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Hiran Minar

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Hiran Minar (literally, the "deer tower") is a hunting retreat built by Emperor Jahangir to the northwest of Lahore. It was constructed in memory of an antelope named Mansraj that was beloved by the emperor. The memorial tower stands 30 meters high and is 10 meters wide at its base. Around the perimeter are 214 holes that are believed to have been used as supports for the severed heads of animal trophies taken by the emperor. This form and function is similar to an earlier tower, also known as Hiram Minar, built at Fatepur Sikri. It also resembles the Nim Serai Minar at Malda, whose projections may have been used in a similar manner to display the captured heads of local rebels. To the east of the tower is an enormous rectangular tank with an octagonal baradari at its center. The baradari was used as a royal retreat by the emperor and is accessible via a bridge extending west toward the tower. Small pavilions mark the corners of the tanks and feature pyramidal roofs with entrances on four sides. On each side of the tank are shallow ramps that allowed wildlife in the hunting park easy access to the water. The water level was maintained using a series of channels and catchement basins leading to the site. Unlike nearby Lahore, the surrounding countryside is thinly populated and remains largely rural. A belt of forest surrounds the site, further insulating it from the modern environment, allowing the visitor to experience the Mughal garden in a landscape that has changed relatively little since its inception.