Lonely Planet Writer

Delhi park containing World Heritage monuments reopens after ten years

Following an epic, decade-long restoration project, a heritage park in the Indian capital of Delhi has reopened its doors to the public. The Sunder Nursery covers a mammoth 90 acres, and is home to a whole host of monuments, some of which date back to the 16th century.

The park has been lovingly restored over ten years. Image by Aga Khan Development Network

“The late landscape architect Prof. Mohammad Shaheer designed this new city park along a central axial spine, around which gardens and landscapes are arranged”, explains Archana Saad Akhtar, Senior Programme Officer at Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). “Water features, ponds and lakes are part of the masterplan, as well as nursery beds, a flower showcase, arboretum, rose garden and orchards.”

One of the Sunder Nursery’s pretty water features. Image by Aga Khan Development Network

The restoration included careful conservation of several ancient structures, as Archana explains. “Within the Sunder Nursery / Batashewala complex stand 15 monuments, including tombs, garden pavilions, wells, and even a 16th century lotus pond. As part of the partnership project, all these monuments – including six of national importance protected by the Archaeological Survey of India – have been painstakingly conserved, and as a result are today designated as World Heritage monuments.”

Six monuments in the park have Unesco World Heritage Status. Image by Aga Khan Development Network

There’s an amphitheatre in the Park too, which Archana says will host various cultural events and performances. “The Garden Amphitheatre aims to provide a platform for local musicians and music traditions within this picturesque setting. There’ll be a calendar of events from 2019 onwards, featuring heritage and ecology walks, conservation, exhibitions, craft fairs, public lectures and film screenings, and other innovative ways to attract the public.”

Visitors will find both formal landscapes and forested biodiversity zones. Image by Aga Khan Development Network

Since the park opened last month, Archana says it’s been incredibly well-received. “What makes the site unique is that it has both formal landscapes and forested biodiversity zones”, she says. “With over 280 native tree species, 20 acres of nursery beds, 80 bird and 36 butterfly species, the Sunder Nursery offers something to every kind of visitor.”