The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 9 Pinjor - An Indian country house and its garden

Evening in Pinjore Gardens

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Twilight draws in quickly under the trees. The harsh call of the wild peacocks sounded startling and ominous. Despite its enchantment, death lurks in the garden for those who linger after sundown, when Naga, the hooded cobra, is abroad, and the air is vibrant with the hum of the mosquitoes. Unconsciously I hurried away, coming out on a level of the upper terrace with quite a feeling of relief to find the setting sun still glittering on the topmost palace domes. High up on the tower of the Rang Mahal, crowned by the white and gold pavilion, the views were wonderful. On the east the Himalayas seemed to rise sheer up over the battlements of the old garden walls; and a thunderstorm rolling away in the higher mountains formed a lurid purple background against which the nearer hills showed sharp and clear, the white buildings of Kasauli turning to rose in the evening light. Down beneath me, the large garden lay spread out like a map, where the numberless irrigation channels shone through the gathering dusk of the trees, and the long canal with its cascades and fountains threw back the lemon colour of the light above. Round the horizon to the west, the circle of low hills rose dark against the skyline, while to southward through the opening of the valley the far line of the plains made a distant sea. Gradually, over the lemon of the sky, a pink veil seemed to rise. The plains turned from rose to grey, a soft blue grey, rising slowly over the rosy light, and deepening into the dark purple of the sky dverhead. Lights at once appeared, marking the villages on the hills behind the gardens, and higher shone the brighter lights of the small hill station. Far off a faint trail of red smoke showed where a train was rushing down to the cities in the plains. The stars came out. Lamps moved among the trees of the upper garden, all the world was hurrying homewards, and the quick magic of another Indian sunset was gone.