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Gardens of Ali Mardan Khan

Mughal Gardens
16th century
Abdul Rehman;
Munazzah Akhtar


In Peshawar, Ali Marden Khan, the famous canal engineer and governor of Kabul, Lahore, and Kashmir during Shah Jahan’s reign, built two magnificent gardens. The first garden, known as Shalimar, was situated north of the Bala Hisar fort. Elphinston gives a detailed description:

In the gardens, indeed flowers are abundant and disposed with considerable taste. A description of one of them that belonged to the king, and is the finest in Peshawar, will give a true, though favourable idea of the rest. It is called garden of Shah Lemaun [Shalimar]. Its shape is oblong. . . . The northern part of the garden, which is cut off from the rest, is laid out irregularly and is full of trees. The remainder forms a square divided by avenues, which cross each other in the middle of the garden. That which runs from east to west, is formed by stately rows of alternate cypresses and planes. And contain three parallel walks, and two long beds of poppies. At the east of this walk is the entrance; and, at the west, a handsome house containing a hall, and two other apartments. (M. Elphinston, An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, 1:97–98)

None of the structures mentioned above remain except the term Shah Bagh. Recently, a modern garden has been built over the area.

The other garden of Ali Mardan Khan is described by Mohana Lala: An evening walk led me to the garden of Ali Mardan Khan. . . . In the centre of the garden is a fine building, three storeys high, surrounded by fountains. The rest of the garden is filled with an exuberance of fruit and rose trees (M. Mohana Lala, Travels in the Punjab, 4748).

The garden has long been destroyed but the baradari still survives, which served as a residency during the early British period. On the other side of the residency, a new garden was laid out and named the Mackeson Garden. It subsequently came to be known as Company Bagh and, today, the Kalid bin Walid Bagh.



  • Travel Account, 19th century