Incredible Northern India Garden Tour
March 3rd - March 15th, 2010


March 5th, 2010

Dr. Satish Narula met us this morning to give us a very special presentation on the flora of India and an introduction to the Mughal Gardens. Passionate and very knowledgeable about plants the time just sped by and we had to leave because we now wanted to see this garden for real! Well, now here comes the part about where I cry…we found out that we were not allowed to take photographs in the garden!! You could have put a rod through my heart at this point. But there you have it…this is after all the gardens that are enclosed within the Presidents House in India. You could not bring in anything – even water. We were all so sad but we did want to see those gardens…and they were magical. Filled mostly with annuals but I promise you have never seen such annuals as these. As Dr. Narula showed us around he told us that they use nothing here except manure. He told me that the “only fertilizer used should be the dust off your feet” This way you are always looking at your plants to see how they are and can care for their needs before they become sick or diseased.

The Palace has 340 rooms with a beautiful view onto these gardens. 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'. A central lawn with grass cut as on a golf course green is used for state functions, while the garden, if cut into quarters would each be exactly the same. Water runs all through the sections with 4 fountains at each cross section in the main garden. There is also a food production garden on another area and the third area is a most incredible walled garden in red sandstone that is used as the rose garden. A beautiful Mughal pergola runs a good length of this walled garden with vines and just one of the historical grapevines left.

It is open only one month each year and we were truly fortunate to see it. 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. The horticultural school plays a huge part in its upkeep. It was such a joy to see this garden with its birds and butterflies happily flying around enjoying their fortune.

Then on to Lodhi Gardens where we met a group of young school children who had been there and were now on their way home. It is quite interesting to watch faces of children. They are either happy and smiling at you or they are hesitant…wonder what made them that way. The several tombs situated in the garden belong to the Lodi and Sayyid Era and include Muhammad Shah's Tomb and Sikander Lodi's tomb. These tombs boast of excellent architecture, and this style was later used in the construction of Taj Mahal. This garden is known for its fountains, ponds, flowering trees, blossoming shrubs and artificial streams. In the middle of the garden is Bbara Gumbad (Big Dome), a mosque built in 1494 and Sheesh Gumbad (Glass Dome). They are restoring these to their former glory.
We enjoyed lunch and then it was off to our last stop of the day. 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.

It was so much larger that we would have thought, truly an awesome tomb. The central tomb had structures and water features around it. Through the arch then you see it, and not before, a stately and imposing tomb in red and white sandstone.

Then back to our hotel to have dinner and pack because we are off to Agra! Just before sunset I am again entertained by thousands of parakeets heading who knows where…I sit and enjoy a cup of tea while watching. It must be mating time as the birds are so active, flitting about in pairs and the males are all putting on a show…this part of Delhi has been an incredible place to be and I know that our group has truly enjoyed our short visit here.



  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row