Date: 12 March 2016
Venue: Rashtrapati Bhawan
Once an year, Rashtrapati Bhawan opens its gates for public and lets them have a look at the huge collection of trees and flowers that are in full bloom in the Mughal Gardens.
These sprawling, well maintained lawns of President’s House, with lush greenery, hundreds of varieties of beautiful flowers and musical fountains are a real sensory delight. Doing a round of Mughal Garden every year in February/March is an annual ritual we don’t want to miss.
This year, we decided to visit Mughal Gardens on a recent Saturday afternoon. We reached at about 3 O clock, exactly an hour before the scheduled closing time. There are no entry charges or tickets. The entry is from Gate no. 35 and one can park on both sides of this road. Bags and cameras are not allowed. However, visitors can carry their wallets, ladies clutch bags and umbrellas inside. Food items are also not allowed inside.
After two levels of frisking, we were in. The crowd included old and young, rich and poor, men and women… a great leveller we thought. They have make-shift washrooms close to the entry and it’s a good idea to use these since there is no other washroom before the exit point.
The queue of visitors move in a pre-decided path and that covers the zones of Mughal Garden that are open for public.
After walking a bit we entered the bonsai garden followed by the musical fountains. Interestingly, the fountains swirl and dance to instrumental versions of new-old Hindi film songs.
The selfie craze was in full swing even at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Trying at times as it may be, one realises that people are here to have a good time and if clicking selfies with flowers, fountains, guards and the even the bees provided them nirvana, so be it. The guards had to politely prod click-happy people to move so that the queue does not come to a standstill.
Next we came to the rose garden. The variety of flowers – white, pink, yellow had fancy names… Iceberg, Queen Victoria etc.
The best was saved for last. The exit culminated into a circular park which is probably the prettiest part of the Mughal Gardens. Divided into four symmetrical segments, this has multiple levels of flowers and plants potted on steps. We took a round on the circumference of this colourful garden saluting the hard work that had been put by gardeners and the maintenance staff (who were still at it when we visited) to make sure every bud is in order.
Out of this area there’s a line of stalls selling organic fruits and vegetables, spices, ornaments and clothes etc. produced by women and children at NGOs and schools. We bought organic turmeric powder and a bag of manure for our plants from here. The way out was through the spiritual garden.
This is one of the free fun events in Delhi that a lot of people ignore because they think Mughal Gardens have nothing much to offer. But we spent almost two hours here and were nostalgic. Mughal Gardens have not changed much over years and we like it the way it is. It holds an old world charm and is a treat for people who like doing simple stuff.
Mughal Gardens are open for public till 20th March 2016.