The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 5 Gardens of the Plains - Delhi

Hyat Bakhsh Bagh in Red Fort

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The Mahtab Bagh has vanished; only half the Hyat Bakhsh Bagh remains. Looking across the garden from the river terrace a range of hideous barracks forms the background, towering over the exquisite little Bhadon and Sawan pavilions, and barrack buildings cover the Moonlight Court. The whole effect of the reception held here during the Imperial Durbar festivities was spoilt till the kindly dusk shut out the iron railings and the ugly red and yellow walls. Then as the fire-fly lamps lit up the trees and the lights of the two pavilions gleamed under the falling spray, the old palace garden seemed once more a fitting place for an Indian king to greet his people. In other parts of the fort the garden courts have, unfortunately, lost all their original character; and the fruit trees, parterres, and cypresses have been replaced everywhere by turf and gravel paths. Still, the first view of the Diwan-i-Khas (Private Hall of Audience) seen across the vivid green is very beautiful; wonderfully so, as I saw it that December afternoon when on the platform, at one side, the King-Emperor and Queen-Empress sat in open Durbar in their mediaeval robes, the great jewels of their crowns flashing in the sunshine, surrounded by their charming Court of princely Indian children; the whole brilliant group seen against the evening sky, and the apricot and amber of the gilded marble walls, where Shah Jahan wrote in Sadis flowing Persian: 'If there is a Paradise on Earth, it is Here.'