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The scent of blossoms hung in the air, not just from damask roses but pinks, Persian lilacs and jasmine.At the Emperor Jahangir's Kashmir garden, Shalamar Bagh, a water cascade creates a fluid curtain over niches that in their prime would have been filled with cut flowers by day, and lanterns at night, half-veiled by the tumbling water.Ebba Koch, an Austrian scholar who has spent 45 years studying Mughal architecture, is not worried about the current attacks. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to hold the body of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631.Built on a terrace above the meandering Yamuna River, it took 20,000 craftsmen and labourers more than a decade to complete.The water features, the chutes, the fountains, basins and canals bring delight, especially fast-moving in the Mughal's lakeside pleasure gardens in hilly Kashmir.
Today's Taj has been cleaned and repaired, although work continues.
The Taj, though, is set at the far end of its site, effectively making its landscape setting appear bigger and more lavish.
These four-square gardens, known as chahar bagh, create large quadrants that are further subdivided into smaller geometric planting beds or lawns (there are 16 at the Taj Mahal, for example).
The Mughal garden is a highly symbolic space shaped by its prescribed layout, features and allegories.
It gives a foretaste of the paradisiacal afterlife.
Perhaps because their full glory seems gone forever, Mughal gardens have captured the imagination of Western garden historians like no other landscape style.