The Persian Garden: Paradise on Earth
Shalimar you may know as a perfume, but the name is derived from the Mughal garden in Kashmir called Shalimar Bagh. The Bagh was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Noor Jahan, in 1619. The Shalimar Bagh is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture and is now a public park.
The garden’s purpose was, and is, to provide a place for protected relaxation in a variety of manners: spiritual, and leisurely (such as meetings with friends), essentially a paradise on earth. The common Iranian word for “enclosed space” was pari-daiza , a term that was adopted by christian mythology to describe the garden of Eden or paradise on earth.
The key to the gardens of the islamic world was the idea of an oasis. Within the garden wall, the essentials are cool shade and the sight and sound of water. This allows a maximization, in terms of function and emotion, of what may be done in the garden.
The Persian garden’s construction may be formal (with an emphasis on structure) or casual (with an emphasis on nature), following several simple design rules. These concepts have endured and are always inspirational. To create a space to gather, relax and dream is a good place to start when designing a garden.
A Mughal at Work
The Entrance to the Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir
A tiny bit of paradise