The Shalimar Gardens were built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Lahore, construction began in 1641. The project management was carried out under the superintendence of Khalilulllah Khan, a noble of Shah Jahan’s court.
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. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west. The Gardens have been laid out from south to north in three descending terraces, which are elevated by 4-5 meters above one another. To irrigate the Gardens, a canal named Shah Nahar meaning royal canal, later also known as Hansti Nahar, meaning laughing canal was brought from Rajpor (present day Madhpur in India), a distance of over 161 kilometers.
The canal intersected the Gardens and discharged into a large marble basin in the middle terrace. From this basin, and from the canal, rise 410 fountains, which discharge into wide marble pools. The surrounding area is rendered cooler by the flowing of the fountains, which is particular relief for visitors during Lahore’s blistering summer, with temperature sometimes above 40°C. The Gardens have 5 water cascades including the great marble cascade and Sawan Bhadoon.
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