The spring season that splashes our lives briefly in the city, ushers open the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan for about a month. Hordes of people queue up to revel in the riot of colours of happily dancing flowers in all gaiety. Galvanized by the marvellous Mughal Gardens in Agra and Kashmir, Lutyens in 1917 couldn’t resist creating these gardens, incorporating the Persian style of architecture used by the Mughals with the English landscape design. Significant use of linear and stepped geometrical layouts give it a classic and formal appeal setting it apart from other gardens.
Are you ready to go? Tips to heed!
The entry is through Gate number 35 and this is where the visitors go through a security screening process. No cameras are allowed, only mobile phones are permitted. Such a pity because the mobile pictures can never justify those taken with the high-density resolution cameras, but security and smooth movement of visitors is always a top priority and we support it. Bags need to be deposited in the safety lockers. So basically it’s just you and your mobile phone. That’s fantastic! Just don a pair of comfortable shoes and be hydrated enough to take the long, leisurely stroll through the gardens.
Welcome! You’re entering paradise!
The Rectangular garden
After crossing the herb garden and bonsai gardens, the area opens up to the spellbinding rectangular landscaped garden divided into a grid of squares. This is the rectangular garden. With the magnificence of Rashtrapati Bhavan as a backdrop, the sheer beauty of it view captivates the heart. Six lotus shaped fountains mizzle happily their tiny droplets as they zenith to about 12 feet. The pleasing quadrilateral patterns, the beauteous stonework, the movement of water in the rills and fountains show the influences of English landscape designs. Giant dinner plate dahlias, the smorgasbord of roses, Asiatic lilies, daffodils, pansies, marigold, ranunculus, petunias add colours and bloom in the brightest colours of spring. When the spring paves way for the scorching summer and the flowers wither away, it is the Thuja Orientalis, the rose shrubs and the axially placed cypresses and the China Orange bloom that provides greenery and aesthetics to this 12 acres of green land. The pruned Moulsiri tree that is known for its fragrance look like green mushrooms dotting the landscape.
The Purdah Garden
The Long Garden or the ‘Purdha Garden’ runs parallel on either side of the central pavement opening to the circular garden. Enclosed within high walls about 12 feet high, this is predominantly a rose garden.16 square rose beds encased in low hedges adorn the area. There is a red sandstone pergola in the centre of the central pavement which is covered with creepers, Petrea, Bougainvillea and grape vines. More than 150 varieties of roses like Adora, Mrinalini, Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Modern Art, Scentimental, Oklahoma (also called black rose), Belami, Black Lady, Paradise, Blue Moon and Lady X enthral the visitors. Call a rose any name and give it any colour, this flower rules the heart all over the world and therefore it is not surprising that the Mughal Gardens have varieties of the flower named after people of national and international fame such as Mother Teresa, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Mr Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Jawahar, Queen Elizabeth, Christian Dior amongst others. Arjun and Bhim, from the Mahabharata, also find a place in the presidential palace. The Rose is eternal and has found dignity through ages. It’s no wonder that it finds an area dedicated predominantly to it.
The Circular garden
The Circular Garden or the Butterfly Garden is the icing on the cake. It’s a sight to behold. A terraced circular bowl has layers of flowers like Verbena, Mignonette, and Dahlias giving a cascading illusion of a spectrum of colour that holds a circular pool in the centre. Butterflies in their own patterned wings and colours flutter around.The tour of the Gardens ends with a small exhibition of spices, fertilizers and vegetables and plants that are promoted by the Government.
The Mughal Gardens in Delhi have a confident majesty and scale that very few designers could produce and it was Lutyens who managed to create a sample of Mughal and European influences with the wonders of nature filling the canvas.
Take this advice – It’s free!
The entry to the Mughal Gardens will probably end this week. It’s a slice of heaven on earth. Shuffle around your agendas for the week but go if you can. A bit of advice! We love taking ‘selfies’ and are God’s beautiful creation too but once here, step away from the Self and enjoy this paradise. Take time to pause and smell the flowers (literally!)…And please! Do not step on the grass. Despite innumerable notices, there are many who don’t pay heed. Please correct them, will you?