Amongst the many tiled building of Lahore, the gateway known as the Chauburji, on the west side of the Multan road some two miles south of the fort, occupies an average place. It derives its name from the four octagonal towers which stood at its corners. A tile inscription above the arch proclaims that
“This garden, in the pattern of the garden of Paradise,
has been founded [missing line] . . .
The garden has been bestowed on Mian Bai
By the bounty of Zebinda Begum, the lady of the age”.
Another inscription incorporates a date equivalent to A.D. 1646. The identity of Zebinda is uncertain. She is popularly supposed to have been Zeb-un-Nisa, the learned daughter of the emperor Aurangzeb, but if so, she was a young child at the time of the construction of the gate. The story goes that the garden was laid out under the supervision of the princess’s favourite female attendant, Mian Bai; that it thus became known as “Mian Bai’s Garden”, and was on that account given to Mian Bai by her royal mistress. Be that as it may, the Chauburji garden has long disappeared, and the legend is as good as any other.
The corner-towers, of which one has fallen with the north-west quarter of the main structure, are generally similar to those of Wazir Khan’s mosque, but may be criticized as excessively slender for their height. They end at the top in coved platforms which doubtless carried “Hindu” pavilions whereof no trace remains. The whole building of Chauburji is covered externally with mosaic tile panels of the usual floral type, in a wide range of colours amongst which blue predominates. Without any special distinction it nevertheless enriches the surviving record of Lahore Kashi work.