Located 8 kilometers east of Lahore, the Shalimar Gardens (also called the Shalamar Gardens) are one of the popular Lahore tourist attractions. The Shalimar Gardens were used as the Royal pleasure garden by the Mughals during the 16th to the 19th century.
The channels of water in Shalimar Gardens are fed by canals designed by Ali Mardan Khan, or Inayat Khan. The gardens enclosed by a red sandstone wall interrupted by small decorative kiosks feature white marble buildings in typical Shah Jahani style.
The beautiful Shalimar Gardens are divided into three parts on different levels. The entire garden with its tanks, fountains and flower beds cover an area of 80 acres. The idea of making Shalimar Gardens was strongly influenced by the gardens of the same name in Kashmir.
The three Level Terraces
The three parts on different levels include:
- The upper terrace named Farah Bakes (Bestower of Pleasure)
- The middle terrace named Faiz Baksh (Bestower of Goodness)
- The lower terrace named Hayat Baksh (Bestower of Life)
A canal named Shah Nahar, also known as Hansti canal, was constructed from a distant location to irrigate the Shalimar Gardens.
As many as 410 fountains rise from this basin and the canal. The upper level terrace contains 105 fountains, the middle level terrace has 152 fountains, while the lower level terrace includes 153 fountains.
Shalimar Gardens feature five water cascades including the great marble cascade and Sawan Bhadoon pavilions.
Buildings of the Gardens
The buildings of the Gardens include:
- Sawan Bhadum pavilions
- Naqar Khana and its buildings
- The Aiwan
- Khawabgah of Begum Sahib
- Trees of the Gardens
There are numerous trees like almond, almond, apple, cherry, gokcha, mango, mulberry, peach, plum, quince (seedless) in the Shalimar Gardens.
- The Shalimar Gardens were built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
- The construction of the gardens began in 1641 AD and was accomplished within one year.
- Khalilullah Khan, Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni took charge of the project.
- In 1981, the Shalimar Gardens were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Shalimar Garden is situated near Baghbanpura along the Grand Trunk Road, at a distance of 5 kilometers northeast of the Lahore city, Pakistan. The gardens are 15 kilometers away from the Lahore airport. Lahore Railway Station is just 5 minutes away from the gardens.
The best time to visit the Shalimar Gardens is during winters and spring when the weather is pleasant.
Image Credit : Ali Imran