Shalimar Gardens, Lahore

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Shalimar Gardens, Lahore
Iphone5 (6386).JPG
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location Pakistan Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 31°35′09″N 74°22′55″E / 31.585833333333°N 74.381944444444°E / 31.585833333333; 74.381944444444
Criteria Cultural: (i), (ii), (iii) Edit this on Wikidata
Reference 171-002
Inscription 1981 (5th Session)
Endangered 2000–2012
Shalimar Gardens, Lahore is located in Pakistan
Shalimar Gardens, Lahore
Location of Shalimar Gardens, Lahore
The Hayat Bakhsh terrace.

The Shalimar Gardens (Punjabi, Urdu: شالیمار باغ‎), sometimes spelled Shalamar Gardens, is a Mughal garden complex located in Lahore, capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab.[1] Construction of the gardens began in 1637 C.E. during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan,[2] 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.[3] The gardens date from the period when the Mughal Empire was at its artistic and aesthetic zenith.[3]


The Shalimar Gardens are located near Baghbanpura along the Grand Trunk Road some 5 kilometers northeast of the main Lahore city.


Lahore's Shalimar Gardens were influenced by the older Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir that were built by Shah Jahan's father, Emperor Jahangir. Shah Jahan was involved in construction of the gardens in Kashmir. The most correct etymology of Shalimar's name is Arabic or, more precisely, Arabic-Persian. This etymology has been proposed by the Russian scholar Anna Suvorova who derives the garden’s name from the Arabic expression shah al-‘imarat (Master of Buildings). It should be kept in mind that the word ‘imarat’ (building) was historically used for park architecture and gardens in general. Irrespective, Shalimar literally means "Temple of Love" in Sanskrit.[4]


Faiz Baksh (Bestower of Goodness) terrace view from Farah Baksh (Bestower of Pleasure) terrace.jpg
Reflection of Farah Baksh Terrace (Upper Terrace) main building.jpg
Inside Shalimar Gardens
Shalimar Gardens in 1895

The project management was carried out under the superintendence of Khalilullah Khan, a noble of Shah Jahan's court, in cooperation with Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni. The etymology of the word 'Shalimar' is unknown.[5]

The site of the Shalimar Gardens originally belonged to the Arain Mian Family Baghbanpura. The family was also given the royal title of 'Mian' by the Mughal Emperor, for its services to the Empire. Mian Muhammad Yusuf, then the head of the Arain Mian family, gave the site of Ishaq Pura to the Emperor Shah Jahan, after pressure was placed on the family by the royal engineers who wished to build on the site due to its good position and soil. In return, Shah Jahan granted the Arain Mian family governance of the Shalimar Gardens. The Shalimar Gardens remained under the custodianship of this family for more than 350 years. During the Sikh era, much of the garden's marble was pillaged and used to decorated the Golden Temple in Amritsar.[6]

In 1962, the Shalimar Gardens were nationalised by General Ayub khan[7] because leading Arain Mian family members had opposed his imposition of martial law in Pakistan.[citation needed]

The Mela Chiraghan festival used to take place in the Gardens, until General Ayub khan ordered against it in 1958.


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


Shalimar Gardens draws inspiration from Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab, Persia and the Delhi Sultanate.[8] 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.


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[edit]

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[edit]

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 orange


  • Numerous other varieties of odoriferous (fragrant) and non odoriferous and fruit giving plants


In 1981, Shalimar Gardens was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Lahore Fort, under the UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage sites in 1972.

The Path, used to go down to the 2nd level terrace of Shalimar Gardens, Lahore.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Google maps. "Location of Shalimar Gardens". Google maps. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Shalamar Gardens Gardens of the Mughal Empire. Retrieved 20 June 2012
  3. ^ a b "Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore". UNESCO. Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Anna Suvorova. Lahore: Topophilia of Space and Place.—— Oxford University Press.— 2011. — P.79–108.
  5. ^ Ahmed, Khaled. "The meaning of 'Shalimar'". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Turner, Tom (2005). Garden History: Philosophy and Design 2000 BC – 2000 AD. Routledge. ISBN 9781134370825. 
  7. ^ Upon A Trailing Edge: Risk, the Heart and the Air Pilot. Troubador Publishing Ltd. 2015. p. 268. 
  8. ^ "Shalimar Gardens". Gardens of the Mughal Empire. Smithsonian Productions. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 

External links[edit]