Narendra Swain, photographer, image courtesy of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Sunder Nursery was established, in the early 20th century– to propagate saplings for New Delhi’s avenues and experiment with plants brought from other parts of the British empire. Following a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with government agencies, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture commenced conservation and landscape works at Sunder Nursery to create a 90-acre city park with distinct heritage, ecological and nursery zones and required facilities.
The new, city garden designed by the eminent Indian landscape architect, Mohammad Shaheer, is structured along a central axial spine around which gardens and landscapes are arranged. From formal gardens to informal settings for families to enjoy picnics, the park offers a variety of recreational and cultural venues. Water features, ponds and lakes are part of the masterplan, which includes nursery beds, a flower showcase, arboretum, rose garden and orchards. The garden achieves a truly urban scale, deriving inspiration from the traditional Indian concept of congruency between nature, garden and utility coupled with environmental conservation.
The grand central vista follows the path of the 16th century Grand Trunk Road connecting to the entrance zone of the Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site. The gardens, inspired by Mughal traditions, employ monolithic marble fountains and flowing water set amidst geometric flower beds and raised sandstone pathways. Forming the heart of the garden, a large maidan (square) is available for gathering and picnics.
Sunder Nursery offers a contiguous stretch of dense green cover across Sunder Nursery providing a protected bird habitat for the ground nesting national bird, the Peacock. A 20-acre, micro-habitat zone showcases plants of the ridge, riverine, marshy landscapes that were once found in Delhi.
With 20,000 saplings planted here over the past decade, in lieu of the 400 truckloads of construction rubble removed from here, 80 species of birds have already returned to Sunder Nursery with many more expected now that the water bodies are full. 60 species of butterflies have also already made this park their home. Sunder Nursery now functions as the “Central Park” of Delhi.
Nizamuddin, National Zoological Park
Nizamuddin West, New Delhi
Delhi 110013 – India