Aryan (my super cute five-year-old nephew): These big people (which means in his language-elders) are so mean. They make a group in the center of the park, putting aside less space for us to play. And if a ball hits anyone of them, they will scream at the top of their voice and keep on threatening: “Agar ball lagi toh tere mummy ko bata dungi” (If your ball hits me next time, I will tell it to your mom). I get so irritated.
Me: If you and your friends are having so many problems, why don’t you go to some other park in the area?
Aryan: Bua (Hindi word meaning Aunty), in every garden of our area, the situation is same. In some, there are so many mosquitoes, while others are packed with the cars. I want to play in such a park where there are fountains, water bodies, loads of flowers and zero cars.
Keeping in mind Aryan’s idea of a perfect park, I googled about the list of gardens in India. To my surprise, I found a good number of places that are worth a visit with family and friends. And that’s when I decided to write this blog so that these inspirational, uplifting, educational and simply gorgeous gardens get some attention. So let us have a look at some of these places.
Since Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir are Aryan’s favorite gardens, they deserve to be on the top of my list. He (Aryan) said to me in a polite voice, “Bua (Aunty), do include those beautiful gardens in Kashmir.” Aryan went to Kashmir last year for the summer holidays, and this proves that he loved the place. Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh & Chashma Shahi together forms the famous Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir. And defy every superlative you can think of. The beauty of these gardens is just not limited to its manicured lawns; the grand yet exquisite Persian style of architecture is equally beautiful. With big fountains and small water bodies sprinkled in the garden, Shalimar, and Nishat Bagh are quite similar to Persian gardens. Chashm-e-Shahi Bagh is renowned for its freshwater springs, which have therapeutic benefits. The picturesque beauty of the garden has been the background of many Bollywood movies.
Timings (all the three parks): 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM, Friday Closed
Built in typical Persian style architecture by Fidai Khan, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s architect, Yadavindra Garden is one of the best Mughal gardens in India. Better known as Pinjore Garden, the park is laid in the form of steps around the central fountain. Best time to visit the garden is during the Pinjore Heritage Festival, an annual cultural festival initiated by Haryana tourism. A visit to the museum and zoo (near the park) is a must. Located on Chandigarh-Shimla highway, Yadavindra Gardens has always been a pit spot for travelers going to Shimla or Kasauli. Taxis and other forms of local transport are available to Pinjore from the station. If you’re on a full day excursion to Yadavindra, hotels are easily available to book the stay.
Location: Ambala-Shimla Highway, Pinjore, Haryana 134102
Timings: 7:00 AM to 10 PM *Timings are subject to change
Colours, serenity, sculptures made of flowers and movie worthy walkways across 40 acres- that’s what best defines the most diverse garden in South Asia- Lalbagh. Located in the south part of Bengaluru, Lalbagh was laid out by Hyder Ali, one of the most famous rulers of old Mysore and the father of Tipu Sultan. Later, John Cameron, the garden superintendent in the 1870’s imported several more species from Kews Garden in London. Don’t let the 1,854 species of plants confuse you. If there’s something you shouldn’t miss here then it has to the equestrian statue of Chamarajendra Wadiyar of Mysore, and floral clock surrounded by snow white and the seven dwarfs. Every year in January and August, the garden organizes the famous biannual flower shows. The park is easily approachable by bus. You can also visit Vidhana Soudha, which is hardly 4 kilometers from Lalbagh.
Location: Lalbagh, Bangalore, Karnataka 560004
Timings: For Walkers:
Morning: 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Evening: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Timings: For Public: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Barely known to people, Chaubatia Garden’s orchards are a sight to behold. The garden is so beautiful that it even compelled British Viceroy, Lord Mayo to establish a cantonment in Ranikhet. Two hundred varieties of flowers and fruits cultivate in the park. Take a walk in the neighboring picturesque 600-acre forest; its trails are sprinkled with the silver oak, rhododendron, cypress, cedar, and pine trees. You can also visit the cafe inside the garden that provides a relaxed sitting arrangement for the travelers with a panoramic view of garden against the Himalaya. Don’t forget to pick honey, fruits and juices from the Chaubatia Garden.
Location: 10 km south of Ranikhet, Almora, Uttarakhand 263645
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM, Open all days
Open for public with its full splendor only in March and April, Rashtrapati Bhavan Mughal Gardens is widely known as the most beautiful garden in Delhi. This terraced garden with watercourses and fountains is built on three levels. If your kids love to see full bloom tulips and sweet-smelling roses (somewhere like Aryan) then do visit Mughal Garden as here they can see around 70 varieties of seasonal flowers. Moreover, here you can find an herbal garden that boasts 33 medicinal and aromatic plants, a bonsai garden with about 250 plants, a cactus garden and a musical garden with 12 fountains. When on a visit to Mughal Garden, don’t carry water bottles, briefcases, handbags, ladies’ purses, cameras, radios, transistors, boxes, umbrellas, and eatables.
Location: Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 110004
March and April: 09:30 AM to 04:00 PM
Rock Garden is a unique entry in the list as here you will find not only the usual manicured gardens but also the 2000 sculptures that are created using broken glass bangles, broken bathroom sinks, discarded junk, bicycle frames and stones that were left over by 50-odd-villages, which were destroyed in the making the city. The concept of this one of its kind garden was orchestrated by Nek Chand, who was then the road inspector of Chandigarh. The labyrinthine interior of the Nek Chand Rock Garden looks like a fantasy land and has narrow gullies, amphitheatres, bridges, staircases, a spectacular waterfall and an ethnic market at the end. Also, if you have some extra minutes at your disposal, take your kids to Sukhna Lake for boating, which is two kilometres away from Rock Garden, on a battery operated rickshaw.
Location: Uttar Marg, Sector 1, Chandigarh 160010
October to March: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
April to September: 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM
One of the finest examples of intelligent ecotourism, Jodhpur’s Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park is built with a purpose to restore and depict the natural diversity of the region. And preserve the rocky trails of Jodhpur around the fort. Located at the foot of the Mehrangarh fort, here one can find a good variety of plants. Area of the park is crisscrossed with several narrow alleyways that will take you to the Devkund Lake, which is quite famous for spotting local birds, butterflies, and reptiles. The visitors’ center is thoughtfully put; you should also visit the cafe inside the park. For an exhilarating aerial perspective of the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, go for the guided zip tour around Mehrangarh Fort, this also passes through Rao Jodha Park. Through this tour, you can also see the glimpses of Mehrangarh Fort’s rare areas.
Location: Fort Road, Jodhpur
April to September: 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM
October to March: 8:00 AM to 05:30 PM
When I was searching about Kamala Nehru Park on the internet, Aryan was sitting next to me. Then comes this image of a huge image and Aryan started shouting at the top of his voice “I want to see this place, please take me here.” Located on the top of Mumbai’s posh Malabar Hill, Kamla Nehru Park is a famous tourist hotspot. Apart from its prominent shoe structure, the park has well-maintained lawns adorned with colorful flowers. Since the park is located on the top of a hill, the park is a pretty good retreat during the monsoon season and offers a spectacular view of Chowpatty Beach and Marine Drive.
Location: Malabar Hill, BG Kher Road, Mumbai, 400006, Maharashtra
Timings: 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Located a level below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, Brindavan Gardens is the most unique and exciting garden in the list. Unique because of its symmetric design, and exciting because of the beautifully orchestrated show with colorful lights, music and harmonious that is scheduled here in the evening. Boating facility is also available in the Brindavan Garden. A visit to the fruit orchard and horticulture farms, next to the park is a must. Best time to visit the garden is after sunset as one can view the fountain show and enjoy a pleasant evening.
Location: KRS Dam Road, Mysore, Karnataka 571607
January to September
Monday to Friday: 7:00 AM to 7:55 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM
October to December
Monday to Friday: 7:00 AM to 8:55 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM
After looking at the pictures of Mehtab Bagh, I realized that most of the movies, which shows the visuals of Taj Mahal, have been shot here. On the east bank of Yamuna River, Mehtab Bagh is one of the last eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna. Mehtab Bagh is located between the two gardens – Chahar Bagh Padshshi and Second Chahar Bagh Padshahi, thus offering the beautiful view of Taj Mahal. According to the historical records, the park was formed by Emperor Babur, way before when Taj Mahal was built. In this 25-acre park, one can find manicured lawns and many water bodies. The park often remains crowded with couples for the candid photoshoot.
Location: Near, Taj Mahal, Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Nagla Devjit, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, 282001
Timings: Sunrise to Sunsets
A prominent haunt for early risers, yoga enthusiasts, history lovers, photographers, joggers, political bigwigs and bureaucrat, Lodhi Garden is sprawling green oasis in the heart of Lutyens Delhi. In 1936, a manicured park adorned with flowers and pathways were laid out around the imposing 15-century tombs of Sayyid and Lodi dynasties, Delhi’s last sultans. And entitled it, Willingdon Park. After independence, name of the park changed to Lodhi Garden. Also, here one can see finest Mughal architecture in the form of tombs like Shish Gumbad, Bara Gumbad, Muhamad Shah Sayyid and Sikandar Lodhi. Don’t be shocked, if you find celebrities enjoying some leisure time here. For a quick meal, you can visit the Lodi – the garden restaurant or restaurants in Indian Habitat Center. To introduce your kids to grand history of India, a visit to Lodhi Garden can prove to be a fun-filled experience.
Location: Prathviraj Road Area, Lodhi Garden, New Delhi 110003
Park remains open for tourists throughout the day.
Do you remember those blushing tulip fields where Amitabh Bachan and Rekha sang tender melodies in Silsila? Well, that was neither Netherland nor Japan, it was the beauty of Asia’s largest tulip garden- Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden or Siraj Bagh. Hop, skip and jump away from Dal Lake, Siraj Bagh’s five-hectare area is adorned with more than 70 types of tulips and roses. Walking along the swaying tulips, relaxing by the lake and watching the bird are amongst the things to do on a visit to the park. The park is a sight to behold during the Tulip Festival, one of the largest tulip festival in Asia, which happens in the month of April. The park is easily accessible by road.
Location: Jammu and Kashmir, Cheshma Shahi Road, Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Do you know that about this park in India where you can touch dinosaur remains and hold a 65-million-year-old egg in your hands? That’s true. And it can only happen in Balasinor Dinosaur Fossil Park, which is also referred as India’s Jurassic Park. It is a fossilized dinosaur nesting ground, where you can see fossil egg rings, real dinosaur egg fossil, supposed fossilized remains of skin, and other bones. According to Paleontologists, at least seven dinosaur species used to live here. Till now 10,000 dinosaur eggs has been uncovered from here, which makes Raiyoli the third largest hatchery in the world. On a visit to the park, make a point to lay your hand on 65 million-year-old egg fossil, one of its kind experiences. Balasinor is 87 kilometers from Ahmedabad. If tourists are planning a full day visit to the garden, they can find a good number of accommodation options close to the park.
Location: Balasinor Dinosaur Fossil Park, Mahisagar
Tucked in the blue mountains of Nilgiris, Government Botanical Garden is amongst the finest botanical gardens in India. Located at an elevation of 2250–2500 meters, this 22-hectare land is divided into different sections- Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries. The park was designed by William Graham McIvo in 1848. In the park, you can lay your eyes on 127 species of ferns; three hundred varieties of hybrid tea roses, Floribunda and Polyanthas, and arboretums. Don’t forget to see the carpet-bet design of the map of the Indian Union laid out with selective plants and 20 million-year-old fossil trunk. Best time to visit Government Botanical Garden is during the month of May as this when its hosts the famous flower show to display its rich flora in different varieties and colors. You can also visit the artificial lake for boating, which is hardly a kilometre away from the park. Another attraction here is the Toda tribe settlement towards the top of the garden.
Location: Nilgiris, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 643001
Timings: 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM, Open all days
Here comes the last attraction of the list…. Tucked in the blue mountains of Nilgiris, Government Botanical Garden is amongst the finest botanical gardens in India. Located at an elevation of 2250–2500 meters, this 22-hectare land is divided into different sections – Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries. The park was designed by William Graham McIvo in 1848. In the park, you can lay your eyes on 127 species of ferns; three hundred varieties of hybrid tea roses, Floribunda and Polyanthas, and arboretums. Don’t forget to see the carpet-bet design of the map of the Indian Union laid out with selective plants and 20 million-year-old fossil trunk. Best time to visit Government Botanical Garden is during the month of May as this when its hosts the famous flower show to display its rich flora in different varieties and colors. You can also visit the artificial lake for boating, which is hardly a kilometer away from the park. Another attraction here is the Toda tribe settlement towards the top of the garden.
Location: Shibpur, Howrah, West Bengal 711103
Timings: 07:30 AM to 05:00 PM, Thursday Closed
Finally, I have completed my list! If you think that there are some gardens, which deserves to be on the list then please feel free to add your thoughts to this blog by posting your comments. And if you find this post useful and interesting, you can share the blog with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.