Mughal Gardens

JAN 30

Preliminary   > Art and Culture   >   Architecture   >   Miscellaneous

Why in news?

  • The Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House) in Delhi have been renamed as Amrit Udyan.

About Mughal Gardens:

  • The concept of a planned garden, also known as the Charbagh was introduced in South Asia by the Mughal Emperor Babur. The first garden was established by him in Afghanistan.
  • He brought the Persian wheel water supply system to create the gardens as the Indian plains were different from his homeland where the natural flow of water was used.
  • The main elements of Mughal gardens include running water and a pool to reflect the beauties of the sky and the garden, different varieties of trees– to provide shade, to bear colorful and fragrant fruits or flowers; grass; birds to fill the gardens with song and the whole cooled by a pleasant breeze.
  • The Turkish- Mongolian elements of the gardens are usually the inclusion of tents, carpets, and canopies reflecting the nomadic roots.
  • Mughal Gardens served various functions which include their use as airy quadrangles within their palatial complexes, pleasurable retreats, and also as a base for hunting expeditions.
  • The gardens were also used as official halting spaces; while the park was exclusively reserved for women (Zenan khana) and provided with additional facilities, such as hammams.
  • These gardens have usually highly disciplined geometry and are of the following types:
    • Rectangular
    • Butterfly
    • Circular
    • Terraced
  • Most gardens are rectilinear, with four sections crisscrossed by pathways and water, also known as the Charbagh concept.
  • Until the rule of Shah Jahan, the usual way of designing a garden was with the main structure at the center with an enclosure and gate (sometimes even multiple) and subsidiary structures like pavilions setting into walls.
  • During Shah Jahan’s period, the importance was placed on the garden and the structure was built on one end of the site, rather than, at the center.
  • The Taj Mahal stands as a great example of this concept, as it’s constructed on one end of the platform overlooking the river. Hence, the riverfront gardens became an important aspect during Shah Jahan’s reign.

Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Garden:

  • In 1911, the British decided to shift the Indian capital from Calcutta to Delhi. About 4,000 acres of land was acquired to construct the Viceroy’s House with Sir Edwin Lutyens being given the task of designing the building on Raisina Hill.
  • Lutyens’ designs combined elements of classical European architecture with Indian styles. Lady Hardinge, the wife of the then Viceroy, urged planners to create a Mughal-style garden.
  • While building, the Britishers introduced more than 250 different varieties of hybrid roses gathered from every corner of the world.
  • Later, C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor General of India, during a period of food shortage in the country, ploughed the lands and dedicated a section of the garden to foodgrains. Today, Nutrition Garden, popularly known as Dalikhana, stands in that spot.
  • President R Venkatraman added a cactus garden and APJ Abdul Kalam added many theme-based gardens: from the musical garden to the spiritual garden.


Consider the following statements:

1. The concept of a planned garden was introduced in India by the Mughal Emperor Akbar

2. Riverfront gardens became an important aspect during Shah Jahan’s reign.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2