Features of the Paradise Garden
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As they are seen today, the gardens at the Taj Mahal are only a tenth as large and glorious as they were in the days of Shah Jahan. Designed primarily as gardens of Paradise, fruit trees were planted to provide a prolific harvest from within the walls, which contributed towards the upkeep of the Taj Mahal.
The first Mughal Emperor and connoisseur of gardens, Babar, once described the mango tree, symbol of life and fertility, as the best fruit to grow in Hindustan and it is likely that they once grew here.
A cool oasis is fundamental to Mughal garden design and fruit blossom may have overhung the walls to form cool passages in which to walk around the grounds. The trees that are in the gardens today are not of Mughal origin but are a legacy of the British.
During the British Raj, Lord Curzon initiated the restoration of the Taj Mahal after it had fallen into disrepair and made renovations to the lawns and surroundings.
Growing parallel to the edges of the central water channel is a line of cypress trees. These trees are an ancient symbol of immortality and eternity often seen in Persian art and literature. They grew in Mughal gardens and it may have been that they grew more abundantly in the original garden at the Taj Mahal.
Further emphasis on the water channels is provided by neat geometric paving.