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Shalimar Garden, Lahore, Pakistan

Updated on March 10, 2010
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Pamela has visited Shalimar Gardens in Lahore several times during travels in Pakistan.

Shalimar Garden, Lahore, Pakistan

There are three Shalimar Gardens, one in Kashmir, one in Delhi and one in Lahore. I have visited the garden in Lahore and although much of its former beauty is long gone, it is possible to imagine how it once was.

When you go through the door into Shalimar Garden in Lahore you seem to go from the loud hustle and bustle of the city into an oasis of calm. It is difficult to believe you are in the same city. When you are sitting in the garden in the peace of the evening as the sun goes down, listening to the city beyond the walls and hearing the birds as they settle for the night, you can feel the history.

In 1641, Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan began to build the garden. Mughal gardens were built near rivers or canals to feed the fountains and water features that were a part of them. There are many fountains and water shutes (chadars) carved with intricate patterns to create the sound of mountain streams in Shalimar. There are open pavilions called Baradaris, these had 12 openings to allow the cool breezes and rain to enter.

In the garden there were trees for shade and many fruit trees, among them mango, orange and lemon. Flowers were also in abundance. Now the trees and flowers are mostly gone.

In the heat of the Lahore summer the Emperor used to retire with his wives and retinue to the peace and calm of his garden. With the pavilions, pools and fountains they were a place of ease and respite from the heat.

The gardens are now open to the public and they are a place to go to enjoy a little of the luxury of the Emperors. I visited the gardens twice and on the second occasion the gardener was there and he turned on the water on one of the chadars because I was a foreigner. It is how the Pakistani people are. They welcome anyone from another country and feel proud that we are interested in what they have to show us. I feel privileged that I have had the opportunity to visit and see for myself places we usually can only read about.

Shalimar Garden, Lahore, Pakistan


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