Nearly unheard of, Delhi has a new heritage park which is almost as big as the very renowned Lodhi Garden. Sunder Nursery lies right adjacent to Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO world heritage site. Apparently, a well kept secret since ages, this new addition of heritage sites spreads across over 100 acres and has been existing serenely since the 16th century. Originally built by the Mughals, the garden is now under Aga Khan Trust for Culture and has Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Central Public Works Department (CPWD) acting as supervisors.
Restoration work has been going on for over a decade now and is almost ready for the public eye with an ardent promise to maintain the Mughal-esque charm. Although, Sunder nursery is certainly not the most visited, however, now since its debut as a heritage site, we can expect to witness a significant rise in the number of visitors. The timings to visit the beautiful nursery are 5 pm for both weekdays and weekends making it ideal for an evening leisure stroll. Despite debuting only a month ago, people have already given it a nickname i.e. ‘Delhi’s Central Park’!
Sunder Nursery is home to expansive lands of variegated flora and boasts a 550 meters ornamental central vista initiating from the doors of the Humayun’s Tomb. Officials believe that the place is a perfect mix of “traditional Indian concept of congruency between nature, garden and utility coupled with environmental conservation”. To mother nature’s solace, the nursery houses and nurtures nearly 300 plants species, some of them being quite rare and nowhere to be seen elsewhere in Delhi.
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The garden is a proud owner of 20,000 saplings, 4,200 trees and 20 acres of nursery beds. With a city that’s wrapped up in a cloud of grey smoke, this property sits quietly among the chaos of the capital state and brings relief to Delhi residents who have been dying for fresh air lately.
Bird watchers can also stroll around the gardens to catch unusual sights of around 80 bird species inside the property. Sunder Nursery also maintains the heritage and historical aspects alive. For instance, Sunder Burj, you can spot a 16th century historic tomb with beautiful intricate detailing in the form of various inscriptions.
In addition to this massive park, lies a water canal which mimics Taj Mahal in an unusually satisfying way. This central vista has famous Mughal adornments such as sandstone benches and handcrafted lotus-shaped marble fountains. On the other end of this canal sits a majestic Lakkarwala Burj monument embellished by a rose garden that flaunts a wide variety of flowers blooming happily adjacent to the Humayun’s Tomb. The Nursery is also the home to an amphitheater with a generous seating arrangement of 300 people at a time.
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Fun Fact: Sunder Nursery has a 16th century lotus pond with Persian carpet design.
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Also, people can participate in cultural performances or picnic. Services such as a cafe, a souvenir shop, and toilets will start by October. Until then, the entry tickets cost nothing. The Nursery further aims to channelize itself with the Delhi Zoo and the Purana Qila that would consequently raise its perimeters up to an enormous 900-acre crossing the 843 acre world famous Central Park of New York! Historic, isn’t it?
Ratish Nanda, the conservation architect says, it turns out no other public park in Delhi will have a performance scope like this one! Also, unlike any other park, this one is built to offer education aboutthe city’s ecology to children. He also says “With its ‘adopt a monument’ scheme the government has begun something in which the private sector can also be involved with heritage.
We hope, with the Management Trust, that this can be an example of a way to preserve our heritage all over the country.” Certainly, this initiative stirs hope in the hearts of Delhi citizens amidst so much turmoil in the capital to instil moments of joy, harmony and solidarity amongst the people from time to time.