...Babur the Tiger
Like his Persian ancestors, Babur was as much a scholar and poet as a soldier. When the dust settled on the plains of Paniput in 1526, Babur was dismayed to see the spoils of his victory: "Hindustan is a place of little charm," he wrote in his memoirs. "There are no refined arts or other delights of urbane society, no poetic talent or understanding... The arts and crafts have no harmony or symmetry... There are no good horses, meat, grapes, melons or other fruit... Hindustan is a strange country; compared to ours, it is another world. And the heat and dust are unbearable." (from the Baburnama)

plains of Hindustan

Babur by a stream

Babur had brought with him to Hindustan a taste for luxury and culture, the influences of his Islamic faith and a love of the order,symmetry and formality of the gardens of his native land. Fresh from a country of verdant landscapes, he noted in his journal: "One of the chief faults of Hindustan is that there is no running water. The whole country appeared so ugly and desolate that I passed the river thoroughly disgusted... On the other hand, one nice aspect of Hindustan is that it is a large country with lots of gold and jewels..."

Babur chose not to murder and loot as his famed ancestor had done 127 years earlier; instead, he stayed and founded a dynasty. In 1526, he laid out a garden on the banks of the Jamuna River at Agra to rival any in Persia, and endowed his successors with a small kingdom and a passion for beauty.

young lovers | the Mughal dynasty | Shah Jahan | architectural antecedents
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Mona Lisa
detail from Guernica
Lilies of the Valley Faberge Egg
Hope Diamond
Taj Mahal
scene from Borobudur

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