Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Walking in Roshanara Bagh ,Old Delhi

It was when I was idly looking at my Delhi map (available free at tourism offices and the airport) that I saw a green patch labelled Roshanara Bagh.

Roshanara Bagh!

Built by Shah Jahans beautiful, talented and ruthless younger daughter, this eponymous garden is where she both relaxed and carried out her schemes. It is here that she came with a procession of richly decorated elephants to while away the hot summer months. Set in the dry and dusty plains of the Yamuna, the garden must have had all the cool sparkle of an emerald.

Despite reading about it in the 'City of Djinns', I was astounded that it still existed. On a  map. With a metro stop close by.

And so it is that I and a camera hopped on the Red line to the Pul Bangash metro station. I wish I knew how the area got its name, because it sounds like there is a story behind it. All I could find is that Bangash is the name of a Pashtun tribe, but nothing about a Mr.Pul.

I got there and tugged the sleeve of the first cycle rickshaw-wallah I could find. 'Can you take me there?' and for 20Rs, he did.

The garden might be a little dusty today, but since both the garden and its surroundings have degenerated with time, it still offers respite.

Its located off a busy circle on Roshanara road, and once you get in, the traffic seems far away. There are some horrible new additions (the 'sports maidan' gate, for instance), but if you squint, the old garden is still visible.

The structure of the garden, with its symmetrical partitions reminds you of its mughal origins. The cycas trees have not grown much since Roshanara last conversed with her spies. The mulberry tree might then have been a seed dropped by a bird.

The visitors have changed. There are cricket playing boys now. Families with stainless steel tiffins relax under the trees.

The residents have not changed much. Squirrels and mynahs and mongooses and hawks. They interrupted picnics then, and do so now.


Unmana said...

"Pul" means bridge, doesn't it? It must be the bridge of the Bangash, then!

kavita said...

Unmana is on the right track.. apparently the Bangash tribe originally from the NWFP were pushed eastward by a rival tribe.. made their way to Delhi.. camped and settled around Pul Bangash -hence the name!

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