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The Garden

The complex is set around a large 300 metre square charbagh, a Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds.

A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway, with a reflecting pool on North-South axis reflect the image of Taj Mahal. Elsewhere, the garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar, in reference to "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad.The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor Babur. It symbolizes four flowing rivers of Paradise and reflects the gardens of Paradise and derived from the Persian paridaeza, meaning 'a walled garden'. In mystic Islamic texts of Mughal period, paradise is described as an ideal garden of abundance with four rivers source from a central spring or mountain and separate the garden into north, west, south and east.

Most Mughal charbaghs are rectangular with a tomb or pavilion in the center. The Taj Mahal garden is unusual as the main element, the tomb, is rather located at the end of the garden. With the discovery of Mahtab Bagh or "Moonlight Garden" on the other side of the Yamuna, Archaeological Survey of India interprets that the Yamuna itself was incorporated into the garden's design and was meant to be seen as one of the rivers of Paradise.The similarity in layout of the garden and its architectural features such as fountains, brick and marble walkways, and geometric brick-lined flowerbeds with Shalimar's suggest that the garden may have been designed by the same engineer, Ali Mardan. Early accounts of the garden describe its profusion of vegetation, including roses, daffodils, and fruit trees in abundance. As the Mughal Empire declined, the tending of the garden declined as well. When the British took over the management of Taj Mahal, they changed the landscaping to resemble that of lawns of London.


Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.