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Gardens of Delhi
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Qudsia Garden by Excellent Hansda, a student of IIT, Roorkee (2017)

Excellent Hansda is a calm and collected person with a lot of curiosity and an unusual name. He was born and raised in Bareilly. He grew up seeing and fascinated by the various buildings and open spaces which forced him to study architecture. Currently, he is studying in Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, and doing a course of Bachelor in Architecture (B.Arch.). Sketching and Painting has always been his hobby since childhood. He plans to do further research on architecture of India. 

I come from an architectural background of academics. Built form and monuments intrigued me. Other aspect what fascinates me about architecture are the open spaces in a city or a town. This is where landscape architecture come into picture and one major part of landscape architecture are the gardens. Gardens are not mere flowers and trees. What we see as a garden today have underwent a lot changes arising from the many principles and forms created by man. Let it be the charbagh Nishat Bagh of Kashmir or the French formal garden of palace of Versailles. They were the jewels of the aristocracies. Now the gardens are more for relaxation and hangout areas of the public. This doesn’t mean that the garden should lose any charm.  
Since Delhi has amazed and inspired many architects. I too fall in the niche of those younger architects. I have tried to merge both of my interest and have come up with this booklet. This booklet provides a mirror of what one feels when he/ she enter into a garden and the overall experience in it.   

Qudsia Garden
In the midst of chaos of a heavily populated city where people run for their work, exists a sublimely beautiful garden, the Qudsia garden, though ignored. It is situated at the north of the city and a few kilometers away from the Kashmere Gate Inter State Bus Terminal. Today only the remains exist which are just an insignificant fraction of the glorious palace which once existed. The garden is named after Qudsia Begum, the wife of emperor Muhammad Shah and the mother of Ahmed Shah Bahadur. She was earlier known by the name Udham Bai, a gifted dancing girl in the courts. Her grace charmed the king and soon he married her. The queen created a pleasure garden known as the Qudsia Bagh, which was a splendor at that time. But the charm of the garden was short-lived.

Let’s have a walk through this garden…
There is a wide lane along with seating on both sides and evergreen ornamental plants on both sides. The lane goes towards the interiors of the garden which gets denser with the increase in the number of trees. Further going ahead the pathway meanders side and side and goes up and done through slopes. There is a sort of mystery which is bound with it through twists and turns, because we never are able to guess what will come next. Thanks to the various sign boards present over there, else a fresher could easily get lost with it. 
Sauntering around the path, one reaches the parks. The lawns have lush green grass and some seating. There are shrubs and flowering plants bed at the periphery. Also there are topiaries in the shape of wild animals. It’s hard to believe that the garden is in the heart of a busy city, when one feels the calmness of this space. Walking forward one reaches the hathi ghar or elephant stable. The building is protected monument as declared by the Archaeological Survey of India. The monument gets hidden by the trees and gives a ghostly looks. The turrets at the front side of the monuments are decadent and are ruined. Walking into the monument there are two stairs which lead to the terrace. Upon reaching the terrace one sees a huge flock of pigeons sitting on the partially destroyed on the small Gumbad at the periphery. The gaunt and haunted quality of space gets accentuated with less number of people visiting the place. Inside the monument are ruined and fallen pillars and mutilated painted and ornamented ceiling. This was the result of the mutiny which took place in 1856. Walking further we reach the office building with sloped roof and exposed brick work, showing off the natural red colour of the brick. Then we reach the Masonic club building. The building was made by the British, today it is privately owned club. The building is white in colour and has colonial architecture.

Garden is filled with variety of birds’ species including peacocks. There is garbage just in the middle of the garden which is an eyesore. The drama which gets created by the beauty of the garden shockingly gets interrupted in between. There is also an entrance gate located in the middle of the garden. The gate was earlier of Mughal architecture but it has been experimented upon by the British. The neoclassical twin spiral component at the front façade appears superficial. The windows and door designs also appears to be colonial and doesn’t fits in the Mughal soul of the building. The garden was originally a charbagh Persian garden. It had four walkways and flowing water canals, dividing the gardens into four lawns with variety of flowers and fruits in it. There were pavilions on which the royalty could sit and admire the gardens. There were palaces, waterfalls, mosque and a summer lodge. The garden was huge and extended till the banks of Yamuna. But with time, it has all devastated.
The mutiny of 1857 created a lot of destruction. The palaces were ruined and the garden was sabotaged. Then with the creation of ISBT and the roadways and the metro lines, the garden lost large parts of lands. The garden shrunken, buildings ruined, water went away and the paradise got lost. After the war, there were major restoration projects held and today the garden is taken care by the Delhi Development Authority, Municipal Corporation and the Archaeological Survey of India. Still the maintenance is not very fine. There is a garbage pit in the middle of the garden which is an eyesore and spreads unpleasant smell. Crimes and theft have been reported and not many people visit the garden. During the winters the gardens gets filled with polluted mist and sometimes makes the landscape a nightmare. It is such a disgrace that the garden wasn’t able to sustain its beauty. Maybe that could be one of the reasons that the garden isn’t much popular among the other gardens. 



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