The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 6 Gardens of the Plains Lahore

Mughal garden baradari

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A large baradari stands on the wall of the upper terrace of the Shalimar above the reservoir. The water passing through the building races down a carved marble slope. At the foot of this slope, standing out over the water, is a beautifully carved white marble chabutra or throne. These seats over the water, from their commanding position and coolness, were always the place of honour-the Emperors thrones in the gardens. The early examples in Kashmir consist simply of one large plain slab of black marble or other stone, and serve as a bridge across the stream as well as a seat. Later, as the canals grew wider, these stones were replaced by small thrones, their legs and little rails elaborately carved, approached by stepping-stones or narrow causeways. The little throne at Lahore has somehow escaped the general destruction. The low side-rails-like most Mughal barriers, just the height on which one can comfortably lean ones elbow when sitting on the ground-are pierced and carved in a beautiful floral design. Shah Jahan no doubt sat here in state to see the fountains in his new garden play: there are a hundred and forty-four in the great tank alone. Between the throne and the cascade there is still one original white marble fountain left-a lily bud in shape, delicately carved. [Note: a baradari is a room with 12 doors, designed to allow free movement of air]