The Garden Guide

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

New Delhi planning

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The Mughal miniature, Plate XL., said to represent Akbar as a young man, shows a garden throne or chabutra in a chenar tree. The symbolism of Vishnus pillar is very literally carried out, and some such charming retreat in one of his grandfather Babars northern gardens most probably suggested Akbars novel treatment of the old idea. It has been urged in connection with the planning of New Delhi, that 'any departure in the direction of Indian ideals, even if it produce fine architecture-which is open to question-would be misinterpreted as a weakness, as a relaxing of the firm grip which maintains order.' But whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, consciously or unconsciously, whatever our official policy may be, we cannot escape in India from Indian ideals. Even the gold-embroidered umbrella of State held over the King-Emperor at the Delhi Durbar was but a symbol of the sacred sheltering Tree; a symbol greeted by the crowds who at sundown knelt in prayer before the empty thrones; and by those who, when their Majesties reached Calcutta, flung the welcoming marigold festoons into the Hugli till the sacred river blazed like an English field in the buttercup weeks of June.