Friday, July 20, 2018

Nimla or Mimla garden (Nangarhar province)



The Nimla garden (Khogiani district, Nangarhar) is said to have been laid out in 1630s during the reign of Shah Jahan. It is work of the famous architect Ali Mardan Khan, who designed many of the Mughal buildings in the Punjab. Bagh-i-Nimla'h was "halfway house" of the Moghul Emperors on their marches between Peshawar and Kabul.

Nimla village lies about 5 miles east of Gandamak and 30 miles from Jalalabad. Its inhabitants are Khogiani Afghans and Tajiks. Mughal emperor Jahangir hunted a female panther between the village of Nimlah and Bagh-i-Wafa (Jalalabad). "On the 24th, between the garden of Wafa and Nimlah, a hunt took place, and nearly forty red antelope were killed. A female panther (yuz) fell into our hands in this hunt. The zamindars of that place, Laghmanis, Shall, and Afghans, came and said that they did not remember nor had they heard from their fathers that a panther had been seen in that region for 120 years". [Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri, ‎Henry Beveridge's translation, p-125]

In 1832 the traveler Lal Mohan passed through Nimla;  "25 November: On our road we passed through the beautiful garden of Nimlah, which refreshed our sight. The fine scented nargis (narcissus) abounded in this orchard." ["Travels in the Panjab, Afghanistan,Turkistan, to Balk, Bokhara, and Herat", 1846 ...By Lal Mohan]

Charles Masson describe the village and garden in 1830s as, "This village is a small one of eighty houses, but the garden appears very advantageously with its tall cypress- trees. It is famed for narcissuses, posies of which are sent as presents to Kabal". ["Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan", Vol-3, p-186]

Note: The original, and correct name of the place is Nimla'h, not Mimla'h. The garden was laid out by Mughals and it is spelled as Nimla'h in their sources. Siraj al-Tawarikh of Faiz Mohammad Katib Hazara (published in 1912), an official national history, also spell it as Nimla'h. The 19th century travellers who passed through it, have also spelled it as Nimla'h.



Nimlah or Mimlah Bagh (Khogiani district, Nangarhar), with soldiers in the foreground, taken by John Burke in 1878.