The Mughal Garden Legacy Continues as Amrit Udyan

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The Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India and it is surrounded by one of the most resplendent and lavish gardens: the Mughal Gardens. These iconic gardens are home to multitudinous varieties of flowers and plants that fills the place with a sweet odor. These gardens which were built during the early 20th century have their own tales of history to narrate.

The Mughal Gardens have grabbed the headlines in recent times because its colonial name changed to its new name “Amrit Udyan”.

In this article, we will be discussing why and how the name of the Mughal gardens was changed to the “Amrit Udyan”.

There will also be a list of the gardens and flowers that are found in the Amrit Udyan on the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises.

We will also be mentioning when can one visit the beautiful garden this year and the newly launched QR code in Amrit Udyan.

Before we move on to that, let us get to know “what are the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan?”

What are the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan?

  • The Mughal gardens in New Delhi are the finest example of a horticultural paradise in the sprawling premises of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • The Mughal gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan are spread over 15 acres of land and consists of different varieties of flowers, trees, plants, shrubs, hedges, etc.
  • There are several international foliages present in the gardens.
  • Recently, the names of the collective gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan were changed to Amrit Udyan, whose meaning can be roughly translated to “The Garden of Elixir”.
  • The garden is also referred to as the “Soul of Rashtrapati Bhavan”.
  • Similar to the terraces and canals, the flowerbeds in Amrit Udyan are based on the Mughal style.

History of the Mughal Gardens (Amrit Udyan) in Rashtrapati Bhavan

  • In 1911, the capital of British India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.
  • During that moment, wide constructions were carried out in the state to accommodate top officials.
  • Nearly 4000 acres of land were acquired to build the house of the then Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge on Raisinia Hill in New Delhi.
  • As the idea of a garden was the most crucial to an official residence, the duty of designing it was taken up by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
  • It is also claimed that although Lutyens who was the architect of New Delhi conceived the idea of the garden, it was designer Mustoe, director of horticulture, who worked at the newly built Viceroy’s house.
  • So, the simple answer to who built the Mughal Gardens is the architect of New Delhi, Edwin Lutyens.
  • However, the plan was to design a garden with traditional British architecture.
  • The wife of the then Viceroy, Lady Hardinge had other ideas.
  • She wanted the gardens to reflect the Mughal style and therefore urged the designers to design them accordingly.
  • It is generally believed that Lady Hardinge took her inspiration for designing a Mughal garden from the 1913 book by Constance Villiers-Stuart, “Gardens of the Great Mughals”.
  • She might also have been spellbound by the exquisite gardens in Lahore and Srinagar and wanted hers to be designed similarly.
  • The layout of the Mughal gardens was ready by 1917 and the planting began in 1928-1929.
  • The Mughal gardens look similar to the the miniature paintings of India and Persia.

Who Renamed the Mughal Gardens Amrit Udyan in 2023?

  • The Mughal Gardens were renamed by the incumbent President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu on Saturday (28th Jan 2023).
  • The Amrit Udyan was inaugurated by her on Sunday (29th Jan 2023).
  • This initiative is keeping in line with the theme of “Amrit Mahotsav” celebrating India’s 75 years of independence.
  • While the Bharatiya Janata Party has lauded the decision of changing the name, the opposition has asked the government to focus on more pressing issues like rising prices and unemployment.

Why has the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan Been Renamed Amrit Udyan?

  • The Mughal gardens were renamed Amrit Udyan, a name of Indian origin because the nation struggled for development and to remove any trace of the colonial mindset or free oneself from the shackles of colonialism.
  • According to Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, “This new name not only shreds yet another symbol of a colonial relic but also reflects India’s aspirations for the Amrit Kaal.”
  • While some have welcomed the move by calling it a “long overdue step”, others have slammed the government of BJP for its petty politics.

When the Amrit Udyan Will Be Open To The Public in 2023?

  • The Mughal gardens open to the public once a year, particularly in the month of February when the flowers are in full bloom.
  • This year (2023), Amrit Udyan has a two-month window from 31st January 2023 to 26th March 2023.
  • It was also open for special groups of people from 28th January 2023 to 31st January 2023:
  1. On 28th January 2023, the Amrit Udyan was open to farmers.
  2. For the 29th it was made available for differently abled persons.
  3. On 30th January 2023, the paramilitary forces could visit the Amrit Udyan.
  4. On 31st January 2023, the garden was open for tribal women’s self-help groups.

Gardens and Flowers in Amrit Udyan on The Rashtrapati Bhavan Premises

Gardens in Amrit Udyan

  • East lawn
  • Central Lawn
  • Rectangular Garden
  • Long Garden
  • Circular garden
  • Tactile Garden
  • Herbal Garden I
  • Herbal garden II

Herbal gardens and Tactile Gardens were developed during Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Presidency for visually handicapped people.

  • Musical Garden
  • Spiritual Garden

This garden was also developed by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and the plants and trees here are associated with different religions and cultures practiced in India. Some of the plants include Sandalwood, Sita Ashoka, Reetha, Shami, etc.

  • Nutrition garden

During a situation of food crisis in India, President C Rajagopalachari ploughed the lands of his garden and grew crops to feed the starving population of his country. The garden then came to be known as the Nutrition Garden.

  • Bonsai Garden
  • Arogya Vanam
  • Bio-Diesel Gardens

This garden boasts of picturesque biodiversity where ecologically friendly trees like Jatropha Curca (Ratanjot) were planted.

Flowers in Amrit Udyan

  • 12 varieties of Tulips from the Netherlands
  • Brazilian orchards
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • 70 varieties of Seasonal flowers, also from Japan
  • Water lilies from China
  • European flowerbeds of Mughal design
  • Roses

159 varieties of roses (Adora, Mrinalini, Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Modern Art, Black Lady, Paradise, Blue Moon, Lady X, Mother Teresa, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Queen Elizabeth, John F. Kennedy, Christian Dior, Arjun, Bheem, etc).

  • Horticulturist William Mustoe introduced 250 different hybrid varieties of roses from different parts of the world in the late 1920s.
  • Also, during Zakir Hussain’s presidency, different varieties of roses were planted.
  • 50 varieties of trees, shrubs, and vines (moulsiri tree, golden rain tree, torch tree)

Newly Launched QR Code Facility in Amrit Udyan

With the newly launched QR code facility in Amrit Udyan, visitors can now scan the code and get information about each of the different varieties of trees, plants, flowers, etc.

Final Thought!

The renaming of the Mughal gardens to Amrit Udyan is an excellent initiative by our President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu.

It is clear that this move was made to rid our country of any visible traces of colonial dependence.

As we have moved forward and our country is winging its way toward development, we hope to get rid of any colonial association that only haunts us of the pain and struggle the pre-colonial population has borne in the past.

It is time we appreciate this important step and not criticize it as it will bring a considerable positive impact on our society and nation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Amrit Udyan?

Amrit Udyan is a horticultural paradise bordering the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India.

Who made Mughal Garden?

The Mughal Garden was designed by the architect of New Delhi, Edwin Lutyens in the early 20th century.

Where is the Mughal garden located?

Several Mughal gardens all over India are fashioned in Mughal styles. The Mughal Gardens in the sprawling premises of Rashtrapati Bhavan is located at the western end of the Rajpath, the Ramsai hill in New Delhi, India. The gardens were renamed the Amrit Udyan in 2023.

When did Mughal Garden open?

The Mughal gardens a.k.a Amrit Udyan were constructed in 1928-29. The layout of the garden was ready by 1917 but planting flowers began in late 1928.

What is Udyan Utsav 2023?

Incumbent President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu graced the occasion of Udyan Utsav in 2023 to celebrate the opening of the Mughal Gardens a.k.a. the Amrit Udyan to the public.

What is the other name of the Mughal Garden?

The Mughal gardens of the Presidential estate have been re-christened as “Amrit Udyan” on Saturday (28th January 2023).

What is the difference between the Mughal garden and the modern Garden?

A Mughal garden is styled in Mughal fashion or one that reflects the Persian culture like the Persian Char Bhag or the utopian garden (Jannat).

These may include designing flowerbeds, canals, and terraces in Persian fashion.

A modern garden is fashioned as per modern aesthetic styles and is typically a fusion of modern cultures and art.

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