"A garden is the purest of human pleasure"  Moghul Emperor Babar
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lhr_0064.gif (203174 bytes)This impressive monument, the most complete Moghul garden in the entire Indian subcontinent,lhr_0062.jpg (92457 bytes) was built by Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal) in1642 for the pleasure of the royal household, which often stayed here for days or weeks at a time. It follows the Moghul concept of the perfect walled garden, with three terraces (each 13 feet below the adjacent terrace) of straight, shaded walks, geometrically arranged ponds, fountains and marble pavilions, surrounded by flowers and fruit trees.


The emperor's sleeping quarters are at the center of the southern wall, across from Dewan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience). The emperor walked through this hall daily to show himself to the public gathered in a separate walled garden outside.
Verandah of the emperor's quarters
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A door leading into one of three rooms of the emperor's quarters
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View from the emperor's quarters
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The garden is completely surrounded by a high, 5-foot thick, brick wall and decorated on the inside with arched panels of different sizes. Originally it was plastered and painted with frescos.
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The emperor would enter by one of two gates in the lowest terrace on an elephant and progress upwards against the stream of flowing water to discover new and greater delights at each higher level.
One of the two elephant gates
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The way up to the middle terrace is guarded by two pavilions on either side of a waterfall. In the marble wall behind the waterfall are rows of hundreds of little cusped niches which held wild flowers in golden vases by day and lamps by night. From the lower terrace and through a double row of five cusped arches the waterfall looked like a sheet of shimmering light.
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lhr_0028.jpg (77299 bytes)The middle terrace has 150 fountains. A cascade, carved out of onelhr_0042.jpg (66503 bytes) solid piece of marble, carries water down from the upper ponds. Between the cascade and the pond stands a marble throne surrounded by a marble railing where the emperor sat and listened to the musicians and watched his nautch girls dance by the moonlight.

The one-piece carved marble cascade
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In the Ceremonial Hall with Aslam, the driver.
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Various scenes around Shalamar (also written as Shalimar) Gardens. This garden is often frequented by the public for picnics, walking, flying kites etc.

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