Did you know that the first awards of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture were presented in a garden?
The first awards of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture were presented at the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan on October 23, 1980. Lahore is an ancient city at the crossroads of trade routes linking India, Afghanistan, Arabia and the Persian Gulf. The first Mughal emperor arrived in Lahore from Central Asia in 1524 and made it his base. Lahore eventually became the capital of the Mughal empire when Emperor Akbar the Great moved his court from Ahmedabad in 1584. The construction of the gardens was initiated in 1620 by Shah Jahan, and was further extended by him when he succeeded his father to the throne of the Mughal Empire.
The Mughals refined the Persian language, literature, miniature paintings, and music. They systemized the educational and cultural traditions, and built magnificent monuments in Lahore. One of the well-known monuments of the Mughal era is the Taj Mahal built in the seventeenth century in Agra. The Mughals contributed to the construction of madrasahs (colleges), resulting in a vast expansion of educational institutions, making Lahore one of the major centres of Islamic scholarship. The Indo-Islamic style of architecture continues to be reflected in Lahore today.
Sajida S. Alvi, “Islam in South Asia,” The Muslim Almanac edited by Azim A. Nanji, Gale Research Inc. Detroit, 1996
Philippa Vaughan, “Indian Subcontinent: from Sultanate to Mughal Empire.” Islam: Art and Architecture Edited by Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius. Konemann, Cologne, 2000
Researched by: Nimira Dewji.