Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunder Nursery and Urban Renewal

A few days ago, I read about the Sunder Nursery and what caught my attention was that the green pigeon has been sighted here, apart from several other birds. So I set off to see the place this Saturday, with the secondary purpose of buying some tree saplings as well. 

The nursery is situated off the Mathura road when you turn left at the blue dome roundabout (Neeli Gumbad) from Delhi towards Mathura. It is bang opposite the side entrance to Humayun's Tomb. Stated to be a garden from Mughal times, (16th century) the nursery was actually set up by the British to cater to the requirements of the city and now, most of the hundred odd acres have been taken over for restoration of the Persian gardens around the early Mughal buildings by the Aga Khan Trust in association with the Archaeological Survey, the Central Public Works and several embassies, as I found out, having been actively discouraged from taking pictures of certain sites. The nursery however, was really cool!

I got myself a silver oak sapling, you can see them standing in stately attention, and some bonsai varieties of fruit trees. Noticed these girls working, preparing the soil for transplantation who were mightily pleased to smile for the camera, and the young one was agape with wonder  

View of the Sunderwala burj from the nursery and then, from the main entrance - 

Considerable care and attention has been bestowed upon the restoration efforts, especially in the layout of the Persian gardens that faithfully follow the Mughal pattern of water channels, fountains and geometric designs and I was surprised to find that even one lily pond has been researched, excavated and restored 

The Sunderwala Mahal which is still not completely finished and it is here that I was bugged by the security guard

Between the Sunderwala Mahal and the Burj, an open air amphitheater has also been laid out 

Behind the Sunderwala burj, a water channel has been laid out as the central axis, flanked by landscaped gardens 

There is another tomb, the Lakkarwala burj behind the Sunderwala burj. This has also been carefully restored and in addition, a rose garden has been planted in front. 

Nearby, there are other ruins. Notably, a mosque that has fallen down except for the central arch and another structure that appeared to be a tomb ...

There is still much work that remains to be done in these areas but equally, the huge amount of work that has been done, carefully, beginning from the removal of tonnes of rubble, deserves great credit and I think once completed, would be definitely counted as one of the most ambitious projects of urban renewal and development of public spaces, especially as different micro habitats endemic to the Delhi area are also being laid out. 

Anyway, I did not see any green pigeon for it was hot in the afternoon but I did see a huge peacock and that definitely made my day! Even though I got bitten by an unknown insect on my eyelid that is still sore 

I would have loved to watch this magnificent bird more closely but it quickly disappeared into the bushes. And here is the Garden Pavilion 

Before I end, I must say that the nursery chaps could not give me the saplings of this  rather uncommon but indigenous tree that was in full bloom rather prominently and no, this  is not the flame of the forest. The rose garden in front of the Lakkarwala Burj however, had dozens of varieties that included such names as Peter Frankenfeld and Christian Dior :)  

Peter Frankenfeld
Christian Dior
Gold Coin


  1. A wonderful outing, which I enjoyed vicariously through your photos...........thank you!!!!

  2. This sounds like a most enjoyable day (except for the insect bite!). The restorations are impressive and the gardens are beautiful. How nice to come home with new trees for your yard!
    I won't be doing much (or any) planting this spring - had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder last week. Ouch!

    1. Thank you Rita. Do take rest and read some, until that shoulder heals completely

    2. Thanks, I'll heed your advice!