Following an epic, decade-long restoration mission, a heritage park within the Indian capital of Delhi has reopened its doorways to the general public. The Sunder Nursery covers a mammoth 90 acres, and is home to a complete host of monuments, a few of which date again to the 16th century.
“The late landscape architect Prof. Mohammad Shaheer designed this new city park along a central axial spine, around which gardens and landscapes are arranged”, explains Archana Saad Akhtar, Senior Programme Officer at Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). “Water features, ponds and lakes are part of the masterplan, as well as nursery beds, a flower showcase, arboretum, rose garden and orchards.”
The restoration included cautious conservation of a number of historical constructions, as Archana explains. “Within the Sunder Nursery / Batashewala complex stand 15 monuments, including tombs, garden pavilions, wells, and even a 16th century lotus pond. As part of the partnership project, all these monuments – including six of national importance protected by the Archaeological Survey of India – have been painstakingly conserved, and as a result are today designated as World Heritage monuments.”
There’s an amphitheatre within the Park too, which Archana says will host numerous cultural occasions and performances. “The Garden Amphitheatre aims to provide a platform for local musicians and music traditions within this picturesque setting. There’ll be a calendar of events from 2019 onwards, featuring heritage and ecology walks, conservation, exhibitions, craft fairs, public lectures and film screenings, and other innovative ways to attract the public.”
Since the park opened final month, Archana says it’s been extremely well-received. “What makes the site unique is that it has both formal landscapes and forested biodiversity zones”, she says. “With over 280 native tree species, 20 acres of nursery beds, 80 bird and 36 butterfly species, the Sunder Nursery offers something to every kind of visitor.”