Shalimar Gardens, Lahore – A world heritage site

Shalimar Gardens, Lahore – A world heritage site

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    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.

    Image Source: Meemjee

    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.

    Architecture

    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
    Image Source: Pale blue dot~commonswiki
    Image Source: Pale blue dot~commonswiki
    Fountains

    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:

    • Sawan Bhadun pavilions
    • Naqar Khana and its buildings
    • Khwabgah or Sleeping chambers
    • Hammam or Royal bath
    • The Aiwan or Grand hall
    • Aramgah or Resting place
    • Khawabgah of Begum Sahib or Dream place of the emperor’s wife
    • Baradaries or summer pavilions to enjoy the coolness created by the Gardens’ fountains
    • Diwan-e-Khas-o-Aam or Hall of special & ordinary audience with the emperor
    • Two gateways and minarets in the corners of the Gardens

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