1st Mughal Emperor. The Mughal Dynasty is a line of Muslim emperors who reigned in India from 1526-1858 and became a repository for all the wealth and talent of the most extensive empire in the medieval world. Babur was a descendant of the Turkish conqueror Timur on his father's side and of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan on his mother's side. At seventeen, he was already the ruler of a small Kingdom which after being attacked was forced to flee to the southern mountains in Afghanistan. Encamped outside Kabul, he was offered the defenceless city by its residents who had long suffered under a tyrant ruler. Once established in Kabul, he invaded India defeating the Sultan, ruler of Delhi, setting up the Moghul Empire, a dynasty which endured for centuries. Although Babur ruled only four years, his love of nature led him to create gardens of great beauty which became an intrinsic part of every Mughal fort, palace and state buildings during the centuries that followed. While alive, Emperor Babur laid out the classical Moghul-style gardens located on a high point in west Kabul which comprised a series of beautiful landscaped hillside terraces. He requested burial in the city after his death. His wife and daughter are interred on a terrace above his tomb. Postscript: The Babur Gardens (Bagh-e-Babur) were virtually destroyed during the Afghan civil war in the 1990's. Almost all of its decorative plants were left to wither and die leaving only bare earth. Its fruit trees, mainly almonds were cut down for fuel. Most of the old historic structures were destroyed and the few remaining are marred by bullet holes. The gardens which in the past drew thousands of tourists who walked among its almond trees, swam in its pools and visited the grave and mosque dedicated to Emperor Babur Shah is currently being restored.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield