The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 12 Some garden contrasts and a dream

Modern Jain Garden

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In the station at which we were recently quartered, a wealthy merchant prince of the Jain caste happened to be rebuilding a large Anglo-Indian bungalow, and turning its grass compound into a garden. It was to be a country retreat, when the heat or the fear of plague drove the family from their high white palace in the town. And very interesting it was to see how they set about the work of reconstruction. The position of the house prevented the idea of the four water-ways-roads in this case- being carried out in its entirety; but the first thing that was done was to run a path straight from end to end, replacing a former curving drive. A third road was then made leading up to the centre of the house, which from a solid block had been enlarged into a quadrangle enclosing a purdah garden for the ladies of the family; for the English fashion of the low outer walls would prevent their enjoyment of the rest of the grounds. At one end of the garden, under a line of fine old trees, several white marble shrines were built. These should have overlooked a large bathing tank, but the regulations of the station not permitting a sheet of stagnant water at close quarters to other bungalows, it had to be abandoned after being half dug out. And yet, had the tank been a shallow paved reservoir filled and refilled by fountains after the old fashion, there could have been no objection to it. But the only fountains in the garden were two large basins right and left of the main entrance, each surrounded by elaborate parterres made after the Mughal style, which is not yet quite forgotten in the gardens of Central India. In contrast with these was the round English lawn, presently to be adorned, so I was told, by a bust of His Majesty, the King-Emperor.