Landscape Architecture Under The Mughals
Landscape Architecture Under the Mughals
- Landscape architecture under the Mughals as illustrated by the large ornamental gardens which the rulers laid out in various places is an important aspect of Mughal architecture.
- The idea of these retreats was brought in from Persia.
- Babur, the founder of the dynasty, commemorated his victory over Ibrahim Lodi in 1526 not with a triumphal monument but with a large garden called Kabul Bagh at Panipat.
- Most of the principal architectural projects of the Mughal rulers were surrounded by park-like enclosures.
- Spacious gardens not associated with buildings were also created, especially the gardens of Kashmir, of which the Shalimar and Nishat Baghs are the most famous.
- In the plains of India, the Shalimar Bagh at Lahore was built by Shah Jahan in 1637.
- It is formed by means of a series of rectangular terraces arranged in descending levels to ensure a continuous flow of water throughout the entire system.
- Fountains, pools, basins, cascades and similar devices turn the whole into a very effective water garden.
- The layout is rigidly conventional and axially symmetrical.
- The aim of the design is to discipline nature and not to imitate it. Hence, this style belongs to the school of formalists and not naturalists.
- The plan of the Mughal gardens is worked out in a regular arrangement of squares, often subdivided into smaller squares to form the figure of the char bagh.
- Paved pathways and water channels follow the shapes of these squares, with oblique or curved lines used rarely or not at all.
- At central points in the scheme, masonry pavilions, loggias, kiosks and arbours are built, a prominent example being the pillared pavilion of black marble in the middle of the Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir.
- The entire garden was surrounded by a high enclosing wall to ensure privacy as is seen in the Shalimar Bagh at Lahore, which measures an oblong 1600’ X 900’.
- The art of topiary and the science of arboriculture were not widely practiced, the main effect being achieved by means of parterres and borders of flowering and aromatic plants. The chinar tree (Platanus orientalis) is prominently featured in the Kashmir gardens, orchards in palace gardens and avenues or groups of cypresses in gardens around tombs.
- The water supply required to maintain such gardens was often brought in from distant sources by means of canals, which were in themselves great feats of engineering.