One of the most significant Mughal structures,
carrying some of the most spectacular tile mosaic
examples, is the Gulabi Bagh Gateway. It is located
on the northern side of G.T. Road, east of Buddhu's
Tomb, and past Begampura Road on the left.
of considerable height (it is a two storey
structure), it can be missed easily since it does
not carry a dome, or other terminating elements, As
is evident from its name, this remarkable gateway
was originally the entrance to a garden known as
Gulabi Bagh or (the rose garden), no longer extant.
The name however, is also a chronogram, from which
the date of construction of the gateway AH 1066
(1655) is obtained.
Although the gateway has endured much damage to its
decorative features, it is in a tolerably
well-preserved state. It was constructed by or in
memory of Mirza Sultan Beg, a Persian nobleman and
cousin of Shah Jahan's son-in-law Mirza Ghiyasuddin
(married to princess Sultan Begam).
Due to his cousin's relationship with the royal
family, Mirza Sultan Beg rose to the exalted
position of Mir-ul-Bahar (Admiral of the Fleet). He
was obviously on extremely good terms with the
emperor, who, aware of his love of hunting,
presented him with a much-admired English rifle.
Just two months later, the firearm proved fatal for
him due to the bursting of a shell during a hunting
expedition at Hiran Minar at Sheikhupura. He died in
A lofty Timurid aiwanóa popular architectural
rendering for gatewaysórises to two-storey height,
and incorporates a 40' long covered walkway defined
by a single storey cusped arch gateway. The aiwan is
flanked on both sides with 5' deep arched alcoves
expressive of the two storeys of the structure. The
covered walkway is lined on either sides with a
12'x12' chamber, which no doubt provided
accommodation to the guards, from where an internal
staircase leads to the first floor.
The 50' wide facade, subdivided into slightly sunken
panels presents one of the finest examples of kashi
kari (tile mosaic). The panels are defined by brick
borders, which, as was usual, would have been
treated with taza kari or lines of red fresco.
Profusely embellished with multi-hued, scintillating
tile mosaic, based largely on floral themes
including floral arabesque, it is considered one of
the most important tile-mosaic examples of the
Mughal period. The rendering of floral and geometric
themes executed in finely cut tile mosaic, with an
interesting combination of hues of blue, yellow,
maroon and green, became a favorite medium of
decoration during Shah Jahan's time.
This architectural masterpiece is one of many
structures of the period where humble brick was
given an exciting veneer of beautifully crafted tile
mosaic, cut to the exact form of a petal or a leaf
and then closely joined together, to present this
unique artwork. Today, it is divorced from its
chahar bagh setting, but would have been a
spectacular monumentólocated as it would have been
amidst verdant surroundings.
It is said to have been a large garden with
beautiful pavilions, arches, paved floors, and
gateways at all four corners. A little way inside
the surviving gateway is the tomb of Dai Anga.