One characteristic of an Islamic paradise garden is the presence of moving water.1 Fountains are a landscape design element that make water move. According to the Qur'an, there are two fountains in paradise, Tasneem and Salasbil.2 In Surah 83, the Qur'an says that those who are close to Allah ﷻ will drink from Tasneem, a fountain in a garden paradise,3 and in another description of paradise in Surah 76, a ginger wine mixture flows from a fountain called Salasbil. 4
"In the centre of each side [of the garden] are square tanks that contain fountains, originally fed by terracotta pipes bringing water from tanks or wells located outside the immediate garden enclosure."5
The fountains' pools are wide enough to obstruct the main paths while approaching the tomb. As a result of this obstacle, one is more likely to notice and hear the delicately moving water of the fountain while the path moves around the pool and returns to the axis of approach. These fountains have the same stylized lotus form as the guldastas on the tomb's facades.
1. J.L. Wescoat Jr., "The Islamic Garden: Issues for Landscape Research," Environmental Design: Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre 1, (1986): 16.
2. J.L. Wescoat Jr., "Waterworks and Landscape Design in the Mahtab Bagh," in The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal, ed. Elizabeth B. Moynihan (Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000), 71.
3. Qur'an 83:18-29.
4. Qur'an 76:16-17.
5. Ratish Nanda, "The Area of Humayun's Tomb," in Heritage of the Mughal World, ed. Philip Jodidio (Munich: Prestel, 2015), 169.
Nanda, Ratish. "The Area of Humayun's Tomb." In Heritage of the Mughal World, edited by Philip Jodidio, 155-83. Munich: Prestel, 2015.
Qur'an 76:1-22. Al-Insan (The Mankind).
Ruggles, D. Fairchild. Islamic Gardens and Landscapes. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
Villiers Stuart, C.M. Gardens Of The Great Mughals. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1913.
Wescoat, J.L. Jr. "The Colors of Water: Hydrology and Human Experience at the Taj Mahal." New Geographies 3, Urbanisms of Color (2010): 174-83.
—. "Waterworks and Landscape Design in the Mahtab Bagh." In The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal, edited by Elizabeth B. Moynihan, 59-78. Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.