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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Power and Light:  Mughal Gardens

By perfecting irrigation and making water integral to their design artistry too, the great Mughal gardens shine on with authority.


The world’s most famous Mughal garden: the Taj Mahal

Photo: via Trifter

By Russell Bowes

The great gardens of Mughal India grew from two opposing forces.  From lands to the west came the spread of Islamic faith, bringing the teachings of the Koran, ideas about civilised living and a rich history of both gardening and the “grammar” of decoration.  From the east came the equally relentless invasions of the Mongols, with despotic ideas about government and political control and highly advanced civil engineering skills.  When both forces finally penetrated the Himalayas and met on the plains of Kashmir, they combined to bring about the rule of the Mughal emperors.  In gardening terms, this new culture reached its zenith in the rules of Babur the Great (1508 – 1530) and his five direct descendants.  Under Jahangir (1605 – 1627) and Jahan (1627 – 1658), the art of gardening was to reach a climax of stylistic interpretation and ingenuity of construction to rival that of the Italian Renaissance, then attaining its height of expression in distant Europe.  Although separated by vast geographical distance, climate and religion, both these great gardening cultures expressed values and ideas through the same element – water.

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Posted by Julie on 05/26 at 03:33 PM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapeReligious RitualsPermalink