Bagh-e Babur

The first Mughal emperor was  Ziihir ad-Din Muhammad Babur, usually shortened  simply to Babur. His life is well documented in his memoirs, the Baburnama.

Bagh-e Babur is a spot of green in the midst of Kabul. This is the final resting place of Babur. Much more modest in scope than the tombs of his issue, there is a quality found here that is lacking in the grand mausoleums like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. (Humayun was Babur’s son.) The comparison between these two UNESCO World Heritage sites is striking.  While the tomb of Humayun is quite impressive, the grounds don’t serve as a place of refuge away from the urban activities in the manner of Babur’s Garden.

Torn between shopping and a visit to Bagh-e Babur? No worry. There is shopping to be had right at the entrance.

The tomb is simple but elegant. You will get a brief history lesson in Dari or English from the docent here.

The guest book is filled with many positive references to visits to these grounds.

The shrine adjacent to the tomb was built by Shah Jahan, another descendant of Babur. Shah Jahan is better known for the Taj Mahal in Agra. The same white marble is used here with the addition of bullet holes from the time of conflict in this area.

The shrine is still used for worship along with representing an important architectural element of Afghanistan’s history and culture.

My first visit to Bagh-e Babur provided a bonus. There was an excellent collection of photographs documenting the early years of Afghan/US relations. There were photos of Mohammed Daoud meeting with Richard Nixon, Eisenhower’s arrival at Bagram, the King Zahir Shah’s motorcade with President Kennedy, as well as cultural exchange involving Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck. I don’t know if this collection is still being toured but it is highly recommended if it is displayed near you.

You should be able to find more details on this wonderful collection of photographs at the Meridian International Center web site.

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