City Hangout – Rose Garden of England, Lodhi Gardens
Celebrating the English rose.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is possible to feel romantic about Delhi summer. Just hang out at the Rose Garden in Lodhi Gardens.
This central Delhi park is famous for its tombs and trees, ducks and birds. Nobody so far has gone sentimental over its Rose Garden. “Few people beside the rose-fanciers bother to visit it,” said author Khushwant Singh of this secretive corner in The Sunset Club, a novel about longtime friends who meet every evening in Lodhi Gardens.
Tucked on the park’s north side, this is a fairy land of roses–from clichéd dark-red varieties to the most unearthly shades of white, which look like snow-flakes. The flowerbeds spread out like rays of sun with a circular lot at the center. Two ruins of insignificant historical worth stand on the side—always teeming with secretive Romeos and Juliets.
The Lodhi roses bore no resemblance to the rough battered Indian roses offered in the city’s temples and Sufi shrines. They are English roses–as gardener Mangey Lal told The Delhi Walla. He talked of watering the flowers every third day during the summer. He said that 13 species of roses were planted in the Lodhi Gardens 40 years ago.
Since Rose Garden remains in bloom throughout the year, you must visit it in steaming June as well as in freezing December to get inspiration on how to survive elegantly in Delhi’s hostile weather.
A warm breeze had unsettled the garden during the afternoon of my visit. The flowers were tossing like drunken party dandies. It was comforting to realize that they would survive the summer.
The foreign settlers
3. (gardeners of Lodhi Gardens)