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Indian Char Bagh Garden


A rainbow coloured Persian carpet of flowers spreading out from a distinctive chalk coloured Pavilion - this is the image of the Char Bagh that has become an iconic image of Hamilton Gardens. The 'Char Bagh' or 'enclosed four part' garden was the original Paradise Garden. It is sometimes known as the 'Universal Garden', not only for its widespread and long period of use, but also because it was regarded as an icon for the universe itself. This form of garden spread throughout the Muslim world between the 8th and 18th centuries. The complex symbolism behind this form of garden has its very ancient roots in three of the world's great religions - Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Be sure to look up at the Pavilion's patterned ceiling and enjoy stunning views of the River from its ornate benches.



The Mughal emperors were descendants of Genghis Kahn who spread their empire eastwards from Persia into northern India from the 13th century onwards. As part of their conquest they brought Islam to India. They also brought Persian garden design to the Indian subcontinent.

These gardens had a focus on water and irrigation because of their origin in the hot and dry climate of present-day Iran. As they spread across the continent, their design was adapted to the local conditions, but the basic design features remained. They had geometric layouts with strong symmetry. Water features were subtle and designed to bubble and trickle rather than splash, in order to preserve water.   

The type that has been developed at Hamilton Gardens is the Riverside Garden with a plan very similar to the Taj Mahal, but on a very much smaller scale. A small hunting palace near Agra, called Lal Mahal, has inspired the Hamilton Garden's Char Bagh garden.