The “Mughal Gardens” of Rashtrapati Bhavan have been renamed “Amrit Udyan” by the government of India. President Draupadi Murmu inaugurated “Udyan Utsav-2023” on Sunday to open the gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan, including Amrit Udyan, to the common people. This garden opens to the public once a year, and this time from January 31 on, you can visit it.
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A statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday said that Amrit Udyan will be open for visitors from 10:00 am to 04:00 pm from January 31 to March 26.
According to the statement, from March 28 to 31, the garden will remain open for people belonging to special categories. The garden will be open on March 28 for farmers, March 29 for Divyang, defense, and paramilitary forces, March 30 for police personnel, and March 31 for women, including self-help groups of tribal women.
Before renaming the Mughal Gardens, Amrit Udyan, the government last year renamed Delhi’s iconic Rajpath as ‘Karthavya Path’. The Center says that the change in the names of these things is an attempt to remove traces of a colonial mindset.
How to get entry to Amrit Udyan
People who wish to visit the gardens can book their slots online in advance. However, visitors can get entry to the gardens even if they do not book slots online. They will be required to register at the facilitation counter near Gate No. 2 of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Rashtrapati Bhavan said in the statement that it is advised for all visitors to book their slots online in advance to avoid crowding and save time. The entry and exit will be from Gate No. 35 of the President’s Estate.
The Story of the Amrit Udyan
After renaming the Mughal Gardens, the Rashtrapati Bhavan Secretariat also updated its website, giving a brief history of the famous garden on the website. The description reads, “Spread over a vast expanse of 15 acres, Amrit Udyan has often been portrayed, and deservedly so, as the soul of the Presidential Palace.”
The history of the famous Rashtrapati Bhavan Gardens dates back to the construction of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (built initially as the Viceroy’s House) which was designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. In 1911, King George held a grand Durbar in Delhi, where he announced the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker built the Viceroy’s House, North Block and South Block in the centre of New Delhi, giving shape to the new imperial capital. After independence, the Viceroy’s House became Rashtrapati Bhavan and the ‘King’s Way’ stretching from Raisina Hill to India Gate was renamed Rajpath.
Amrit Udyan is inspired by the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal, and the miniature paintings of India and Persia. The description states that Sir Edwin Lutyens finalized the design of the gardens as early as 1917. However, the plantation was completed in 1928–1929. The associate director of horticulture for the Mughal Gardens was William R. Musto.
The way Rashtrapati Bhavan buildings combine two different Indian and Western styles of architecture similarly, Lutyens planted the gardens by bringing together two different horticultural traditions, the Mughal style and the English style. The Mughal-era canals, gardens, and flower beds have been beautifully blended with European-style flower gardens and lawns.
What to expect at Amrit Udyan
Basically, the gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan consist of East Lawn, Central Lawn, the Long Garden, and the Circular Garden. Amrit Udyan is spread over 5 acres and has more than 50 varieties of roses, tulips, and Asiatic lilies. There are daffodils and other ornamental flowers. During the tenure of former Presidents, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Ram Nath Kovind, several gardens named Herbal-I, Herbal-II, Bonsai Garden and Arogya Vanam were developed. This year’s garden festival, among many other attractions, visitors will be able to see 2 unique varieties of specially grown tulips.
Roses are still a prominent feature of the famous gardens. 159 famous varieties of roses are grown in the gardens, which bloom mainly in February and March. The garden has 60 of the 100 known types of Bougainville. The grass covering the gardens is doob grass which was originally imported from Calcutta to be planted in the Mughal Gardens.
The description on the website says, “The garden has about 50 varieties of trees, shrubs and vines including maulshree tree, golden rain tree, torch tree and many more.” At present, More than 300 permanent and temporary staff are deployed for the development and maintenance of the gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan.