The Walled City of Lahore Authority (Urdu: مقتدرہ اندرون شہر لاہور) is a semi-governmental organisation in Lahore, Pakistan, established and funded by the Government of Punjab for the conservation, planning and development, regulation and management of the Walled City of Lahore.

The organisation works autonomously and was established in 2012 after Provincial Assembly of the Punjab amended the Walled City of Lahore Bill 2011 to create the authority. It looks after the heritage sites in the area and specifies penalties for damaging buildings and runs the functions of the Old City of Lahore.The authority also helps promote cultural activities and tourism in Lahore.


In the heart of Lahore, the Shalimar Gardens stand as a testament to the grandeur of Mughal architecture and the exquisite artistry of Islamic garden design. Erected in 1641 under the patronage of Emperor Shah Jahan, these gardens embody the zenith of Mughal landscape aesthetics, offering a serene retreat from the contemporary world. This garden occupies some 80 acres of land and was completed at a cost of rupees six hundred thousand. Khalilullah Khan, Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni took charge of the project. In 1981, the Shalimar Gardens were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“The inspiration behind Shalimar gardens”

The Shalimar Gardens in Lahore were inspired by the Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir, which had been built by Jahangir, Shah Jahan's father, in 1620. Shah Jahan desired a similar garden that was to be used exclusively by his family and court men. The gardens were constructed in 1641-and are laid out in the form of a rectangle aligned along a north-south axis.

“A Harmonious Symphony of Nature and Design”

As you step into the Shalimar Gardens, prepare to be enchanted by the symmetrical precision of its layout – a stunning display of the Mughal love for harmony and order. Spanning over forty acres of land, the gardens are divided into three descending terraces, each symbolising a different aspect of the cosmic world.

The Upper Terrace

'Farah Baksh' (Bestower of Pleasure) Behold the top level, originally reserved for the royal family. Here, the grand marble pavilion offers a panoramic view of the entire garden, perfectly capturing the essence of regal leisure.

“The Middle Terrace”

'Faiz Baksh' (Bestower of Goodness) Experience the heart of the garden, adorned with a splendid array of fountains and centrally located water pools that reflect the azure Lahore sky, creating a mesmerising effect.

“The Lower Terrace”

The Lower Terrace!

'Hayat Baksh' (Bestower of Life) Immerse yourself in the bustling energy of the lower terrace, where once flowed water cascades and life thrived in its most exuberant forms. This area resonates with the vibrancy of nature and life.

“Concept of Paradise ”

“The garden's layout is a manifestation of the Mughal concept of paradise gardens, symbolizing the idea of an earthly representation of heaven. It was designed with meticulous attention to detail and the use of natural elements such as water and greenery to create a serene and picturesque environment.”

“A Fusion of Flora and Architectural Marvels ”

The Shalimar Gardens are not just about meticulous landscaping but also about the intricate balance of flora and architectural marvels. Lined with a variety of fruit-bearing trees and flowers, the gardens are a haven for botany enthusiasts and a sanctuary for those seeking tranquillity. There are numerous trees like almond, almond, apple, cherry, gokcha, mango, mulberry, peach, plum, quince (seedless) in the Shalimar Gardens.

“UNESCO World Heritage Site ”

Shalimar Bagh is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered a prime example of Mughal garden design and architecture. It has historical and cultural significance, attracting tourists and visitors from around the world who come to admire its beauty and learn about the history of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent.

Significant Features and Elements of Shalimar Gardens

The Shalimar Gardens boast a collection of impressive structures and elements, each contributing to its historical and architectural importance. Key features and aspects within Shalimar Bagh include

Sawan Bhadoun

The Sawan Bhadoun pavilion is a renowned feature of the Faiz Bakhsh terrace, which is the middle terrace of Shalimar Gardens. Created as a place of royal repose, these gardens functioned as the Emperor's abode during his visits to Lahore. Here, intricately designed alcoves were fashioned for the placement of oil lamps. These lamps, set before flowing fountain waters, create a captivating spectacle.

Hammam (Royal Bath)

The royal bath, integral to the garden's layout, showcases a traditional Mughal bathhouse situated on the second terrace. It comprises multiple rooms, each with bathing pools and fountains, epitomising the lavish living standards of the Mughal rulers.

Aiwan (Hall)

The Aiwan, an arcade-style building, is centrally positioned on the northern edge of the first terrace. It overlooks the grand marble cascades and the two lower terraces. This hall features three cusped arched openings on its longer sides and two on the other sides. Its lower sections are adorned with marble, while the original walls were embellished with paneling and fresco work. The current ceiling dates back to the Sikh era, around 1838 AD. The Aiwan served as a venue for royal events and ceremonies and continues to be used for state receptions. Kanahaya Lal, in his book, notes that Ranjit Singh removed its marble slabs, including the marble screens (jali), and transported them to the Golden Temple in Amritsar for repurposing.

Aramgah or the Emperor's Resting Place

Located at the southern end of the central canal on the first terrace, the Aramgah features a marble dado. Its spacious central room houses a cup-shaped marble basin with a fountain. This room is accompanied by two smaller side chambers. The structure is fronted by an Aiwan, with arched openings facing north, east, and west. In approximately 1850 AD, due to the realignment of the Grand Trunk Road, the Aramgah was transformed into the main entrance. During the Sikh era, its original marble was replaced with red sandstone/lime terracing. Consequently, in the 1970s, restoration efforts led to the entire floor being relaid in marble, reinstating the original design.

Baradari (Twelve-Door Pavilion)

One of the standout features of Shalimar Bagh is the Baradari, an airy pavilion with twelve doors, situated on the central terrace. Encircled by a pool and fountains, it enhances the garden's visual charm.

Flower Beds

The garden's design incorporates meticulously arranged terraced levels, each boasting flower beds filled with an array of vibrant flowers. These terraces offer a visually pleasing experience and add significantly to the garden's overall beauty.

Water Channels and Fountains

A hallmark of Shalimar Gardens is its elaborate water network. The layout centers around a main axis, with terraces cascading down. Water channels meander across these levels, producing calming sounds and bringing a refreshing ambiance. These channels, often marble-lined, feature fountains that augment the gardens' aesthetic allure. A canal named Shah Nahar, also known as Hansti canal, was constructed from a distant location to irrigate the Shalimar Gardens. As many as 410 fountains rise from this basin and the canal. The upper-level terrace contains 105 fountains, the middle level terrace has 152 fountains, while the lower level terrace includes 153 fountains

Reflecting Pools

Central to the garden's axis are elongated rectangular pools, known as reflecting pools. They mirror the verdant surroundings and pavilions, creating an enchanting visual effect. The reflections of the pavilions and structures in the tranquil water enhance the garden's majestic appearance.

Terraced Pavilions and Gateways

Shalimar Bagh showcases a sequence of terraces, interlinked by ramps and stairs. Each terrace is adorned with pavilions, gateways, and edifices, enhancing the garden's visual and architectural charm. These structures exemplify Mughal architectural finesse, with their detailed craftsmanship, symmetry, and seamless blend with nature. Shalimar Bagh is a testament to the Mughal emperors' penchant for beauty, harmoniously fusing natural and architectural elements.

Dehli Darwaza (دہلی دروازہ)

Located to the east of the Shalimar Garden at the Hayat Bakhsh level, this gate is known as the Dehli Darwaza. It is so named because it faces towards the city of Delhi.

Lahori Darwaza (لاہوری دروازہ)

On the opposite side of the garden from the Dehli Darwaza, there is another gate to the west called the Lahori Darwaza. This gate is named for its orientation towards the city of Lahore.

Naqqar Khana (نقار خانہ)

The building situated on the upper terrace to the east, now referred to as Naqqar Khana, was previously known as Jharoka-e-Daulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Aam (the balcony for royal and public audiences). To the west of this was the residence of the Empress.

Khawabgah of Queen (خواب گاہ ملکہ)

At the highest terrace, to the east of Naqqar Khana, is the building known as the Queen's Khawabgah. This structure served as a resting place for the Queen or princesses of the Royal family, who visited to enjoy the picturesque beauty of Shalimar Garden.

PWCHAA at the Shalimar Gardens

The government of Punjab, in 2023 June, handed over the Shalimar Gardens to the Punjab Walled Cities and Heritage Areas Authority. This Authority is now looking after all the administration and management of these Gardens. Regular cultural events, exhibitions, and guided tours are available, providing insights into the rich history and heritage of the Mughal era.

Facilities at Shalimar Gardens

1. Parking
2. Tourist Guides
3. Electric Golf Carts
4. Photography with instant printing
5. Canteen / Café area
6. Souvenir Shops
7. Washrooms

"Plan your visit now!"

Plan Your Visit Open throughout the year, the Shalimar Gardens invite you to experience the grandeur of Mughal legacy. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or simply in search of peace, these gardens offer something for everyone. Refreshments and souvenir shops are available on site to enhance your experience. Join us in celebrating the enduring beauty and historical significance of Lahore's most treasured jewel – the Shalimar Gardens.

Nearby Attractions

Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Budu Ka Awa, Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan & Tomb of Khan-e-Jahan Zafar Jang Kokaltash.

“The original hypocaust system was covered with marble and cement in order to use it for offices and other purposes”


In keeping with Persian tradition, the baths were illuminated by sunlight which filtered through several openings in the bath's ceiling which also aided ventilation. Most of the hammam's interior was preserved intact, and several Mughal era frescoes have been preserved. As the façade had few windows, merchant shops were permitted to operate along the hammam's outer walls

Shaikh Ilam-ud-din Ansari

About the builder -- Hakim Il mud Din Ansari

The story of Hakeem Ilm Ud Din Ansari goes like; Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor, was much perturbed with the untreatable disease of his beloved wife Noor Jahan. After meeting several physicians, he was advised to call Hakeem Sheikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari to his court for her treatment. The disease had taken the Emperor and the Queen into much distress. The physician figured out the cause of disease and cured it by making the Queen walk on burning sand. It was actually a cyst under the foot of the Queen that had made her uncomfortable since long. Hakeem Ilm Ud Din Ansari was at once raised to the position of officer of the hospitals when the queen recovered fully. Recovery of the queen was celebrated in Lahore where the Hakeem was highly praised and the queen presented him with her jewellery. The history records that Ilm Ud Din had gained much importance in the Royal Court and in the last days of Jahangir, conspiracies of Noor Jahan had created a gap between Shah Jahan and his father, who imprisoned him, while Wazir Khan was appointed as his physician. Asif Khan, the brother of Noor Jahan and father-in-law of Shah Jahan persuaded Wazir Khan to rescue him from the imprisonment and move to Dakkan. The plan was implemented but they were on their way to reach Dakkan when the news of Jahangir’s death arrived, who was on his way to Kashmir. So on the coronation of Shah Jahan the Hakeem was entitled: Nawab Wazir Khan and was later declared the Governor of Lahore. This is how a Hakeem of Chiniot entered the Royal Court and became the Governor of Lahore during the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s reign. Hakeem Ilm Ud Din also got the cognomen Wazir Khan, a title bestowed to him by Shah Jahan because Wazir Khan remained in friendly terms with him even when he was a prince. He rapidly acquired respectable positions, while in the service of the king. First appointed as the superintendent of his camp- court, then superintendent of the royal kitchen (Mir-i Saman), gradually promoted to the rank of commander and then in 1030/1620 appointed the subedar (Governor) of Lahore. He chose the site for the construction of the Wazir Khan Mosque, which was a central place of Lahore at that time and thus the foundations were laid in 1634/1045.

Some Controversial accounts

Muhammad Latif writes in his book on Lahore that Ali Mardan Khan was appointed viceroy of Lahore and Kashmir in 1631 by Shah Jahan. He also states that Wazir Khan was appointed subedar of Agra, when the emperor returned to Lahore after his second visit to Kashmir, which was in 1632. He further added that in 1634 Wazir Khan died in Agra, because of colic disease. These events do not match with the date of construction of the mosque to Wazir Khan. Also the date written on the main gate is 1045 A.H. that is 1634 A.D. it is also the year of Wazir Khan’s death ascribed by Muhammad Latif. Moreover, the Viceroy of that region at that time, according to this source was Ali Mardan Khan instead of Wazir Khan, which is another controversial issue. If we think it is not possible that during the rule of one Governor the Mosque is constructed and attributed to someone else. So there must be some misconception. Mamoona Khan, in her book Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered writes that another historian, M. Baqir gives somewhat different details about the dates and Wazir Khan. According to him, by 1043/1634 which was the 7th year of Shah Jahan’s imperial position, he decided to come to Lahore. On his way to Lahore the eldest daughter of Dara Shikoh died and Dara himself became ill due to fever. When the imperial physicians failed to cure his ailment, Wazir Khan the then viceroy of Lahore was called in to the court camp on 4th of Shawwal. 1043 A.H. that is April 3rd, 1634 A.D. it is said that he successfully treated the prince who got well. It is also ascribed that Shah Jahan then reached Lahore, being interested in the building work; he took notice of the repair and reconstruction of the royal palaces, entrusting all repair work to the Viceroy Wazir Khan. It seems believable because this account gives strength to Wazir Khan’s governorship of Lahore in 1634, the date inscribed on the mosque.

Credits of Wazir Khan

What Wazir Khan has on his credit is still seen today in Lahore. Being a builder, many outclass buildings in Lahore are built by him. These include Mosques, gardens, hammams (baths), caravanserais, bazaars and Havelis. A town was also established by him near Gujranwala called Wazirabad after his name. In Lahore, inside the Walled City, he built a Haveli inside Shah 'Almi Gate, known as Pari Mahal. He built the Shahi Hammam or the Wazir Khan Hammam inside Delhi Gate, the grand Wazir Khan Mosque, another Mosque near Taxali. He also erected many buildings in his home town Chiniot such as ponds, wells, caravanserais, hospitals and bazaars. He also provided his native city, where he yearned to go, with a fortified wall. All the buildings built by Wazir Khan were extra ordinarily decorated and remains can still be seen today. His masterpieces included the tile mosaic and fresco work. He had spent much of his income on the building of Mosques.

Death of Wazir Khan

It is said that a few months before his death when one day he was entering Agra, while crossing Hathipol his horse stumbled and fell down, Wazir Khan was injured and his condition became serious. The historians state that he wrote his will to give all his property to the Emperor. Though Wazir Khan is not alive today but his love and passion for building and décor is reflected in the Wazir Khan Mosque and the Hammam. These are two high tourist spots and conserved as well by the Walled City of Lahore Authority.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Shalimar Bagh is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered a prime example of Mughal garden design and architecture. It has historical and cultural significance, attracting tourists and visitors from around the world who come to admire its beauty and learn about the history of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent.

Architectural Marvels

Aiwan (Hall)

Araam Gah

Chinese Ambassador

Canadian High Commision

World Bank Delegation

Austrian Delegation

British High Commisioner

Ambassador of Europian

German Ambassador

Pepsi Event

Takiya Mosiqi

US Educational foundation

Shahi Bethak



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