Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Architect Show and Shalimar Gardens

Today was one of my "off"  days. Last night we went to the architect opening of 3rd year students and while I was there, I was able to meet the architect of the Targoli Campus, Mr. Nayyar Ali Dada. He is one of the most famous architects in Pakistan. He was given his name "Dada" by one of his teachers who recognized his ability to draw and paint.  Dada is the name of a 20th century art movement (for my non-art buddies).  Mr. Dada owns the gallery where the show was being held. He has a couple of coffee shops in the gallery (that help support it) and the artists and literati of Lahore meet there. Super nice guy and he took me on my own personal tour.
My friend Salima Hashmi, and her friend, Nayyar Ali Dada

The Dada Gallery.  Nice view looking out.
The gallery show.
Salima kindly arranged for one of her students, Sofia Shahid, to take me to the Shalimar Gardens. The gardens were built in 1641 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan (1592-1666) who ruled for 30 years.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it was pretty amazing.
Sofia Shahid, who was incredibly kind and a lot of fun!

Mughal Brickwork-very thin brick usually arranged in ornate patterns. This type of work was on all the walkways. Some was in better shape than others, but you can see the workmen replacing big sections.

Corner View

I loved the walls around the garden.  Beautiful colors and patterns.

Resting Area.  We met some ladies here who wanted to know where I was from, did I like it in Lahore and gave suggestions for other places to visit.  This was one of my favorite views.  The cone-like shapes in the water are fountains.  They don't turn them on much in the summer, but there are 410 of them.  (I didn't count-someone told me!)

It was pretty hot today and I brought an umbrella (because I was told to do so) but it was either hold the umbrella or take pictures. So, I chucked the umbrella, took pictures and got really  hot, but it was worth it!  Sofia and I had a wonderful conversation and she was so kind.  The garden had large terraced areas so we went to each of them.  My favorite was the middle level known as the Bestower of Goodness.

This is where the emperor would sit  There is a garden area behind and large slanting marble wall.

Detail of arches and columns.

There were a couple of doors like this and this one was in the best shape I saw.  Amazing colors!

Detail of panel on door.

Detail of panel on door.

Marble inlaid floors.  Beautiful pattern work.

There are guards who live in the gardens and below is one of several beds out on the terraces.  It is so hot at night it is usually cooler to sleep outdoors.  Our house servants and guard often do this.  Before bed, they all talk to the neighboring servants.

Terrace Bed

There were fruit trees all over and they climb these ladders and several people below hold a blanket.  You toss the fruit into that.  We watched a couple of groups do this.  You get a idea of the scale by seeing the man with the red bucket to the right.  These were bamboo ladders.  Don't think I want to climb one!

Outer gate going out the back of the gardens.

View outside the gardens
One of the guards approached us and asked did we want to see the Royal Baths.   Of course we said Yes!  There were several locked doors to go through but then we came to these corridors with small, cool rooms off each.
Royal Bath.  This had a fountain and you sit on the edge.  Water up to perhaps calf level.

Details from the ceiling. These are not in great shape, but the ones that were in shape were lovely.

This one is a deeper sit in the bath type.  There were stone cisterns with chambers that fed the baths.

Motorized Rickshaw. This is the plainest one I've seen!
After a bit, it was so hot, we had to leave.  My hair was wringing wet.  We called Yussef to pick us up and went to Salt and Pepper Village, which is a traditional Pakistani Restaurant...tons of food and all of it really good.  When we came out it was pouring rain, the streets were flooding, and the temperature had dropped significantly.  I came back to the guest house to work on papers and the blog so here I am!
Dinner tonight here at the guest house and I am going to call it an early night as I need to do some work for class tomorrow.  More to come! 

No comments:

Post a Comment