The Garden Guide

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

Bagh-i-Kilan Garden Istalif

Previous - Next

'Istalif,' he says, 'is a district full of gardens, green, gay, and beautiful,' in which was a garden 'called Bagh-i-Kilan, or the Great Garden, which Mugh Beg Mirza seized upon. I paid the price of the garden to the proprietors, and received from them a grant of it. A perennial stream, large enough to turn a mill, runs through the garden; and on its banks.are planted planes and other trees. Formerly this stream flowed in a winding and crooked course, but I ordered its course to be altered according to a regular plan, which added greatly to the beauty of the place. Lower down than these villages, and about a kos or a kos and a half above the level plain, on the lower skirts of the hills, is a fountain, named Khwajeh-seh-yaran (Khwajeh-three-friends), around which there are three species of trees; above the fountain are many beautiful plane trees, which yield a pleasant shade. On the two sides of the fountain, on small eminences at the bottom of the hills, there are a number of oak trees; except on these two spots, where there are groves of oak, there is not an oak to be met with on the hills west of Kabul. In front of this fountain, towards the plain, there are many spots covered with the flowery arghwan tree, and besides these arghwan plots there are none else in the whole country. It is said that these three kinds of trees were bestowed on it by the power of three holy men, beloved of God; and that this is the origin of the name Seyaran. I directed this fountain' (i.e. spring) 'to be built round with stone, and formed a cistern of lime and mortar twenty feet square. On the four sides of this fountain, a fine level platform for resting was constructed on a very neat plan. At the time when the arghwan flowers begin to blow, I do not know that any place in the world is to be compared to it. The yellow arghwan is here very abundant, and the yellow arghwans blossom mingles with the red.' [Note: Istalif is a village to the north of Kabul in Afghanistan]