emperor, Shah Jahan's particular attachment to the city where
he was born, manifested itself in various architectural gems
in Lahore. One of the finest is the Shalimar gardens which was
laid in 1642 AD, six kilometers north-east of the old city,
besides the grand trunk road. Spread over 17 hectares, the garden
were completed at cost of RS.1.60 million and four days under
the supervision of khalil ullah khan.
One of three such gardens, this is the finest specimen of
mughal landscaping. Similar terraced gardens were laid by
the emperor's father Jahangir, in Kashmir and the third by
Shah Jahan in Delhi. The garden is conceived in three terraces.
The top terrace, Farrah Bakhash, 'bestower of pleasure', indicates
that the garden was full of flowers and sweet-scented shrubs.
This terrace was reserved for the ladies of the Mughal court.
The middle level is most elaborate with the great marble cascade
of water. The lowest level called Faiz Bakhash, bestower of
plenty', indicates that it abounded in fruit-bearing trees.
Here emperors and their grand retinue were entertained by
musicians and dancers, by singers and red sand-stone and intricate
piatra dura work enhance the pleasure of the gardens.
The descending terraces, the gardens, and the pavilions are
unified by water channels, ponds, man-made waterfalls and
the hundreds of fountains. The water for the fountains was
channeled by ingenious means which cost three times the amount
expended on laying the garden.
Babur, the founder of the mughal dynasty stated that 'garden
is the purest of the human pleasures'. Shah jahan his descendent,
with characteristics, transforming touch, turned the observation
into reality on the plains of the Punjab. At this sprawling
venue nature and nature happily meet, mix and mingle.