The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 5 Gardens of the Plains - Delhi

Indian water gardens

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But the Turkestan Mughals were an intensely practical as well as an artistic people-as, indeed, all historical nations are who have evolved sound traditions for their guidance, and still retain the capacity for adapting them afresh to the ever changing conditions of time and place. India is a hot country, unbearably so in summer, as Babars disheartened followers found when they tried to force him to return to Kabul only four days after the capture of Agra. But the Emperor was not to be deterred; and in their new gardens by the Jumna the Mughals in time learned to adapt themselves to their altered surroundings. For one thing, they needed more water; water to cool the burning wind, big tanks to swim in as well as long sheets of water to charm the eye with their lovely tranquil reflections. Thus we find the watercourses reduced in number and gradually widening, so much so that one can nearly always tell the approximate date of an Indian garden by the width of its principal watercourse. By the end of Akbars reign they had grown in width until the main watercourse of the Shalimar Bagh, built by Jahangir in Kashmir, was twenty feet wide and more. Later fountains were introduced into the canals as well as into the reservoirs, and the canals themselves became so wide that elaborate stepping-stones across them formed part of the design.