FORMERLY THE LADY WILLINGDON PARK, LODI COLONY, NEW DELHI, INDIA.
Delhi’s oldest garden: Lodi Gardens.
The Lodi Gardens is a 90 acres natural paradise popular with the residents of Delhi for its lush greenery as well as historical attractions.
FACT FILE: LODI GARDENS, INDIA.
Type: Historical Garden.
Locale: Lodi Colony, New Delhi, India.
Popular for: Relaxing, picnics, lover’s nest.
Monuments: Afghan and early Mughal era.
The garden was created by Mari Freeman Thomas, the wife of the Governor General of British India, and later underwent major landscape renovation by American architect Joseph Allen Stein then Japanese landscape engineers. Presently, it is one of the best maintained gardens in the city with meadows, boulevards, a water canal and an artificial lake covering its expansive frame along with a spattering of ancient architecture dating back to the 15th century. People visit for a variety of reasons including bird watching, photography, outdoor study sessions, picnics, early morning strolls or to linger around in the peaceful natural surroundings to heal tired senses (see the Farbound.Net snippet: Quack goes the garden). During the day, the premises is a love nest for couples.
Inaugurated on 9th April, 1936, and known as the Lady Willingdon Park (see Farbound.Net snippet: Asia’s best urban Utopia), the garden was renamed after independence as Lodi Gardens, as a passing tribute to the Lodi Rulers, whose tombs are located within its premise. It is Delhi’s oldest garden and often referred to as the best Urban Utopia.
Currently under the care and protection of the Archaeological Survey of India, the ancient architecture within the garden comes from the period of the Delhi Sultanate (15th century) and the early Mughal Empire.
Notable among the structures is the mausoleum of Sikandar Lodi, the first garden tomb to be built in India (see Farbound.Net: Mausoleum of Sikandar Lodi).The Friday Mosque, a prototype that ushered in a new trend in architecture (see Farbound.Net: The one that started a trend).The beautiful and unique eight sided tomb of Mohammad Shah (see Farbound.Net: The mausoleum of Mohhamad Shah Sayyid).
Other structures worth looking-up is a functional Mughal period eight pier bridge, which is still in use. The Bara Gumbad, a huge two story tomb without a grave stone. The Sheesh Gumbad, another large tomb constructed with shards of coloured glass and housing the graves of an unknown family. The glasshouse designed by the architect Joseph Allen Stein.
There is also a single surviving guard tower within the premises possibly from the Delhi Sultanate period. The ruins of a Mughal era mosque with an enclosed garden. And the original Lady Wellington Park gate from 1936.
Once situated on the outskirts of British Delhi. Lodi Gardens is located at Lodi Colony, Central Delhi. It can be easily reached via road from all corners as long as you know the directions. Nearby neighbourhoods that help as landmarks include: Khan Market, Connaught Place, Safdurjung Airport, Jor Bagh and INA. Closest metro station is the Jor Bagh metro station, and the little distant Central Secretariat Metro Station. Hailing an auto rickshaw from either will get you to the ‘garden’ in minutes.
The park is open all days and does not charge any fee for visiting or photography. The park can be visited from early in the morning to late in the evening. Visitors drop in for early morning strolls, light exercises, yoga classes, pet walking, study groups, informal meetings, reading, relaxing, photography, bird watching, touring monuments and picnic lunches. Couples are frequent throughout the day.
Travel Tip: While Lodi Gardens with its dense natural foliage fends off the scorching Delhi heat somewhat and lets visitors explore the area in summers, the best season to visit during the day, however, is winters. For the best experience in summers, early morning is the best time to visit.