Shalimar Gardens

Shalimar gardens 400
Shalimar Gardens, Pakistan
Photo by: sarfrazh, Creative Commons

Amidst the chaos and confusion that is commonly associated with the country of Pakistan, there are some places that simply exude beauty, elegance, and serenity. One of these special sites is Shalimar Gardens, which is located in Lahre. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its polished and manicured appearance that draws tourists far and near.

The Shalamar Gardens was built by a former ruler of the area, Shah Jahan, in the 16th century. The emperor, known as a great patron of architecture, has the gardens built as a garden for royal pleasure for him and his court to enjoy. The status of the garden remained as a premier royal recreation spot of the Mughals until the 19th century. The gardens lost its prestige in the early 19th century, around 1818 when the Shalimar Gardens were used as stables during the reign of Sikh ruler Ranjit. The former glory of the gardens was revived during the times of the English from 1842 until 1947 when they were refurbished. The gardens were opened by the English to the public when they took over the gardens’ administration.

Nowadays, the Shalimar Gardens are a popular site for both locals and tourists. The gardens are equipped with fountains which during the ancient times, were run with the aid of camels. Nowadays, during special times, the fountains are turned on, albeit only occasionally, and they are run by electric motors. Huge fortification walls that were built in the Mogul times still stand around it, imposing and protecting the grounds. These days, the gardens are the favorite site of receptions and functions hosted by the state. During March, a special staging of Mela Chiragan festivities are done outstand the gardens’ walls. Thirty minutes after sunset, the first two terraces of the gardens are lighted, setting the gardens in a festive mood.

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