The Garden Guide

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

Talkatora Bagh Garden Delhi

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One more old garden outside Delhi-a garden, even in its ruins, full of romantic charm- shows by its skilful choice of site, its plan so closely in harmony with the genius of the place, that Babars great secret of success in garden-craft had not been forgotten when Talkatora Bagh was built. It lies on the lower slopes of the Ridge to the south of modern Delhi. Its walls and corner towers and three big gateways give it from outside an air of being still under cultivation, but within, it is only just possible to discover, through the scrub and thorn bushes that overrun the whole enclosure, the low terraces into which the garden was divided. The cosmic cross of the watercourses can be faintly traced with the ruins of a large baradari standing in the centre. The hummum (hamam - baths) are built after the usual fashion, into one of the side walls, and directly opposite these buildings a large tank once occupied the middle of the terrace square. So far, apart from its division into shallow terraces, it is just the usual Indian garden of the plains, delightful, appropriate, but much resembling many others. Then, through the trees at the far end of the garden, is perceived one of those elements of surprise and contrast which lend so magical a charm to these formal Mughal baghs. The upper garden wall is replaced by a long masonry terrace twenty or more feet above the lower enclosure. Immediately beneath the wall runs a wide walk, which is slightly raised above the general level, and ends on either hand in great ramps of paved brick-work leading up to the topmost terrace. This proves to be a platform about forty feet wide with octagonal towers at each end, and in the centre the remains of several buildings and living rooms; the whole terrace forming a roof-garden, like some elaborate zenana quarters in a great city palace, including pavilions to sleep in, flower-beds, and fountains. [Note: Talkatora Garden is now run by New Delhi Municipal Council NDMC Horticulture Department]