The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 2 Gardens of the Plains - Agra

Babur flower gardens

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Babar's love of flowers and gardens would seem to have been as much a national as a personal characteristic. To this day the far-off towns of Eastern Turkestan are celebrated for their orchards. Sir Aurel Stein, in his account of his adventurous journey to the sand-buried cities of Khotan, constantly mentions the gardens which formed such pleasant camping-grounds all along his route from Kashmir to his headquarters at Khotan. At Yarkand, the garden reserved for him, the Chini Bagh, 'proved quite a summer palace within a large walled-in garden.' And again, 'When alone in my temporary mansion, I felt the reality of the charms which such an abode offers even more than I had in the old Mughal and Sikh garden-residences, once my favourite haunts in the campagna of Lahore.' Tanks filled with the sacred lotus flowers figured largely in many of the fresco paintings uncovered among the ruined cities north of Khotan, and adjoining one of the buried houses the outlines of an ancient garden were distinctly traceable. House and garden had lain buried under the drifting sand for nearly 1600 years when Sir Aurel Stein first discovered them. 'The trunks of the poplars, which still rise eight to ten feet irom the original surface, and are thus clearly visible above the sand-drift, are grouped in the same little squares, and enclosing rectangular avenues which can be seen in every well-kept Bostan (orchard) from Kashgar to Keriya.'