Mount Asma-i, known by Afghans and Coalition members alike as TV Hill, is a high mountain in the middle of Kabul. On a clear day, the view from TV Hill reaches across not just miles, but centuries…
The empire of Babur, the 16th century founder of the Mughal dynasty, stretched from Samarkand to central India, but he died pining for Kabul and insisting on being buried in the place he called paradise on earth.
His open-air tomb on a hillside in what is now the capital of Afghanistan is set in an oasis of greenery. With the snow-fringed Hindu Kush ranges providing a majestic backdrop, the tomb is set amidst a garden of walnut, mulberry, apple and pomegranate trees as well as a small marble mosque, fountains and water channels.
But the views below are far from paradise. These days the tomb overlooks a war-ravaged city of about four million people, dusty and choked with garbage.
Bottom line: The inscription on Babur’s tomb reads,
If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this!
Frankly, it’s been a LONG time since anyone described Kabul as paradise. And that won’t change soon. But maybe someday…
Want more info? Try the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage or the American International School of Kabul.