Tag Archives: Great Game

Moorcroft, Shalimar Gardens and the Great Game

A forgotten page from history —Salman Rashid

The thought that Moorcroft was to die broken and bitterly disappointed brings a pang of grief. The mitigating factor however is that it did not take his country long to realise the worth of the man. Today he is acknowledged, and rightly so, as the forebear of Himalayan exploration and discovery, and one of the earliest heroes of the Great Game

In the northeast corner of the first quadrangle of the Shalimar Garden in Lahore, right next to the fountains, there is an unpretentious yellow-washed rectangular room on a high plinth. Entrance to the ground floor is through a door in the east wall, while in the west is a door and staircase leading down to the basement. The remaining arched alcoves all around are closed by masonry filigree.

The west wall bears a plaque commemorating the sojourn in this room of the ‘famous traveller William Moorcroft’ in May 1820. Despite the hundreds of visitors daily, few would have noticed this plaque; even fewer would have known who this person was. But for those who have any interest in the history of the Great Game, that epic struggle between Russia and England for the possession of Central Asia, Moorcroft’s name shines bright. Continue reading