The Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens — popularly known as the Mughal Gardens was renamed as Amrit Udyan on January 28, 2023.
“On the occasion of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the President of India is pleased to give a common name to the Rashtrapati Bhawan gardens as Amrit Udyan,” Navika Gupta, Deputy Press Secretary to President Droupadi Murmu said in a statement here.
The gardens are thrown open for the public for a limited period during spring each year. On Sunday, in presence of President Ms. Murmu the garden will be opened for public and it will remain open till March 26.
Designed by Edwin Lutyens — the iconic garden is spread across 15-acres and it incorporates both Mughal and English landscaping styles. The main garden has two channels intersecting at right angles dividing the garden into grid of squares- a Charbagh (a four cornered garden)- a typical characteristic of the Mughal landscaping. There are six lotus shaped fountains at the crossings of these channels rising to a height of 12 feet. The gardens house nearly 2500 varieties of Dahlias and 120 varieties of roses.
Architect KT Ravindran said that the decision to rename the gardens is “certainly inappropriate” “The garden is designed in Persian style of landscaping or what we call as ‘‘Mughal Gardens”. In fact, Edward Lutyens who designed the Viceroy’s House, what we call today as Rashtrapati Bhawan had deliberately used Mughal architectural details as part of the British appeasement plan. So, you will see Chajja (dripstone), the chattri (domed kiosk), the jali (pierced screen) and many other Indian architectural features liberally used there,” Mr. Ravindran explained.
During the term of former Presidents Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Ram Nath Kovind more gardens were developed including- two herbal gardens, a tactile garden and a Bonsai Garden. President Kalam had also constructed a Manipuri style thinking hut at the gardens, where he claimed he wrote two of his books. In 2010, after return of the Congress led UPA government, an expert restoration committee- demolished the hut since the committee felt that it interfered with the original design. One of the modern-day musical fountains that President Kalam had installed was also removed since the committee felt that it defiled the heritage character of the gardens.