Ustad Miran Buksh Moortanwaley

(1877-1944)

 

Lived in Koocha Musawaran of the Ghoomti Bazar, walled city of Lahore. Studied for a drawing master's course at the Mayo School of Arts during the time of Lionel Heath. Principal of the School 1913-1929.

Joined government service as an art teacher at the Railway Technical School, Lahore; transferred to the Mayo School as the senior drawing teacher. Later became the Vice Principal.

 
Daata Durbar
Ali Bin-Usman al-Hujveri called Data Ganj Bakhsh, 'bestower of favours' by the devout, is the patron saint of Lahore. He arrived in this city in 1039 AD from this native Ghazni. For 33 years he resided here spreading the eternal message of love and toleration. He died in 1072 AD and was buried close to the mosque he had built just outside the Bhati Gate. For centuries Data Durbar or the 'court of the bestower', as his shrine is popularly known, has drawn men and women of all religious beliefs.

Al- Hujveri, author of Kashf al-Mujab, 'Unveiling of the hidden', the foremost Persian treatise on Sufism, was a leading scholar and sufi of this age. His shrine, with a green dome under which he his buried, continues as a leading center of spiritual guidance, succour and solace.

This painting depicts the original shrine which was extended later. The mosque in the background was demolished and replaced by a much larger one in the nineteen-eighties.

 
 
Chou Burji
All that remains of a once sprawling garden is this splendid gateway with four towers. Attributed to Zebunnissa Begum, the accomplished daughter of the Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb, this garden was laid in 1646 AD. A fragmentary inscription above the archway states that the garden was bestowed upon Mian Bai. Despite the indifference of man and time, the gateway stands with its profuse, enamelled tile-work to testify to its original grandeur on the road leading southwards to Multan.  
 
Wazir Khan's Mosque
Octagonal Mughal minarets, topped by the tile work in vivid turquoise, stunning yellow and brilliant green, rise about the high narrow buildings of the old city. Like colourful notes reminiscent of paradise, they hover above the tenements of earthly existence.  
 
Badshahi Mosque
The huge mosque with three marbles domes, which dominates lahore's sky-line to this day, was built by Emperor Aurangzeb, son of the other great patron of architecture, Shah Jahan. Built in 1673 AD/1084 AH, under the supervision of Fadai Khan Koka, his foster brother, the mosque has withstood the ravages of time. Sikh misuse and British abuse did not mar the majesty and grandeur of this building . The most outstanding features of the mosque are its minarets, whose proportions embody grace, strength and which stand witness, like the index finger, to the glory of God.  
 
Shalimar Garden
The emperor, Shah Jahan's particular attachment to the city where he was born, manifested itself in various architectural gems in Lahore. One of the finest is the Shalimar gardens which was laid in 1642 AD, six kilometers north-east of the old city, besides the grand trunk road. Spread over 17 hectares, the garden were completed at cost of RS.1.60 million and four days under the supervision of khalil ullah khan.

One of three such gardens, this is the finest specimen of mughal landscaping. Similar terraced gardens were laid by the emperor's father Jahangir, in Kashmir and the third by Shah Jahan in Delhi. The garden is conceived in three terraces. The top terrace, Farrah Bakhash, 'bestower of pleasure', indicates that the garden was full of flowers and sweet-scented shrubs. This terrace was reserved for the ladies of the Mughal court. The middle level is most elaborate with the great marble cascade of water. The lowest level called Faiz Bakhash, bestower of plenty', indicates that it abounded in fruit-bearing trees. Here emperors and their grand retinue were entertained by musicians and dancers, by singers and red sand-stone and intricate piatra dura work enhance the pleasure of the gardens.

The descending terraces, the gardens, and the pavilions are unified by water channels, ponds, man-made waterfalls and the hundreds of fountains. The water for the fountains was channeled by ingenious means which cost three times the amount expended on laying the garden.

Babur, the founder of the mughal dynasty stated that 'garden is the purest of the human pleasures'. Shah jahan his descendent, with characteristics, transforming touch, turned the observation into reality on the plains of the Punjab. At this sprawling venue nature and nature happily meet, mix and mingle.

 
 

Talk to me by email