Lahore has been an important site in the history Pakistan and India; the history of Fort Lahore and the Shalamar Gardens have played a role in that history. The fort and gardens received a joint UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1981. Lahore Fort, has legendary beginnings recorded in the Hindu scriptures attributed to Lav, the son of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana written during the epic age in India history (1200 B.C.E. to 800 B.C.E.). The Shalamar Gardens have a more recent origin, created by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1641 C.E.
Lahore Fort stands on the north western corner of Lahore, across from the ancient Walled City of Lahore. Numerous historical sites stand within the fort, built over the course of its history passing through ancient Hindu times, to the age is Islamic and Mughal rule. They include Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. Sheesh Mahal, meaning "Crystal Palace", had been build by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a splendid meeting hall. The Alamgiri Gate, built to face Badshahi Mosque, stands as a monumental gateway of splendid artistic construction. The Naulakha pavilion, built by Shah Jahan in 1631 C.E., built at an exorbitant cost, boosts a panoramic view of Lahore. Moti Masjid, meaning Pearl Mosque, had been build by Shah Jahan, in 1645 C.E.
Water holds special importance and significance in Islamic architecture, respecting the scarcity and importance to the Persian and Arab Moslems. Shan Jahan completed the Shalimar Gardens in 1641 C.E. Laid out in an oblong parallelogram, a tall brick wall surrounds the gardens famous for exquisite fret work. The garden lays out in three level terraces, connected by the Shah Nahar Canal. 410 fountains grace the garden, conveying the sense of richness, peace, and abundance that following water in the desert conveys. Water has been channeled through cascades bringing added peace of mind.
The Shalamar Gardens host a number of splendid buildings including Sawan Bhadum pavilions, Naqar Khana and its buildings, Khwabgah or Sleeping chambers, Hammam or Royal bath, The Aiwan or Grand hall, Aramgah or Resting place, Khawabgah of Begum Sahib or Dream place of the emperor's wife, Baradaries or summer pavilions to enjoy the coolness created by the Gardens' fountains, Diwan-e-Khas-o-Aam or Hall of special and ordinary audience with the emperor, and two gateways and minarets in the corners of the Gardens. Almond, Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Gokcha, Mango, Mulberry, Peach, Plum, Poplar, Quince Seedless, Sapling of Cypress, Sour and Orange trees fill the garden, as well as a wide variety of plants and shrubs.
Taken as a whole, the Fort and Shalamar Gardens at Lahore have been created to give the inhabitant the sense of Paradise described in the Koran.