The Garden Guide

Garden Tours in India

The art of garden making began in West Asia. Garden history in many Asian countires is strongly associated with religious sites and there are still many temple gardens across Asia.

India's best known gardens are those made by the Mogul (or Mughal) dynasty in North India. The most famous is the garden of the Taj Mahal made by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Garden of the Taj Mahal has many Cypress trees, which symbolise death. Unusually for Mughal tombs, the mausoleum itself is not in the centre of the garden but rather is at the north end. At the centre of the garden, two marble canals divide the garden into four regions. Four is a very important and holy number in the Islamic faith. As a type, Mughal gardens are known as charhbagh (four square) or paradise gardens. These gardens were made by Mughal kings who invaded India from the north. They brought craftsmen from Persia and a style which is fundamentally Islamic and Persian. Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the dynasty, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur Tamerlane. It became a dynasty of garden-makers. Babur himself was a poet, a naturalist and a very keen garden maker. He complained, in his memoir, that the plains of North India were unsuited to making a charhbagh.

For the Red Fort (Shahjahanabad) in Delhi see Smithsonian Productions on Mughal Gardens. For Shalamar Bagh and Nishat Bagh see Kashmir. See note on Indian gardens.

Travel arrangements for Indian garden visiting have partnered with Namaste Tours in India to create a private 14 day tour of Indian Gardens.

In many parts of India hiring a car and driver is the most convenient way to travel. It can be faster, more comfortable and more interesting than travel by train. See, for example, car hire in Ladakh.

India has, of course, an extensive travel network. But life is not easy for the independent traveller, because of the crowds, the booking arrangements and the delays.

For Garden Hotel accommodataion in Jodhpur, see Balsamand Lake Palace Hotel.

For Garden Hotel accommodataion in Bharatpur, see Laxmi Vilas Palace.