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Thursday, 23 April 2015


After Construction of Shalimar Garden in 16th century, extensive residences, villages, shrines, and tomb-gardens began to line the new alignment of the Grand Trunk Road in the mid-seventeenth century—villages like Kot Khwaja Saeed, Bhogiwal, and Begumpura (Woman's Town). Begumpura is the most interesting village, in terms of Mughal gardens, to survive along the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore Fort and Shalimar garden.

The sites of Begumpura developed over a hundred-year period from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century. They include tombs, gardens, gates, walls, wells, mosques, shrines, and residential havelis.

The site of the Shalimar Gardens originally belonged to the Arain Mian Family Baghbanpura. The family was also given the royal title of 'Mian' by the Mughal Emperor, for its services to the Empire. Mian Muhammad Yusuf, then the head of the ArainMian family, gave the site of Ishaq Pura to the Emperor Shah Jahan, after pressure was placed on the family by the royal engineers who wished to build on the site due to its good position and soil. In return, Shah Jahan granted the Arain Mian family governance of the Shalimar Gardens. The Shalimar Gardens remained under the custodianship of this family for more than 350 years. 

I born and grew up near the Historical Shalimar Garden of Lahore. I completed my graduation from Engineering University Lahore which is also located in premises of Begumpura on Grand Trunk Road. So love for this area is natural. Since childhood I am visiting these gardens, masajids, shrines, and tombs but a desire was always there that I should explore them, acquire knowledge about their history and plan a group ride/walk to these areas. Childhood memories have their own special nostalgia and with the passage of time dreams force you to turn them to reality.

Few years back I started doing research on my own on this area. My practice was that I use to find name of site and then l try to collect related information about its history. Then I mark the location on Google earth and in end visit the site. I completed my research on this area long ago.

So on 25th December, 2014, I decided to explore all these sites. I took a friend with me and we visited all these sites on bicycles. We started our journey from Shalimar Garden. It was an interesting ride towards history.


Now dilapidated, this garden was once among many of the Chahar Bagh Gardens built along the road to Shalimar Gardens by the Mughal nobility. The garden was originally surrounded by a high wall of masonry and is situated to the west of the Shalimar Gardens and south of Baghbanpura. Now, only portions of the surrounding wall remain as much of the garden has been encroached upon by the local population.

The garden is locally known as "Saithan di Bagheechi". The old gateway is on the west, and additions were made to the upper storey by Parsi merchants of Bombay who owned it in the late 1800s. A newer gateway was located to the north, however, only traces of it remain now as most of it has been replaced by houses surrounding the garden. To the east and south were rooms and chambers, built of substantial brick-working order but are no longer extant. To the south was a small mosque, now much renovated.  

The garden was built by Mahabt Khan, surnamed Khan-e-Khanan, Yamin-ud-Daula. His original name was Zamana Beg, and he was son of Ghyur Beg of Kabul. Jahangir writes of him in his autobiography, "Zamana Beg son of Ghayur Beg, had gained the dignity of 500, by when I was till Crown Prince. He now (on my accession), having received the title of Mahabat Khan and a mansab of 1500, was nominated Pay master of my household."

In the seventeenth year of the reign of Jahangir, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, with a mansab of 7000, and sent against Shah Jahan whom he defeated near Allahabad. Mahabat Khan died in 1634. At his death he held the dignity of Khan-e-Khanan, and was head of the military administration. Shah Jahan made provision for Mahabat Khan's eldest son who ultimately rose to the Governorship of Kabul and to bear his father’s title. 

Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave the garden to Faqir Aziz-ud-Din, who looked well after it. On his death, Faqir Charagh-ud-Din, his heir sold it to Jahangirji & Co., Parsi Merchants.

In the midst of the garden, on a spacious platform (now in ruins), is a grave of solid masonry which both Chishti and Sarwar ascribe to Mahabat Khan.

2.      JANI KHAN'S TOMB:-

Tomb of Jani Khan or Khan-i-Khanan is situated south of the road to Shalimar Gardens and to the southwest of garden of Mahabat Khan in Baghbanpura. The tomb was likely constructed during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muhammed Shah or his son Ahmed Shah. The dome is decorated with porcelain tiles of blue and yellow color. Some of the tile work is still extant. The pyramidal dome sits atop a low height neck which is decorated with pottery work in beautiful floral patterns similar to those seen on tomb of Sharf-un-Nisa Begum (Cypress Tomb), built in 1745. The tomb originally stood in a garden with a beautiful gateway but no trace of them exists now, the gateway having been dismantled in the late 1800s. Today, the remaining structure is hidden between some houses on a small plot of land bounded by a wall. The door to the enclosure is locked but i was able to access the enclosure by climbing over the wall.

3.      DAI ANGA'S TOMB:-

Zeb-un-Nisa (d. 1672), or Dai Anga ('wet-nurse' in Urdu), was the wet-nurse of Shah Jahan, and the wife of a courtier under Jahangir. A few paces distant from the Gulabi Bagh gateway, on the north, lies her splendid mausoleum.

This rather ponderous, square brick structure sporting few apertures and presenting a solid face to the garden, was built to house the mortal remains of DaiAnga, Shah Jahan's wet nurse and of her daughter Shahzadi Sultan Begam, whose husband built the Gulabi Bagh Gateway. It is the same Dai Anga (wife of Mughal magistrate of Bikaneer), who built the spectacular mosque named after her, situated in Naulakha area of Central Lahore, in which also tile mosaic decoration is employed with wondrous effect.

Traversing the intervening stretch of corridor-like space since the surrounding garden area has been occupied by various railway structures—you arrive at the rather squat-looking tomb placed on a raised plinth. The mausoleum is dominated by a low-pitched dome placed on a high neck or drum, while its corners are accented through the employment of four square pavilion-like kiosks, carrying projecting chajjas (eaves) and cupolas.

Although shorn of most of its ornamentation, the original kashi kari (tile mosaic) can be noticed on the parapet, which points towards the quality and kind of tile mosaic that in all likelihood once covered the entire facade.

The mausoleum comprises a central tomb chamber with eight rooms around it. Internally, the surface was embellished with fine fresco, portions of which are extant in the squinches above the projecting, beehive-like decorative muqarnas, along with a starlet dome treatment. The base of the squinches is encircled with inscriptional panels from the Holy Quran, rendered in elegant calligraphy by Muhammad Saleh. Inscriptions at the site, reveal that the mausoleum was constructed in 1671.

The central sepulchral chamber and surrounding rooms are built upon a raised plinth consisting of subterranean chambers, in which the burials took place. There are two graves, one of Dai Anga and the other of her daughter Sultana Begum. Today, the original cenotaphs made of marble are no longer in existence, and the underground chambers are also inaccessible.

4.      BHOOTWALA TOMB/Tomb of Nawab Zakirya Khan

This tomb is in very bad condition, it is located near to Zakirya khan Mosque and his Mehal for his Queens. The eastern side of University of Engineering and Technology was built by Nawab Zakariya Khan, governor of Lahore. No history could found about this tomb so I myself presume this tomb may be of some noble person from his family or maybe it is tomb of Nawab Zakirya himself.


The high dome of the shrine of Khawaja Mehmud alias Hazrat Eshan is located to the west of Begampura and north of the University of Engineering the Technology. Khawaja Mehmud was a native of Bukhara. At age 20, he ventured out of his town after receiving his education in the royal college and becoming a renowned scholar at such a young age. On the way, he made thousands of disciples in Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar. He came to Kashmir in Akbar's time from where Jahangir took him to Agra. In Shah Jahan's time, he made Lahore his residence. He laid out his mausoleum in his own life time and upon his death in 1642 was buried here. Wazir Khan, governor of Lahore under Shah Jahan, held him in high esteem and would spend from his own wealth for the upkeep of the saint's shrine. During the viceroyalty of Nawab Zakariya Khan, who lived at Begampura, the mausoleum was at the height of its popularity.

The octagonal building of the tomb is surmounted by a high dome. The entrance is from the west and stairs provide access to the top of the building. Inside the tomb, in the center, there is a large platform upon which is the grave of Khawaja Mehmud. Another grave in the northeast belongs to Baha-ud-Din, son of Khawaja Mehmud.

West of the mausoleum is a beautiful mosque topped by three domes. The central dome being larger. The mosque is of the same vintage as the tomb, however, it has been much renovated of late. During the reign of Ranjit Singh, General Gulab Singh established his cantonment near the mausoleum and knocked down the surrounding walls of the tomb enclosure. He filled the mausoleum with magazine and removed its marble. Brick-sellers stole the bricks from the courtyard of the mosque and even the graves themselves.

At the advent of British rule, the mausoleum was cleared and buildings of the tomb and the adjoining mosque repaired. Currently, the tomb is white washed from the outside and so is the mosque. However, on the inside of the tomb, one can still see the beautiful fresco paintings of floral and geometric designs


This site is located hardly thirty meters from Nawab Zakirya mosque and Mehal, The tall multifold arch is occupied by some local resident. Further to this arch a floor constructed of mugal era brick is still present. Due to the neglect of the responsible authorities and is in dire need of preservation and conservation. At the present time, it is occupied and used as a dwelling, in utmost disregard for its historical importance


Cypress Tomb (Saruwala Maqbara) is in close vicinity of the Gulabi Bagh and lies directly in the north of Dai Anga's tomb, it is not accessible from there due to the various buildings that have been constructed in the area. No doubt, at one time the gardens of these sepulchers were inter-connected.

To visit the unusual monument of Cypress Tomb, you will have to take a left turn on Begampura Road going east on G.T. Road. Turning right (east) through a locality known as Sharif Park and turning left again (north) you will reach your destination. The tomb, however, is not directly visible, because of the houses that surround the monument. But once the location is pointed out and as you turn left, you will not have any difficulty in locating it since it is only slightly set back from the road, and is accessible by car.

The tomb of Sharf-un-Nisa Begam is popularly known as 'Saruwala' Maqbara because of images of cypress trees rendered in square ceramic tiles, rather than the tile mosaic seen in Gulabi Bagh Gateway, as a decorative feature. The begam was a sister of Nawab Zakariya Khan, governor of Lahore during the reign of Emperor Mohammad Shah.

The tomb was the last worth nothing building of the later Mughal Period constructed at Lahore in 1745. The tower-like form, sporting slightly battered walls, is unique in itself. The tomb for its unusual shape and facade decoration of cypress motif is considered to be the jewel of Mughal architecture at Lahore.

The building was constructed to cater to Sharf-un-Nisa Begam's requirement of daily visits to the first floor chamber, 16' above the ground. There, after reading the Holy Quran she would deposit the holy book as well as her jeweled sword, descending by means of a removable wooden ladder. After her death she was buried in the same chamber, along with a copy of the holy book and her jeweled sword. Respecting her wishes to keep her mortal remains out of sight and inaccessible, all openings were blocked up, providing a blank appearance in the battered walls on all four sides.

Due to the desecration carried out on this 18th century tomb during the Sikh rule—it was believed that the tower contained treasure, and breaking open the tomb, the holy book and jeweled sword were removed—decorative features are extant only in the upper part of this two-storey structure.

Square in plan, the tomb is a solid, tower-like tapering brick structure with chajja near the top of the dome. The chamber is covered by a single dome of a four-sided pyramidal shape. The drum has a low neck. A band of color glazed tiles runs around the neck of the dome. It is embellished with the attributes of Allah in superb calligraphy. The burial chamber can only be approached by the use of a moveable ladder. The idea behind such structure is that even the grave of the purdah observing lady should be kept out of the view of public. The low pitched four-sided pyramidal dome, over a double drum, is a unique feature of this tomb. The dome is covered with glazed tiles in blue and white colors finished in zig-zag patterns. The projecting chajja (eaves), and a pyramidal low roof, similar to one seen in the tomb of Hazrat Mian Mir provides a fitting termination.

The exterior of the tomb is embellished with colorful cypress trees. These cypresses, four on each side, are intercepted by little blooming flower plants, all in enamelled square tile mosaic work on the plaster base. The tomb was surrounded by a large garden at the time of its construction, however; now it is hemmed in by houses, leaving a small garden which is used by the local youth to play cricket, as is the case in many of the remaining tomb gardens.


This mosque, on the eastern side of University of Engineering and Technology, was built by Nawab Zakariya Khan, governor of Lahore, in the name of his mother. It is locally known as Begam Shahi Mosque (also the appellation for Maryam Zamani Mosque outside the fort). In government records it is known as “the mosque with glazed tile work at Begampura”.

The harmonious mosque of Begampura with a bangladar roof and green glazed tiles painted with elegant floral designs is a unique monument of the late Mughal period at Lahore. The mosque has a double aiwan, which is its most unique feature among other mosques of Lahore. The original surviving part of the mosque is its prayer chamber having five arched openings in the front. It is an oblong structure measuring 70 feet 8 inches by 41 feet 6 inches and having two long bays, divided by means of wide arches into four inter-communicating compartments, two side rooms and a central chamber. The ceiling of these compartments is created by means of vaultings, the façade of the central compartment has been given the shape of a concave curvilinear with a rib in the centre. The three arched openings on the north and south sides, now blocked, originally opened in the courtyard. Inside the chamber, the Qibla wall has five niches. Instead of the usual central niche being larger, the two adjoining niches on either side are bigger in size instead, which is the most unusual feature of this mosque. On the east of the aiwan, lies a large courtyard of considerable dimensions.

Of the surface ornamentations, the revetment consisting of square glazed tiles of yellow colour is prominent. The façade of the prayer chamber has inscriptions in glazed tiles having the Kalima and a Quranic verse.


This crumbling tomb is located northeast of Chilla of Shah Badr Diwan and about four hundred meters west of Mian Khan's Tomb. The circular dome is supported by building of octagonal form. The dome itself is now blackened with age but in the spandrels above the arches, traces of glazed pottery work still exist. The chajja is supported by corbels, six on each side. The octagonal building originally stood on a raised platform, of which traces can still be seen. Beneath the platform was an underground chamber in which were interred the remains of the personage in whose honour the edifice was raised. His name cannot be ascertained but according to Latif, the dome was called Rasul Shahyun ka Maqbara (tomb) by the people of the area because of the followers of the "Shahyun sect" having located themselves there during the time of the Sikhs.


This well preserved baradari is located at Shiwala Chowk in Singhpura area of Bhogiwal. According to Kanhaiya Lal's Tarikh-e-Lahore written in 1884, it is the same baradari that houses Mian Khan's grave. Nawab Mian Khan was the son of Nawab Saadullah Khan who was the Prime Minister of Lahore under Shah Jahan.

Main Khan died in 1671 during the reign of Aurangzeb and was buried inside this baradari. Since he hailed from Chiniot in Punjab, and Chiniot being famous for having black stone, he used the same black stone in all of his constructions. At the time of its construction, hundreds of thousands of rupees were spent on this tomb. During the time of Sikh triumvirate in Lahore, this tomb and its garden became desolate. The marble and other precious stone were removed and bricks were stolen by brick sellers. For some time, the tomb structures came under possession of Sheikh Imam-ud-Din who removed a large number of black stone slabs from the main podium on which the baradari stands and used them in his haveli. By the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the structure was in ruins but had still retained some beauty. Having found it without an owner, Raja Suchet Singh occupied it, repaired the surrounding walls, and planted a garden in its grounds. During his life-time, the place was known as Raja Suchet Singh's Bagh. During the British rule, it was put on auction and was bought by Nawab Ali Raza Khan Qazilbaksh for 2200 rupees.


This Baradari structure located near China Scheeme. Near to this, few years back I have seen a room constructed of mughal era bricks, unfortunately, it is demolished.  From Brick Work it looks like century old building constructed in British era.


The historical Sher Singh's Baradari is located in the east of China scheme at Kot Khawaja Saeed. Maharaja Sher Singh was born in 1805 in Gujranwala into a Sikh family of Sukerchakia misldars. At the time, much of the Punjab was ruled by the Sikhs under a confederate Sarbat Khalsa system and Afghans, who had divided the territory among factions known as misls. Sher Singh's father Ranjit Singh was the first Maharaja of the Punjab. He succeeded his father at the young age of 12.

After several campaigns, his rivals accepted him as their leader, and he united the Sikh factions into one large country. Sher Singh was known as a person who did good works for the betterment of his people. He ruled for two and a half years only but is remembered for improving the existing system of governance. Sher Singh and his young son were brutally murdered by the Sardaran-e-Sindha Walia. After his death Rani Randhawi Singh and her family constructed their Samadhis near this baradari.

The arches are also in very bad shape and may collapse any time. The Auqaf department which is responsible for its maintenance, has constructed two pillars to save the baradari from collapsing.

The roof of the building has been demolished and its debris lies as such. The boundary wall is already gone. It is becoming a garbage dumping ground as the locals of the area throw garbage inside the baradari.

There is also a shrine of famous Sufi Saint Allama Mirza Syed Shah Bilawal Qadri in the premises of the baradari which used to host a Muslim festival in Lahore. The baradari is also know as Baradari of Shah Bilawal. Writers like Kannahiya Lal Hindi and Justice Abdul Latif have mentioned this festival in detail in their researches. This festival used to take place in the month of December.

The Samadhi of Sher Singh, located on the premises lies in complete ruins as the domed structure appears to have been cut in half. The baradari itself is fast turning into a garbage dump as the Solid Waste Management department has constructed a waste enclosure here after demolishing one corner of the Baradari.


This decaying edifice, also known as Khawaja Saeed's Daughter's Tomb, is located to the east of Prince Pervez's tomb in the locality of Kot Khawaja Saeed. As a contemporary to Prince Pervez's tomb, this tomb is unique for its raised platform (similar to Cypress Tomb) upon which sits a quadrangular building surmounted by a dome. Not much is known about the personage buried within. Locals refer to it as "Mai Dai ka Gumbad (dome)", however; historian Latif refers to this monument as the tomb of Khawaja Saeed's Daughter. Khawaja Saeed, after whom the area is named, was a Mahavat (Elephant Driver) of Prince Pervez. 

Quadrangular in plan, the tomb stands on a raised platform. The drum on the chamber is raised by means of niches, topped by two shells of the dome in different shapes. The inner shell is hemispherical and slightly pointed while the outer shell is eight sided and elliptical in construction. The eight sided dome is the only example of its type at Lahore. Its origin can be traced to Sultan Ghari’s tomb built by Sultan Iltutmish at Delhi in 1231.

The corners of the roof are decorated with four small minarets surmounted by small ornamental domes. The contour of the outer dome is slightly bigger than the octagonal drum. A deep crack has appeared on the outer shell showing the cavity between the two shells. On the top of the dome, a lotus base is still retained for pinnacle which has been lost to time. Its architectural features suggest that it must have been constructed in the early reign of Shah Jahan and derived inspiration from the tomb of Prince Pervez which is not far from it in terms of both time and distance. On each side of the walls supporting the dome, were latticed work of red sand-stone, which are no longer extant.

Regretfully, this important and unique monument of the Mughal period has suffered extensively due to the neglect of the responsible authorities and is in dire need of preservation and conservation. At the present time, it is occupied and used as a dwelling, in utmost disregard for its historical importance.


This massive tomb stands in the locality of Kot Khwaja Saeed and is generally attributed to Prince Pervez, son of Emperor Jahangir. According to Kanhaiya Lal, Prince Pervez was buried in this tomb after he was slaughtered by the order of Asaf Khan, when he returned from Kashmir. However, this view is incorrect as Prince Pervez died at Burhanpur in his 37th year on October 28, 1625, from where his body was brought to Agra and buried in his garden there. Some accounts also attribute this tomb to Dara Shaikoh but Dara Shaikoh is reported to have been assassinated at Delhi and buried there in the complex of Humayun's tomb. According to Abdullah Chughtai, the area of the tomb was originally a garden owned by Prince Pervez and the surrounding area was known as Mandi Pervezabad. After the death of Prince Pervez, the garden was transferred to his daughter, Nadira Begum, wife of Prince Dara Shaikoh. According to Chughtai, Merh Shaikoh, son of Dara Shaikoh lies buried in this tomb; however, this statement has not been historically proven.

According to Latif, it was the burial place of Pervez's two sons who were murdered at Lahore along with other princes of royal blood, by the order of their uncle Shah Jahan, on his accession to the throne. Latif also does not provide any contemporary source for his information. Whosoever is buried there, it is apparent that he was a royal personality as the tomb has been built befitting to a royal status.

Details of the construction of the tomb are not known. However, some writers of the 19th century had made some reference to its history and architecture. Chishti wrote in 1864 that "originally, the tomb was wholly in white marble and its eight openings were furnished with marble door frames, but Maharaja Ranjit Singh removed all the marble to use it in the Darbar Sahib at Amritsar." Kanhaiya Lal, writing in 1884, records that "the tomb originally was in marble, including its floor. All its four sides had magnificent gates. Maharaja Ranjit Singh removed its marble and got it repaired in brick. The brick repairs done by Ranjit Singh had also decayed by his time, and the tomb was in a very bad condition of preservation and was then repaired by the British Government."

Latif described the tomb in 1892 as standing eminently in the midst of cultivated fields on a circular platform resting on another platform of octagonal base, of the height of a man. The dome rose gracefully from an octagonal platform duly supported by arches.

Muhammad-ud-Din Fauq visited the tomb in 1923 and according to him, "the tomb was octagonal in shape and the grave was set inside. The white marble Taweez (sarcophagus) was missing. To approach the grave, on the east, north, and south of the platform, there were two sets of stairs flight to the platforms, seven and five in numbers respectively. The platform was five feet high from the ground level. In front of the stairs, on the north, the floor of the terrace was badly in wreck. The ground around the platform was in depression. The traces of a canal were visible which led to the garden of Sardar Teja Singh.

Octagonal on plan with the inner diameter of 22 feet 2 inches and outer diameter of 31 feet 4 inches (wall thickness of 4 feet 7 inches), the tomb stands on double platform. The lower platform measures 95 feet 6 inches in length and the upper 66 feet 6 inches. Around the lower tier of the platform there are remains of kankar lime terrace about 3 to 4 inches thick. Modern houses have encroached over the whole area and on the west they even touch the structure of the lower platform. Kanhaiya Lal had mentioned that there were magnificent gates on all four sides of the tomb. Perhaps these gates were at the extremity of the terrace which might have been the base of the geometrical pattern brick pavement in hexagonal and octagonal forms, whose sufficient remains still exist on the lower and upper tiers of the platform. The structure of the tomb is built in small Lahori bricks of the size of 8 inches by 5¼ inches by 1 inch – a size of Shah Jahan’s period. The interior of the tomb was once decorated with the usual fresco work whose traces are still extant here and there. At the top of the platform, a terracotta frieze in two tiers in the form of a leaf design has been applied by the way of decoration. Such a terracotta decoration on a Mughal monument at Lahore is seldom met and is, therefore, rare. The dome appears to be single storey, but the measurement of height of the soffit in the interior and at the outer apex there is a difference of some 14 feet. From this, it can be inferred that actually it is a double dome, but the usual small opening which is provided between the two domes has not been kept for some reason or maybe it was blocked some time later. The tomb has a high neck like that of Ali Mardan Khan's tomb with which it has some similarity in expression. The possible date of its construction falls in the fourth decade of the 17th century – from 1630 to 1640.

The tomb is in a lamentable state of neglect. Its arches which take the load of the heavy dome are broken, and the structure is in danger of a sudden collapse. Most of the pavement on the interior and of the platforms has disappeared. The stairs to the platforms are mostly dilapidated and there is wild growth all over the dome itself which allows leakage of rain water to the core. Currently, the tomb is almost hemmed in by modern houses.


Mir Niamat Khan's Tomb is situated to the south of Bhogiwal and north of G.T. (Grand Trunk) road, in the locality of Babghbanpura. Hemmed in by the surrounding houses, it is a handsome quadrangular tomb, surmounted by a dome of beautiful glazed pottery work, supported by arches. The arches stand of pillars of solid masonry. The tomb originally sat atop a quadrangular platform, which is no longer extant. Beneath the dome are four graves, the larger central one being that of Mir Niamat Khan. There used to be a garden surrounding the building which was already gone by the time Latif wrote his account in the late 1800s.
Niamat Khan was the commander of artillery in the time of Shah Jahan. South of the tomb is a large mosque with three domes and three arches. It was built by Mir Niamat Khan. The mosque exists to this day, however, has now been separated from the tomb of its builder by the dense growth of houses in the area.


The once lofty brick-kiln of Buddhu was situated just south of GT road opposite the present day University of Engineering and Technology. There is also a tomb in the area erroneously ascribed to Buddhu but which in actuality contains the graves of Khan-e-Dauran Nusrat Jang and his wife.

Buddhu, son of Suddhu, was a potter during the time of Shah Jehan. Suddhu, who flourished in the time of Jahangir, constructed a number of kilns, in the vicinity of Lahore, to supply burnt bricks for the royal edifices, as well as the palaces of the nobles at Lahore. It is said that the fire in the kiln, known after the name of Buddhu, was extinguished as a consequence of the curse of a faqir, named Abdul Haq, a disciple of Mian Mir. Abdul Haq was turned away by Buddhu's servants on a cold rainy day when he came to the kiln to warm himself. The faqir cursed Buddhu and his kiln remained unserviceable ever after. During the reign of Ranjit Singh, General Avitable, the French Officer in his army, built a beautiful summer-house on top of the kiln but no trace of it exists now.

Buddhu's main brick-kiln likely no longer survives, although I have not scoured that area personally but at least one of the other kilns built nearby still survives to this day. This kiln is located close to the tomb of Ali Mardan Khan on the east side of Walton Road. One can still see the rows of burnt bricks that were never removed.


As name suggest these are remains of Nawab Zakariya Mahal, on the eastern side of University of Engineering and Technology, was built by Nawab Zakariya Khan, governor of Lahore.


Ali Mardan Khan was a high official in the Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan. Born into a Kurdish family, he served as governor of Kandahar under Persia's Safavid dynasty, becoming a close confidant of Shah Abbas. After the Shah's death in 1629, he became fearful for his life as the Shah's successor Shah Safi (Sam Mirza) purged courtiers that had been loyal to his grandfather. In 1637, Ali Mardan Khan offered to surrender Kandahar to the Mughal Empire in exchange for his safety. Shah Jahan agreed to the offer, probably with some enthusiam as Kandahar had been under the control of the Mughals during the reign of Jahangir, Shah Jahan's father.
As a Mughal officer, Ali Mardan Khan provided guidance on canal instruction, especially in regard to the Shah Nahar canal of Shalimar Gardens. When he died in 1657, he was buried adjacent to his mother in the tomb prepared for her next to the canal at Mughalpura. Originally, the tomb sat amidst a large garden, but today only the large gateway survives.
As the tomb sits within the confines of a modern-day rail yard, the authorities have built a kilometer long passageway from the street to the tomb in an effort to prevent visitors from trespassing on the rail yard grounds.


On the south of G.T. Road, opposite the University of Engineering and Technology, lies a dilapidated tomb known as 'Buddhu ka Maqbara'. The tomb had an arched gallery and stood in an enclosed garden with a gateway, of which no sign remains. The tomb stands on a platform of masonry, the building itself being of quadrangular form, with an arched entrance on each side.
Constructed with massive brick masonry, each side of this square building is punctured with a central peshtaq opening flanked by two slightly recessed arched panels. The zone of transition of the square chamber to the hemispherical roof is expressed above the chamber in an octagonal drum, on which a dome on a high neck is placed, resulting in a somewhat overpowering gunbud (dome). Glazed tiles in blue and yellow decorated the roof of the lofty building. Signs of floral desgins in mosaic can still be seen on some of the yellow tiles. Blue glazed tiles in chevrons can also be seen on the apex of the dome. The arches are decorated with paintings of different colors, but only faint traces of these decorations are now visible.

Traditionally, the structure is attributed to Buddhu, a potter belonging to Shah Jahan's reign. Buddhu's father Suddhu is said to have had a flourishing kiln trade during the reign of Jahangir, supplying bricks for all the important structures and palaces built by the imperial family and grandees of the court. However, the kiln was made unserviceable and its fire extinguished for ever, when a holy man named Abdul Haq, a disciple of Hazrat Mian Mir, was turned away on a wintry, rainy night from the warmth of the kiln fire.

Later researches point towards the structure being the tomb of the wife of Khan-e-Dauran Bahadur Nusrat Jan, an amir or grandee of the Mughal court. Khan-e-Dauran himself is also reputed to have been buried here on his death in 1643. At his death, he held the rank of 7000 personnel and 7000 horses. As is the case of other similar structures, the tomb is likely to have been set amidst a large garden.

During the Sikh rule, the area was occupied by the summer house of General Avitabile, the French general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, although no evidence of this has survived. The sepulcher was a centre of activities during the inter-Sikh wars, when Maharaja Sher Singh and Raja Hira Singh in turn collected Khalsa (Sikh) troops here with the intention of laying siege to Lahore.


Chilla of Shah Badr Dewan is located to the north of Shrine of Khawaja Mehmud and exactly northwest of Begampura. This is the place where the saint passed forty days of seclusion and meditation during his stay in Lahore.
The imposing edifice stands in the centre of a walled enclosure on a platform of the height of 3 feet. It is a quadrangular building surmounted by a high neck dome of green color. The entrance to the building is from stairs to the south and the walls of the remaining three sides are perforated by latticed work of red sandstone which has now been ruthlessly whitewashed. The structure was originally decorated with beautiful glazed pottery work, of blue and yellow color, to the height of three feet from ground all around. Traces of the pottery work are still extant in some areas. To the north is a small tower, decorated with pottery work and intended as a place for a lamp.
The final resting place of Shah Badr Dewan is in the village of Masanian in Batala, India. The saint's real name was Syed Hasan Badr-ud-din Gilani (Baghdadi) but he was betterknown as Baba Shah Badr Dewan. He is a descendant of Ghaus-ul-Azam Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani. He was born in Baghdad in 861 AH. He left Baghdad in 904 AH and came to Lahore where he stayed for several years. From Lahore, he moved to village Masanian (3 miles east of Batala, India) where he passed away in 978 AH.


The Kos Minars are the milestones made by the Mughal emperors between 1556 to 1707 AD. "Kos" literally means a medieval measurement of distance denoting approximately 3 km and "Minar" is a Persian word for tower. This Kos Minar in Lahore is located in close proximity to Ali Mardan Khan's Tomb and probably lined the original G.T. Road, a few hundred meters north of it.


The construction of gardens on a large scale began with the coming of Emperor Akbar to power, and particularly between 1584-98 when he made Lahore the capital of his empire.

He reconstructed the fort and fortified the city with a double defensive wall. All important nobles of the Mughal empire, serving in whatever region, built pleasure gardens and fruit gardens in all directions, in particular along major roads connecting Lahore with Delhi in the east, Multan road in the southeast, and Grand Trunk Road in the west. During Shah Jahan's time, the areas in between were filled with a variety of gardens.  Few gardens existed along this route before Shah Jahan's time, but with the construction of the canal and Shalamar Garden, the interest in this area increased. The fragments of some Mughal period gardens still survive. These include: Gulabi Bagh, Bagh-i Eeshan, Pervaiz Bagh, Bagh Mahabat Khan, Anguri Bagh, Bagh Fateh Garh, the Bagh around the tomb of Nadira Begum, Bagh Abul Hasan, Bagh Ali Mardan Khan, and Bagh Mulla Shah.

The current site which I am refereeing was part of Angoori garden now only ruined are left people occupied and construct residence along with them.


After Napoleon’s defeat in Waterloo, many of the mercenaries left for Persia and India to test their fortunes. General Avitabile was one of them. Born in 1791 at Agerola, Italy, his full name was Paolo Bartolomeo Avitabile. The young Avitabile started his career in the Army of Naples and was known as a brave fighter however after a while he got frustrated of infightings and left for Persia looking for a career.
In 1820, Avitabile took service in Persian Army under King Fateh Ali Shah. He remained in this position for almost six years and was awarded Persia’s highest decorations including ‘The Lion and Sun’. However on the insistence of General Jean-Baptiste Ventura, Avitabile along with another European officer Claude August Court, ventured further East ending in the Darbar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1827. Maharaja had already established ‘Fauj-i-Khas’ under General Ventura and was actively recruiting European officers to train his elite force against a possible threat from British East India Company. Though Avitabile was a military officer, Maharaja apparently sensing the administrative skills in Avitabile, appointed him Governor of Wazirabad.
General Avitabile ruled Wazirabad for some seven years with firm hand and soon had the reputation of a just and firm administrator. Peshawar had always been a source of trouble for the Maharaja so due to his firm repute, Avitabile was made Governor of Peshawar in 1834. He took residence at the ancient ‘Gor Khutree’ citadel. The rule of ‘Gallows and gibbets’ continued for almost a decade with miscreants being thrown off from the minarets of Masjid Mahabat Khan. The 1842 service digest of 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment mentions ‘At each corner of the city there was a large gallows on which malefactors were hanging’. In the words of Henry Lawrence, ‘ he acts like a savage among savage men, instead of showing them that a Christian can wield the iron sceptre without staining it by needless cruelty’. His ruthlessness was criticized by Europeans however the locals loved it as it brought peace to the area. The folklore remembers Avitabile as Abu Tabela and even today the children are warned to behave otherwise Abu Tabela may come to teach them a lesson. Perhaps we are again in need of Abu Tabela to bring peace to whole of our North Western Province.
During the first Anglo Afghan War (1839-42), General Avitabile fully supported the British with logistics as well as money. However by 1843, he was tired and so he retired and left for Naples with a fortune and honors. He built a grand home, married a twelve year old Italian girl and later died in 1850 under mysterious circumstances, apparently poisoned by his wife. General Avitabile lies buried in Campora, a small town in Southern Italy.
Lahore remembers this Italian cum French General in the shape of a small insignificant monument which points to the location where once Avitabile had a house. The monument is situated on the GT Road opposite University of Engineering and Technology just next to the tomb of ‘Buddhu ka Awa’. The monument is already in a very dilapidated state surrounded by auto workshops. Soon this insignificant monument shall also be no more but probably this is the way we have always treated our heritage.


As elaborated above the whole area of Shalimar and Begumpura in past occupied with numbers of gardens and there was a water supply system consisting of water tanks and canals also present for watering. One of remains of water tank left in front of Shalimar Garden main gate. Major part of structure was demolished to widen the Grand Trunk road. Once front wall of structure was covered with tiles and other painting works. But now it is all converted in ruined.