Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens

These are two masterpieces from the time of the brilliant Mughal civilization, which reached its height during the reign of the Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort contains marble palaces and mosques decorated with mosaics and gilt. The elegance of these splendid gardens, built near the city of Lahore on three terraces with lodges, waterfalls and large ornamental ponds, is unequalled.
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Outstanding Universal Value
Brief synthesis

The inscribed property includes two distinct royal complexes, the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens, both located in the City of Lahore, at a distance of 7 km. from each other. The two complexes – one characterized by monumental structures and the other by extensive water gardens – are outstanding examples of Mughal artistic expression at its height, as it evolved during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughal civilisation, a fusion of Islamic, Persian, Hindu and Mongol sources (from whence the name Mughal derives) dominated the Indian subcontinent for several centuries and strongly influenced its subsequent development.
The Lahore Fort, situated in the north-west corner of the Walled City of Lahore, occupies a site which has been occupied for several millenia. Assuming its present configuration during the 11th century, the Fort was destroyed and rebuilt several times by the early Mughals during the 13th to the 15th centuries. The 21 monuments which survive within its boundaries comprise an outstanding repertory of the forms of Mughal architecture from the reign of Akbar (1542-1605), characterized by standardized masonry of baked brick and red sandstone courses relieved by Hindu motifs including zooomorphic corbels, through that of Shah Jahan (1627-58), characterized by the use of luxurious marbles, inlays of precious materials and mosaics, set within exuberant decorative motifs of Persian origins.
Akbar’s efforts are exemplified in the Masjidi Gate flanked by two bastions and the Khana-e-Khas-o-Am (Public and Private Audience Hall). Akbar’s successor, Jahangir, finished the large north court (1617-18) begun by Akbar and, in 1624-25, decorated the north and north-west walls of the Fort. Shah Jahan added a fairy tale-like complex of buildings surrounding the Court of Shah Jahan (Diwan-e-Kas, Lal Burj, Khwabgah-e-Jahangiri, and the Shish Mahal, 1631-32, one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, sparkling with mosaics of glass, gilt, semi-precious stones and marble screening).
The Shalimar Gardens, constructed by Shah Jahan in 1641-2 is a Mughal garden, layering Persian influences over medieval Islamic garden traditions, and bearing witness to the apogee of Mughal artistic expression. The Mughal garden is characterized by enclosing walls, a rectilinear layout of paths and features, and large expanses of flowing water. The Shalimar Gardens cover 16 hectares, and is arranged in three terraces descending from the south to the north. The regular plan, enclosed by a crenellated wall of red sandstone, disposes square beds on the upper and lower terraces and elongated blocks on the narrower, intermediate terrace; within, elegant pavilions balance harmoniously arranged poplar and cypress trees, reflected in the vast basins of water.

Courtesy: UNESCO>>