The Garden Guide

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

Mughal Roof Garden

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The illustration, Plate XVI [of A Roof Garden]., taken from a Rajputana palace built in the Mughal style, shows an evening scene, with musicians performing on a roof-garden, where the little fountain plays amid the small square flower-beds. The pictured garden is shut in by dark trees, their leaves patterned against the moonlit sky; but the ladies terrace at Talkatora has the stirring freedom of a vast outlook-all the plains of Delhi melting away into the blue haze of a far-off mountain range. Pale against the horizon shine the domes, minarets, and fortress towers of Shah Jahanabad; nearer, the graceful tomb of Safdar Jang is plainly seen, and beyond towards the river stands Humayuns massive dome. Then, turning to the hills behind, at the very foot of the great embankment, lay the blue jewel of a little hillside tarn, its ripples lapping the stones of the old terrace wall, and surrounded on all other sides by the red parched rocks. The old pleasure-ground lies desolate enough now, only the shrill cry of the peacock startles one under the trees and an occasional covey of partridges whirring past from among the rocks outside. The little lake from which the garden takes its name has been drained, and in its place a vivid green patch of cultivation shows up against the stony, barren hillside. The wells, with their water-towers standing outside the gates, and the narrow channels in the top of the old garden walls, show how the water force for the fountains was lifted up and carried along the ramparts. Possibly there was also a great waterfall from the upper terrace-a rush of white foam filling the long canal; but the thorn-bushes grow so thickly there that the original plan is rather lost. However, the garden has never been altered, and as it stands to-day even its bare outline speaks to those who care to listen of the very real sense of beauty and the force of imagination that once went to the making of this garden on the Ridge.