The Kama Sutra, famed as a sex manual, has some information on gardens. Its composition is dated to somewhere between the 1st and 6th centuries AD and the best guess is that it was written in the Gupta period (320-550 AD). Drawing a comparison with European literature, the Kama Sutra references to gardens fall between those of Pliny the Younger (c100 AD) and those of the Roman de la Rose (c1250 AD).
ON THE MANNER OF LIVING OF A VIRTUOUS WOMAN, AND OF HER BEHAVIOUR DURING THE ABSENCE OF HER HUSBAND
A virtuous woman... should keep the whole house well cleaned, and arrange flowers of various kinds in different parts of it, and make the floor smooth and polished so as to give the whole a neat and becoming appearance. She should surround the house with a garden, and place ready in it all the materials required for the morning, noon and evening sacrifices... In the garden she should plant beds of green vegetables, bunches of the sugar cane, and clumps of the fig tree, the mustard plant, the parsley plant, the fennel plant, and the xanthochymus pictorius. Clusters of various flowers such as the trapa bispinosa, the jasmine, the jasminum grandiflorum, the yellow amaranth, the wild jasmine, the tabernamontana coronaria, the nadyaworta, the china rose and others, should likewise be planted, together with the fragrant grass andropogon schaenanthus, and the fragrant root of the plant andropogon miricatus. She should also have seats and arbours made in the garden, in the middle of which a well, tank, or pool should be dug.
THE LIFE OF A CITIZEN
He should take a house in a city, or large village, or in the vicinity of good men, or in a place which is the resort of many persons. This abode should be situated near some water, and divided into different compartments for different purposes. It should be surrounded by a garden, and also contain two rooms, an outer and an inner one. The inner room should be occupied by the females... In the garden there should be a whirling swing and a common swing, as also a bower of creepers covered with flowers, in which a raised parterre should be made for sitting.
When engaged with her in any game or sport he should intentionally hold her hand. He should practise upon her the various kinds of embraces, such as the touching embrace, and others already described in a preceding chapter (Part II, Chapter II). He should show her a pair of human beings cut out of the leaf of a tree, and such like things, at intervals. When engaged in water sports, he should dive at a distance from her, and come tip close to her. He should show an increased liking for the new foliage of trees and such like things. He should describe to her the pangs he suffers on her account.
ABOUT THE LOVE OF PERSONS IN AUTHORITY FOR THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN
Previous to these festivals even, she should have caused it to be intimated to this woman that on the occasion of this festival she would show her all the interesting things in the royal palace. Accordingly she should show her the bower of the coral creeper, the garden house with its floor inlaid with precious stones, the bower of grapes, the building on the water, the secret passages in the walls of the palace, the pictures, the sporting animals, the machines, the birds, and the cages of the lions and the tigers.