Delhi: Roshanara Bagh to get a makeover with Sunder Nursery | Latest Delhi News
Since opening in its rejuvenated avatar in the winters of 2018, the Sunder Nursery – Southeast Delhi’s heritage garden – has redefined public open spaces in the nation’s capital. For a heavily crowded capital hungry for open green spaces, the 90-acre park has become a successful example of an urban renewal project.
With historic landscapes of restored monuments, a lush British-era nursery, manicured gardens, a lakeside café and biodiversity areas – the green haven adjoining Nizamuudin has something for everyone – from families looking for places to picnic to youngsters looking for the perfect setting for their reels.
The city authorities are currently working on setting up a similar blue-green infrastructure in the northern part of the city. Spread over 57 acres, the 17th-century Roshanara Bagh – a garden developed by the second daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan and Queen Mumtaz Mahal – is now poised for a turnaround.
The original garden was designed and commissioned by the princess in the 1650s when the city of Shahjahanabad (walled city) was being built, and the baradari in the center of the garden now serves as her resting place. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which oversees the park, and other government agencies are undertaking multiple projects to rejuvenate the neglected space, such as reviving a dead lake and building a modern nursery.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena also visited the garden last week (June 18) announcing that the restored landscaped greens at Roshanara Bagh will be on par with Lodhi Garden.
MCD’s horticulture department has been tasked with developing a modern, world-class nursery on a vacant 8.5-acre space in the Roshanara Bagh that will showcase rare exotic plants and supply over 300,000 plants to the city each year.
A senior MCD horticulturist working on the project said that over the next 3-4 months, two polyhouse system units will be developed where air and weather conditions will be maintained to grow rare plant species. “The ideal conditions for plant cultivation are 25-30° Celsius with appropriate media. These polyhouses will focus on rare varieties that cannot be propagated in open media. A list of 150 plant types has been finalized” , the official said.
He added that the project will involve recreational aspects and provide subsidized plants for visitors. It will be connected to the heritage part of the garden as well as to the new lake being developed so that visitors can spend several hours in the cafeteria, discover the monuments and the new lake which should open by December. The first phase of the project is expected to cost ₹60-70 lakh.
The historic Bagh has a lake, now dead, with 17th century Mughal monuments, canal systems and pavilions forming a backdrop. The garden is laid out according to the Persian pattern in which paradise (jannat) is believed to be laid out in mystical Islam – a layout that was used by Shah Jahan when building the Taj Mahal around the same time.
The Delhi Jal Board as part of its City of Lakes project is undertaking a lake revival project to redeem the dead dry lake bed. A senior DJB official associated with the City of Lakes project said the tender for the Roshanara project was awarded about three months ago and the civil works were at an advanced stage. “50% of the construction work on the development of a decentralized STP has been completed. The plant will have a cleaning capacity of 2.25 million liters of drainage water per day which will be conveyed to the lake,” the official explained.
As part of the Rs11-crore project, a physico-chemical treatment plant is being set up which will act as a source of water for the lake. In its previous avatar, the lake was fed by rainwater and channels from the Najafgarh drain, but with the change in sloping surfaces in the surroundings and increased concretion, it dried up.
The Roshanara Bagh also has a raised channel system with flowering plants on both sides. The canal system also dried up in the absence of a water reservoir. “Once the lake reaches a healthy stage, the plan to relaunch canals using its waters can be resumed,” an official said.
The former North MCD had attempted to revive the lake using the excess groundwater seepage from the digging of the Metro line section for Phase 4, but this could not prove be a long term solution. An MCD official said boating will be allowed in the lake and a lakeside cafe is also on the cards. A meeting with the Agha Khan Foundation also took place about two weeks ago to learn from their experience at the Sunder nursery, but MCD officials said the civic body would try to keep the space materialized to a minimum.
The cleaning of the monuments which will come in the last phase next year will be resumed with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The elite Roshanara Club, which was established here in 1922 by colonial administrators, spans 22 acres. It has been a premier cricket venue since 1927 and is also considered the birthplace of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The parks need the hour
The total green cover of Delhi is 342 km2, but the area of the parks is only 81.23 km2. The draft master plan for Delhi-2041 states that in all districts except New Delhi, park space per capita is less than 9.5 m², which is the benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization. health for green spaces per inhabitant in urban areas. Fayaz Khudsar, lead scientist at Yamuna Biodiversity Park, said there is a clear appetite for blue-green infrastructure in the city that can serve conservation, be educational and recreational at the same time. “The city’s seven biodiversity zones are a clear example of this. When we invest money for the development of such infrastructure, we must focus on creating quality green spaces that serve the public. Before the pandemic, the Yamuna Biodiversity Park alone received around 0.25 million visitors per year. Encouraging steps are also seen in Kamala Nehru Ridge, Neela Hauz, Tilpat Valley. Restoring these wetlands will capture more water and help Delhi achieve a more sustainable resilient environment,” he said.