The book was written by Rai Chatar Man Kayath, also known as Rai Chaturman Saksena Kayasth. The author was a Kayastha of the Saksinah (Saxena) clan. The preface states that the book was completed in 1173 A.H. (1759 CE), and was commissioned by Wazir Gazi-ud-din Khan.
Chahar Gulshan was completed only a week before the author's date. His grandson Rai Chandrabhan Raizadah re-arranged the content and added a second preface to the book in 1789. Raizada's copy is the earliest surviving manuscript (Bodleian 264), likely copied from the original.
The title of the book ("four gardens") refers to its four sections.
The book contains important statistical data, including total cultivated area, number of villages and mahal-wise revenue. However, these statistics are from a period earlier than the book's completition date, likely 1720 CE. By the time the book had been completed (1759 CE), the Mughal emperor was a figurehead. Ahmad Shah Durrani had captured Punjab. The Marathas had gained control of western Deccan and had crossed Narmada. Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah I, the Mughal viceroy of Deccan, had set up a practically independent state. The book itself states that statistics of Bijapur and Hyderabad are incomplete, as Asaf Jah I had carried away all the records.
The first gulshan contains information on the following provinces:
The second gulshan contains information on the 6 provinces of Deccan:
This section also contains additional sub-sections on: