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The Garden of Five Senses (India)

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Address: Said-ul-Ajaib / M.B. Road / New Delhi / India / Tel: +91 11 65651083

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      13.05.2010 19:03
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      A lovely outing for anyone who likes gardening and gardens

      With its unmatched splendor and unpolluted green expanse, The Garden of Five Senses in New Delhi lives up to its name. Tucked away in the village of Said-ul-Ajaib in New Delhi is a pristine space of great natural beauty. Set against the backdrop of large rocks that are part of the Aravallis, the Garden of Five Senses is filled with nearly 315 species of trees and shrubs. This park is developed by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation and inaugurated in 2003. The park is not just a leisure space but also allows for other activities including exploration and interaction.

      I was staying at my cousin's place for a month and was looking out for interesting things that can be done nearby. So while reading a newspaper I saw an advertisement regarding the Garden Festival in 'The Garden of Five senses'. I never heard about this park before. But being a nature lover I really wanted to go in this festival. And fortunately this garden was not so far from my cousin's place. So we without thinking about anything just left the home, took the metro and in 15 minutes we reached the place.

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      ENTRANCE
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      As we enter through the main gate of the 20-acre park, not too big for a garden, but then not too small considering the location it is in, we are welcomed by a couple of Mexican cotton trees and a wish tree. At the entrance there is a 5 pillar gate which symbolizes the name of Garden of Five senses. On those pillars some art objects are mounted like soaring birds- as right in the centre is a soaring peacock and on adjacent sides are two saras birds. All objects are built with stainless steel material. As we looked down at the ground and walked forward inside the garden we saw the multilingual signage i.e. the names of Garden of five senses inscribed on stone plaque in over 50 national as well as International languages.

      To our right is series of elephants bathing in the pool of water depicting the five senses namely sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Stones from different areas of Rajasthan have been brought in especially to make the wall that forms the backdrop of this sculpture. Dotting the manicures lawns and tastefully plated trees in various shapes and sizes are an array of terracotta pots.

      ~~A TREE OF INFINITE KNOWLEDGE~~
      Ficus panda shrubs have been planted in a way to resemble tea gardens from a distance, a brass installation by john bowman stand in the middle of two pathway leading up to the five pillars the five seasons. The structure that is made by John bowman is an upside down tree. The roots of this tree are looking towards the sky. This infinite knowledge resembles a 'champa tree' and doubles up as a fountain by evening. This is a replica of the tree with hydraulic system for flowing water droplets from the roots. For everyone this tree gives a chance to see things in a different way like for children it is fun to see the leaves and flower so closely and for the garden lover it gives an image to pause and contemplate upon for some time.


      ~~THE GARDEN~~
      The 'Khaas bagh' is a formal garden which is rectangular in shape built on the lines of the famous Mughal gardens. Slow streams of water flows in four directions. In garden there is a maze made entirely of hedges in which one can lost while figuring it out. The garden also has 'Neel Bagh' with water lilies in full bloom. Lined up flowering shrubs, the color garden is narrow stretch made of various natural materials in various hues. It was very soothing to wander in these 'Baghs' smelling the surrounding plants.

      Leading your olfactory sense will be the trail of fragrance, which has a wide variety of smells that emanate from the trees and shrubs. At its end, there is a stainless steel sculpture of a multitude of pinwheels. In the tactile portion of the garden, rocks of various shapes, colors and textures have been brought in to stimulate the sense of touch.
      Sunflowers and gaillardia abound in the areas adjoining the channels which have streams of water gushing through them. The Australian bottle brush takes on a red hue when it flowers since the tree is left with only the flowers and none of the leaves.

      Keeping with the theme of roses in landscape at the garden festivals, a bed of roses is being cultivated. Bamboo, cactus and palm courts are cultivated with great care one after the other. There are 23 species of palms in the garden and the authorities are trying to get in more varieties


      ~~SCULPTURES~~
      There are some stone statues of small children made up of white marble named 'Prayer for Peace'. These statues catch the attention before moving forward. This structure is made by the artist who contemplates the heartfelt prayer to God by the children to shower peacefulness in the troubled society. Basically each object or sculpture in the garden gives a chance to contemplate upon in your own way. While moving to different sculptures one after the other, I started feeling as I am in some art gallery that is being organized in the garden. I will tell you next about some of the sculptures that I really liked in the garden apart from others. Though this garden has lots to explore.


      ~~FIVE SEASON DEPICTING FIVE SENSES~~
      There are brass sculptures portraying the five senses through five seasons. First season is summer that stimulates the touch sense by the heat of itself. Then come rains or monsoon that stimulates smell sense by the fragrance of the earth after the first shower. After that autumn comes with its sounds like flutes and drums of the festivals that stimulate sound sense. Them comes dew and winter, in which season crops being harvested and stimulates the taste sense. Lastly spring comes with new flowers and new leaves on trees and plants that stimulate the sight sense.


      ~~WIND CHIME~~Right across is a massive wind chime with hundreds of copper bells swinging in the breeze and creating a wonderful symphony. The bells sit on a double helix spiral metal frame. It is around 30 ft in height. And all bells are having blue colors which are intended to match the color of sky and air as well as the lilies that are blooming in the 'Neel Bagh'. Total bells are 150 and are originally in colored in five shades of blue. One can walk under the frame and see upward into a sea of blue bells stretching into the sky. The darkest blue is on the top and then the lighter shades of blue in the bottom. Each bell has a ceramic bead attached as a ringer and a copper wind catcher. The bell rings as soon as the copper sheet catches the wind.

      From wind chime we reached the highest point of the Garden of Five senses. We had a good trekking experience while climbing on rocks to reach the top of it. We saw the beautiful sunset in the evening which was a delightful experience. From this point we had an excellent view of whole Delhi along with its lush greenery. Then while descending from the rocks we saw a beautiful amphitheater


      ~~AMPHITHEATER~~Against the backdrop of majestic rocks and sandstone blocks stand the garden's spacious amphitheater, which is used for concerts and other cultural events. The natural slope of the area facing the amphitheater aids the seating arrangement of the audience. At the rear of this area is an open exhibition area for displaying art and holding workshops. The Garden of Five Senses plays host to two major festivals annually- the garden festival in February when the flowers are in bloom, Dandiya Festival during Navratri, but Yoga Camp and other cultural shows being organized one after the other.

      ~~SUN DIAL~~This is an Indian vertical sun dial which is based upon an ancient method to show time. It believes that the time shows is quite accurate. It tells the time by the position of the sun with respect to the longitude of the place. It is divided into hours and half hours with the twelve noon in the centre and the morning and after noon on either side. One can find the exact scientific time with the help of this sundial. I really liked the idea that was being executed to create this marvel.


      ~~SOLAR PARK~~ An integral part of the garden is the solar Park located inside the garden's premises. The aim of this park is to promote awareness of renewable source of energy. A 20KW solar power plant is being installed to meet the requirement of the park. Visitors can take a tour of a part of the garden with the help of solar powered buses and bicycles. The charges for solar bus rides are £0.15 each. There is also an exhibit of a micro hydel power plant, besides other exhibits on renewable sources of energy. We also saw solar water heating that has been installed in nine food outlets at food court.

      The Garden is one of the largest commissioners of public art in the country- from terracotta pots to phad walls and metal installations. There are couples of high end restaurants in the garden to give you the sense of taste. Three dining options are available inside it that are - Magique, Baujee ka dhabba and Qba . Every eatable are available in these restaurants and food court, at affordable price, but a little bit hiked in prices as being available outside.


      They are trying to make the place commercially viable so that they can attract more visitors there. And that's why some stores are still under construction. There you can find a store that is being run by beauty expert Shahnaaz Hussain and other stores having clothes by some Indian fashion designers. Some stores have interesting concepts as I have found one that has commodities made up of old newspapers, like bedsheets, curtains, pillows and all that daily use stuff. You will find every thing pretty much expensive in that store as compared to the original merchandise's prices in the market. I wanted to buy one bedsheet from that store but I didn't find any usefulness of it or worth, so I just thought to look around and appreciate the work. But I really liked the concept and would like to see some more stores of its kind.

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      Overall
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      All of the areas have posted notes relating to the specific plants, structure and history which allows generations, young and old to learn a bit as they walk in the garden.
      As we went when a flower festival was going on, we got an opportunity to see and click a lot of colorful flowers which were in full bloom. All in all, it is a fantastic, unique, and good day out - perfect for the family. Learned many things about gardens, different plants and flowers and importantly got a boost in my all senses..!!
      On a lazy day, if this area is not too far from where you stay, you can go for a stroll or to have a nice meal in the natural surroundings.

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      How to be there ?
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      Delhi is well linked by road, rail and air to all parts of the country. After reaching Delhi, you can board buses, rickshaws, autos or even hire a cab to reach Garden of Five Senses. As Metro rail is available now, you can get down at Central Secretariat station and take auto to reach the Garden. I would personally suggest you to take metro as it is convenient, cheap and fast comparably. You can take train too but again you would have to take rickshaw or something to reach there. The nearest railway station is Nizamuddin Railway Station.

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      Other Information
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      ~~Entry fee~~ Adult £0.22 and Child/ Senior citizens £0.15

      ~~Opening Hours~~ The Park is open to the public 365 days a year. 8a.m and 8p.m in winters; 8a.m and 9p.m in summers

      ~~Photography charges~~
      No charges

      So, remember to pay a visit to Garden of Five Senses without fail if you come to Delhi

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