named Hayat Baksh meaning Bestower of Life
From this basin, and from the canal, rise 410 fountains, which discharge into wide marble pools.It is a credit to the creativity of Mughal engineers that even today scientists are unable to fully comprehend the water systems and thermal engineering from architectural blueprints. The surrounding area is rendered cooler by the flowing of the fountains, which is a particular relief for visitors during Lahore’s blistering summers, with temperature sometimes exceeding 120 °F (49 °C). The distribution of the fountains is as follows:
- The upper level terrace has 105 fountains.
- The middle level terrace has 152 fountains.
- The lower level terrace has 153 fountains.
- All combined, the Gardens has 410 fountains.
Buildings of the Gardens
The buildings of the Gardens include: