The Garden Guide

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

Tree of Life

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In early ages the tree on the mount was replaced by a temple; in Buddhist times the stone chhat-travali or umbrellas, the symbols of the sacred tree and its branches, crowned the building; the idea was carried on. by the Hindu temples, and with the coming of the Mohammedans the temple on the mount is replaced by the tomb or baradari on a central platform from which the four waterways still flow. Back to such simple pieties we are led by the Hindu custom prescribing the laying out of a garden, 'the purest of human pleasures,' as a religious function, of which the distinctive rite is the formal marriage of the fruit trees with the garden well, two of the finest young trees being planted beside the conduit head. After which the dakshina (right-hand-going) is performed, the garden being perambulated by its planters. This marriage of the fruit trees is a favourite motive with Hindu craftsmen, and the well-known perforated stone windows in the mosque of Sidi Sayyid at Ahmedabad are among the most exquisite examples of its use. [See Tree of Life]