The earliest extant structure belonging to the
Mughal Period in Lahore is believed to be the
Baradari (pavilion) of Mirza Kamran, son of Babur
the Chaghatai, the founder of the Mughal Kingdom in
India. Mirza Kamran was a step brother of Emperor
Humayun and the first Mughal Governor of Lahore. The
baradari was part of the garden laid out by Kamran,
where he received his father, the emperor Babur, on
his visit to Lahore.
It was in Mirza Kamran's garden that the first-born
of Emperor Jahangir, a rebellious Khusraw, was
brought into the former's presence, "weeping and
trembling......his hands tied and chains on his
legs from the left side after the manner of Chingiz
Khan," and Jahangir, in no mood to show leniency,
declared, "Kingship regards neither son nor
son-in-law. No one is a relation to a king."
Until the 18th century, the garden remained a
recreational place for the Mughal imperial family,
when the emperor and his entourage would arrive here
by boat to enjoy the verdant scenery.
If you would like to visit the historic setting, it
is best to combine it with a visit to Shahdara,
since it is reached from the south end of a
comparatively new bridge linking Lahore with
It was originally built on the right bank of the
river Ravi but now stands in the middle, unaffected
by the ebb and flow of the river. At the
beginning of the bridge a flight of steps leads down
to the river bed,
from where one can hire a boat for a trip to the
baradari, visible on the left in the centre of the
river Ravi. The riverbed is often dry, and
you should be prepared to walk some of the distance
to the monument.
The baradari structure itself is a testimony to the
engineering skill of Mughal builders. At the end of
19th century, Latif recorded "for more than half a
century has the impetuous current of the ancient
Ravi struggled to annihilate its walls, whose feet
it washed, but with the exception of a portion
washed away at a time beyond the memory of the
living generation, the edifice stands quite
unaffected by the ebb and flow of the majestic
river." The river that once flowed close to the city
walls changed course during the first half of the
18th century, and destroyed the edifices and gardens
laid by Mughal nobility.
Mirza Kamran's garden shared the same fate, although
a few traces of old garden paths can still be seen.
The structure built of massive brick masonry,
consists of an octagonal central chamber 24' wide,
and four corner octagonal rooms 11' wide, the core
encircled by an 11' wide arcaded veranda. The 80'
sides of the square structure are punctured by 5
cusped arches—a central 17'6" wide arch flanked by
two 9' arches on each side. Almost half of the
northern portion has been washed away and has been
totally reconstructed, and so have the decorative
features; due to which the original character of the
monument has been compromised—an example of
over-zealous 'restoration' in a attempt to preserve.
courtesy of Loh Kot Heritage and Cultural Society