Shalimar Gardens, Lahore

Shalimar Gardens, Lahore

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii
Reference 171
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1981 (5th Session)
Endangered 2000–2012
South wall pavilion on first level

The Shalimar Gardens (Punjabi, Urdu: شالیمار باغ‎), sometimes written as Shalamar Gardens, is a Mughal garden complex located in Lahore, Pakistan.[1] Construction began in 1641 AD[2] (1051 AH) and was completed the following year. 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 meaning of the word 'Shalimar' remains a mystery, but it is probably of Arabic or Persian origin as asserted by Anna Suvorova in her book 'Lahore: Topophilia of Space and Place'.[3] The Shalimar Gardens are located near Baghbanpura along the Grand Trunk Road some 5 kilometers northeast of the main Lahore city. Shalimar Gardens draws inspiration from Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab, Persia, and the Delhi Sultanate.[4]


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
    • Three level terraces of the Gardens 2.1
    • Fountains 2.2
    • Buildings of the Gardens 2.3
    • Trees of the Gardens 2.4
  • Gallery 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Inside Shalimar Gardens
Shalimar Gardens in 1895

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.

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

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


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 Char Bhagh. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west. 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.

Three level terraces of the Gardens

The gardens have been laid out from south to north in three levels of terraces, which are elevated by 4–5 metres (13-15 feet) above one another. 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


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


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Shalamar Gardens Gardens of the Mughal Empire. Retrieved 20 June 2012
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Profile
  • The Herbert Offen Research Collection of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
  • , Islamic Environmental Design Research CentreThe Shalamar: A Typical Muslim GardenSattar Sikander,
  • Chapter on Mughal Gardens from Dunbarton Oaks discusses the Shalimar Gardens
  • Irrigating the Shalimar Gardens in addition to canal named Shah Nahar Youtube link in Urdu