A visit to Mughal Gardens – Do’s and Don’ts

The Mughal Gardens are the gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan – the estate of the President of India. It is not an overstatement to say that the Mughal Gardens are the very best in the country. It is sheer joy to see and experience the bounty of nature so painstakingly and meticulously cultivated and manicured. As is evident by the word “Gardens”; there is more than one. There is the hreb garden, the bonsai garden, the Rose garden and the miscellaneous flowers garden, which has seasonal flowers. The Mughal Gardens open to the public for about a month in spring, usually from February 2nd week to March 2nd week. This year, the Mughal Gardens are open to the public till Sunday, March 20, 2016.

We visited the Mughal Gardens this weekend, and the experience was heavenly, to say the least. Before going, we tried to gather some “Do’s and Don’t’s” type information from the net but it was a massive failure. Except one blog, we found nothing that would help us in a practical sense. Hence, I decided to solve that problem for my readers. If you’re planning to visit the Mughal Gardens, this year or later, this post should be helpful to you. I have compiled an FAQ of sorts. I came back loaded with pictures and one post isn’t enough to do justice to them, therefore I will be posting the pictures in one or two separate posts.

Please click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Timings and best time to go?

The Mughal Gardens are open till March 20, 2016. The timings of opening are similar every year, around February 14-March 20 (Except Mondays). The visitor timings are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The entry gates are closed at 4:30. Visitors can remain in the premises till 5:30 p.m. The entry and exit into the gardens is regulated from Gate No. 35 of the President’s Estate, which is located near the North Avenue, at the western end of the Church Road. It is best to visit on weekdays;¬† on weekends the traffic is much higher. The best time to go is around 10:30-11 a.m. The visitor traffic is considerably lesser and the lines are shorter, you can also enjoy the sights with fewer people around you.

Is there car parking available?

Car parking is a big problem. There are parking spots allocated but they fill up very fast and people end up parking on the roads. It’s best to take the Metro to Central Secretariat Metro Station and reach the entry of the Mughal Gardens by an autorickshaw. Alternatively, if you must bring your car, park it in the official India Gate parking area and take autorickshaw to Gate No. 35 of the Persident’s Estate. The autorickshaw guys know where to go, you just have to ask to be taken to Mughal Garden entry. The fare should be around Rs. 50-60 from India Gate.

Security?

The Mughal Gardens are literally the lawns and gardens of the President of India; expect the security to be tight. There are two rounds of metal detection and baggage X-Ray checks and security personnel deployed at different posts all over the premises.

What can I carry inside?

Do NOT carry ANYTHING except your phone and wallet. Everything except women’s purses will be deposited at a baggage deposition counter. The number of people who don’t know this and turn up with a picnic basket is unbelievable. You will have to wait in a kilometre-long line to deposit your bags. Avoid this if you can. For women too, it’s advisable to not carry a purse.

Are Cameras allowed?

No. Cameras are not allowed, but phones are. The guards on duty also usually do not stop the public from clicking. Ensure you click only the flowers and nothing that can get you tackled by an unhappy burly man doing standing duty in full sun all day. You get the point. All the pictures I took are through my phone, only when I wasn’t offending a security officer.

What do I get to see?

You will start off with the Herb Garden, which has many beds of different plants and herbs useful in Ayurveda and other herbal medicine systems. This is followed by the Bonsai Garden, which is not too large. About 25-30 Bonsais of different types of plants are a delight to Bonsai enthusiasts, the others can just take a turn and move on. You then come across a musical fountain synchronised to patriotic songs. This leads to the Rose Garden and later the miscellaneous flowers beds which are full of Petunias, Pansies, Dahlias, Marigolds, Tulips, Begonias, Gerberas and many more flowers whose names I don’t know. You are then led out around another huge fountain which is a sight to behold.

Are there resting places?

There are small tents with seating capacity of about ten, but they are usually full. There are no public conveniences. You aren’t allowed to eat or drink so be mindful of that. After you exit the main gardens through the “flowery fountain circle” as I call it, you can sit on the grass under the shade of trees.

How long will it take me to cover the whole area?

Around 3 hours or a little more.

Are there eateries nearby, after I’m done?

You can go to Pandara Road or Bengali Market from there; auto fare ~Rs. 50-60.

Cool. Let’s get on with the pictures:

Definitely. The first installment of pictures is here, with the Bonsais and the musical fountain and some flowers that I liked. I didn’t click any pictures in the herb garden because I wasn’t sure we were allowed to. The Rose Garden and the major flower colour blast will come in subsequent posts, within this week. Promise.

So here we go:

This is just a glimpse. Pictures can never do justice to the reality. You must visit the Mughal Gardens if you can. The roses are the size of soup bowls, the Dahlias are larger than my face. There are many flowers that you may not have heard of, but the sheer variety and the explosion of colour and the buzz of bees is intoxicating. You will have to battle crowds, but every moment would be worth it. We were tired beyond belief being on our feet all day, but we were grinning ear to ear when we got back home. I will definitely visit next year if I can!

Until I’m back with the next load of pictures, take care!

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