In Mughal times, the northern part of Delhi
was a vast expanse of greenery, with a number of beautiful orchards and
gardens, before it merged with the agricultural belt. These were the
favorite summer escapades of the Emperor and his nobles as well as the
During the spring season, the ladies of the court would gather over here, in all their finery, to celebrate the many festivals of this season such as Raksha Bandhan , Basant Panchami and Teej. While celebrating seasonal festivals these gardens would become their exclusive domain, with swings all over and the sound of their songs filtering out to the streets of the town.
Begum Ka Bagh
In 1650, Shahjahan's lovely daughter, Jahanara laid out this lovely garden in the very heart of the walled city. It comprises of water pools, aqueducts and fountains. 'Chuttries' or covered canopies were built at vital places to provide shady resting-places. There are flowering bushes and fruit trees all round. The grounds are watered by Ali Mardan's famous canal.
The later Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II gifted a portion of this garden to his mother, Begum Samro, who built a palace here. This building is now known as Bhaghirath Palace and contains a complete market inside it.
The younger sister of Jahanara built this garden, which was also named after her. A raised canal passed through it, lined on both sides by flowering plants. The garden was dark and mysterious and the princess was so much in love with it that after her death she was buried inside it, in a raised pavilion built with white marble. The British liked this garden so much that they built an elite club in the middle of it and to this day it is known as the Roshanara Club.
Located just outside Kashmiri Gate, Tees Hazari is counted among one of the many gardens that were built by Shahjahan. It was built in traditional style with neem trees all round. There were also many other lovely trees planted at approving corners. Shahjahan gifted this garden to his favorite daughter Jahanara. In the later years, Aurangzeb too gave it to his daughter Zeb-un-nisa as her 'zagir'. This garden was badly ravaged by the British before and after the mutiny of 1857. Today, it is the site of Delhi's Session Court.
Qudsia Garden till this day is known as one of the largest and spacious gardens outside Kashmiri Gate. The flower plants and trees were nicely laid out and well cared for. In spring season, it would be a feast for the eyes, with flowers blooming in full glory and the air scented with their heady perfume. A portion of the garden was set-aside for roses, and in another part was a large orchard with many types of fruit trees.
There were cascades, waterfalls and canals, through which an incessant stream of clear water played with the sunlight. Three imposing gates and a baradari or balcony helped to set off the garden.
This garden was laid out, and Qudsai Begum, wife of Mohammad Shah, built the buildings constructed within the garden during the reign of her son Ahmed Shah. Inside the garden was a huge palace, which was a solid and substantial structure, richly ornamented.