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Shalimar Gardens, Lahore

Introduction:
The Shalimar Gardens sometimes spelled Shalamar Gardens, is a Mughal garden complex located in Lahore, capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab.Construction of the gardens began in 1637 C.E. during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan,and was completed in 1641.

The Shalimar Gardens were laid out as a Persian paradise garden. The gardens measure 658 metres by 258 metres, and cover an area of 16 hectares east of Lahore’s Walled City. The gardens are enclosed by a brick wall that is famous for its intricate fretwork.

In 1981 the Shalimar Gardens were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as they embody Mughal garden design at the apogee of its development.The gardens date from the period when the Mughal Empire was at its artistic and aesthetic zenith.

Layout:
The gardens have been laid out from south to north in three levels of terraces, with levels spaced by 4–5 metres (13-15 feet) above the other, descending from south to north. The respective names of the three terraces have been listed as follows:

The middle level terrace of the garden, known as the Faiz Bakhsh terrace
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

Architecture:
Shalimar Gardens draws inspiration from Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab, Persia and the Delhi Sultanate.[6] 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 a Persian paradise garden. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west.

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.
The Gardens have 5 water cascades including the great marble cascade and Sawan Bhadoon.

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 and ordinary audience with the emperor
Two gateways and minarets in the corners of the Gardens

Trees of the Gardens:
Some of the varieties of trees that were planted included:
Almond
Apple
Apricot
Cherry
Gokcha
Mango
Mulberry
Peach
Plum
Poplar
Quince Seedless
Sapling of Cypress
Shrubs
Sour and sweet oranges
Numerous other varieties of odoriferous (fragrant) and non odoriferous and fruit giving plants

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