Incredible Northern India
March 14th - March 26th, 2012
 



March 16th, 2012

We visited what is one of the highlights of the tour - Mughal Gardens. This proved to be a feat almost not accomplished as the gardens were now closed to the public. We had to ask to very special permission to visit so were thrilled to hear that it has been accepted. We arrived at the front of the Palace this time so were able to take some pictures of our group there and some of the Palace grounds and flowers. Now once inside we were not allowed to take any pictures so this was a bonus as well. We were taken through a couple of museums inside then led out to the gardens. I knew they would be thrilled to see it and as we slowly strolled through it was like we were in this garden all by ourselves. There were a few other people as well but to us this was our garden to savor and enjoy. Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect of Mughal Gardens, made this Garden for Lady Harding. Mughal Gardens are very unique gardens in the sense that these are a combination of Mughal and British Architecture. There are Mughal canals, European flowerbeds, lawns and privet hedges, shrubs, herbs, plants and trees all around the garden. It has four water ways with different fountains. The Mughal Gardens are situated in the Rashtrapati Bhavan - the Presidents House of India. These are open for a few days in the months of February to March. The rest of the year these are closed to the public so we count ourselves very lucky indeed to have seen them.

To the west of the house overlooks the beautiful Mughal Gardens, terraced at three levels. A series of ornamental fountains, walls, gazebos and screens combine with scores of trees, flowers and shrubs to create a paradise so delightful that Indians called the garden 'God's own Heaven'. It occupies an area of 13 acres and is divided into three sections (rectangular, long and circular garden) and sports a blend of the formal Mughal style with the design of a British Garden. Mughal style canals, fountains
and terraces and chatris adorn the landscape of the garden, along with flower beds, hedges and a large variety of trees and flowers like roses, marigold, bougainvillea, sweet william, viscaria etc among many others.

The garden has four waterways with uniquely crafted fountains at their intersections that consist of 3 tiered huge red sandstone discs that resemble lotus leaves. The checkered flowerbeds lend an enchanting look to this wonderfully landscaped garden.
http://presidentofindia.nic.in/mughalgarden.html 

Rashtrapati Bhavan - Formerly the Vice regal Lodge, the building is the highlight of Lutyen's New Delhi and was completed in 1929. Located in an area of 130 hectares, the palace has 340 rooms. At one time, 2,000 people were required to look after the building and serve the Viceroy's household.

Qutub Minar -- The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India.
Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one
can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. There is also remnants of another minaret there – one that was to be twice the size of the Qutab Minar, but only the first foundations remain. It would have been huge!

Humayun's Tomb -- The Mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water. The first mature example of Mughal architecture in India, Humayun's Tomb was built by the emperor's grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD. Constructed with red sandstone and ornamentation, it marks the beginning of a new tradition of ornate style culminating in the Taj Mahal of Agra. Designed by the Persian architect, Mirza Ghyas, Humayun's Tomb shows a marked shift from the Persian tradition of using coloured tiles for ornamentation.

Located in the midst of a large square garden, screened by high walls, with gateways to the south and west, the tomb is a square tower surmounted by a magnificent marble dome. The dome stands 140 feet from the base of the terrace and is topped with a copper pinnacle. In addition to the remains of Humayun, the complex also houses the grave of many other distinguished members of the Mughal dynasty.

Here we had the pleasure of meeting Dr. T. Janakiram, Head of FISOH, the Division of Floriculture & Landscaping for the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, who gave us a short briefing on all the efforts that the Government are doing to continue and expand research for the people. It was encouraging to learn about all the new benefits of this program and also the offshoot byproducts and how they were impacting the local people.

 

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