In spite of living in National Capital Region for such a long time, this was my first visit to the Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhawan! I was tempted in the previous years too but in the past even cell phones were not allowed. As of now they allow you to carry your cell phone, not head phones though. There is security at almost every step but no one says anything if you click pictures with your cell phone.
This year the gardens are open till 12th March 2017. The visiting hours are 9.30 am to 4.00 pm on all days except Mondays. You can carry cards, money and your cell phone inside. There is no need to carry a water bottle as there is bottled water available for free. There are paid vending machines too. The entry is from gate number 35. The nearest metro station is Central Secretariat.
The gardens are spread over 15 acres so put on your comfortable walking shoes! Sir Edwin Lutyens finalized the designs of the Mughal Gardens in 1917, but it was in the year 1928-1929 that first plantings were done. His collaborator for the gardens was the then Director of Horticulture, William Mustoe. The gardens have the elements of both Mughal and English gardens.
The Mughal Gardens are divided in many sections. Right upon the entrance is the Herbal Garden. The fragrance almost overwhelms you, after all, I am more used to petrol fumes than fragrance elsewhere in the city! The second section is the Bonsai Garden where a few tall trees sheltered many small ones!
You then walk past the musical fountains where patriotic songs play on a loop. I was a bit confused about photography but at no point anyone asked me to stop; not even when I would sit on the ground to click a picture.
I am quite curious about the number of gardeners needed to main the grounds! I am sure it is huge! I could see them in many places. They also have access to areas where public cannot go!
They make stunning floral rangolis on the lawns. I asked them if they replaced the designs daily? They told me a design stays for 2 to 3 days after which they make a fresh one. I complimented them on the designs and they thanked me too.
However much I tried; I could not get the whole grand floral rangoli design in my frame. I was quite hesitant about photography but when I visit again, I will be more assured about it. Once you get out of the gardens you still see some signs of ‘photography and videography prohibited’ but there were no such sings within the gardens this year!
There were numerous moments when I regretted not having a zoom but then I reminded myself that earlier even cell phones were not allowed.
The variety of the flora is worth a mention. From cactus to seasonal flowers to beautiful roses there is almost everything that you might imagine or recognize.
It was impressive to see what skilled people can do with flowers and how soothing it is to the senses. I went on a weekday and closer to the opening time, so the crowd was manageable.
There were many school kids visiting the Mughal Gardens the day I went. There were more than one schools present. And yet the gardens are huge, so it was easy to give them a miss if I wanted to.
The way out is through this delightful little circular patch of bliss! Once again it is the fragrance that mesmerized me first, the eyes caught the colors a bit later! The first photo in the series of the same place, only I placed purple flowers in the foreground.
Just beside the exit there is a display that showcases the vegetables and fruits from the President’s Gardens. It is a complete delight too. There is no entry fee to visit the Mughal Gardens. If you have not been there, you still have a few more days to go before it closes for the public and reopens later in August 2017.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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