The Garden of Five Senses, Anand Foundation

The Garden of Five Senses

The Garden of Five Senses is not just a garden it’s a space which supports a variety of events, it creates experiences and explorations. There was an urgent need for a public space so that people could have leisure time and could interact and socialize. So the Delhi Tourism Transportation Corporation took the initiate to create this park. This 20 acres garden, located in Said-ul-Azaib village, close to the Mehurali heritage area is a beacon for the people living in the darkness of anxiety and boredom.

The road leads to Godforsaken parking which looks unpleasant but as we go further we see majestic rocks standing upon the earth showing the structural ingenious of the nature. The rocks are placed in a casual but charming manner. Upon reaching the garden one come across a completely stone paved area with circular punctures from which trees spring out.
What is so lovable about the design is the cheerfulness the garden brings when a lot of attention is brought upon the details. The curvilinear and colorful random rubble masonry walled ticket counters are located towards the right of the entrance gate. There are both ramps and stairs available which provide universal accessibility. The stairs and ramps are also curvy just to create a bonding the curved ticket counter wall and create harmony. Now heading towards the entrance, one sees the variety in the type, colour and materials used in tiles and pavers. The patterns in which the brick tiles are arranged are so inviting, one would forget to look in front, enjoying even looking at the ants wandering on the path. The garden makes full use of the natural slopes present over here and creates undulating and spiral walkways. These walkways are delighting and energy supplier. Just at the entrance is an expansive plaza with red semal trees at the middle of it. It’s lovely to see the trees when they shed all their leaves during the winters and have only pink flowers which shed gradually with the flowing winds. One sees a lot of activities happening in the garden, a sketcher sketching the views and portraits of visitors, a palm reader ready with his equipment and small shops selling bracelets and armlets.

Heading towards right, one reaches another plaza with a number of elephant sculptures taking a water bath. These massive structures look gentle with their smooth edges and water springing upon them. Just at some footsteps is the office building masqueraded behind bottle brush trees and evergreen bushes.

The garden is divided into separate areas: Khaas Bagh, Neel Bagh, Maze, Amphitheatre, Art and Craft exhibition areas, canteen, playground, adventure land, etc. Let’s have a look at each of them. Khaas Bagh, which is derived from the principle of charbagh Mughal gardens. There are a number of straight paths with terraces, when one stands at one end of the pathway he could see the terraced lower end of the walkway flanked by a water cascade in channels along the length of the walkway and trees and shrubs on both sides. There is a fountain just in front of the central axis. There are also advanced lighting system used to create proper ambience during nights and gives the expression of “fountain tree”. At the end of the Khaas Bagh is and Adventure Park which has fun games and small amusement rides for kids.

Walking through the curvy paths to Neel Bagh, one would see a ceremonial arrangement of things. Chimes made up of ceramics placed on a circular piece of land and curvilinear shaped ponds with lovely lilies in it. To reach the chimes one need to go through a bridge made up of stones. The bridge has a modern cubical form. The pond is surrounded by palm trees and further by two curved pergolas with climbers climbing upon it. These pergolas provide a subtle enclosure to the pond. It is pleasing to hear when the soft breezes blew the chimes and the awesome to feel when the breeze touches you.

Going forward one reaches a rather odd site. It’s the Arch of Labna, Inspired from the ancient architecture of Mayans. The first thought which would be like a spaceship has landed on earth. But it has its unique charm; the plain arch with several mouldings, niches and pillars over the facade is able to attract a lot of people to click selfies over there. The dressed stone masonry creation has unique geometrical patterns and forms which are attractive.

Now ambling further there is a path which looks as if not many people have walked through. There are natural stones placed hay why and bronze sculptures of ladies in dancing positions. The bushes grow in wilderness and quite secluded from the garden. It is at the end of the garden, located upon a small hill, when one stands atop it, he could get a view of the cityscape with hire rise apartments of Saket. Now ambulating through another path, one relishes sauntering over the curved ramps. The ramps have supporting structures on both sides. The stone paver arrangements on the path are gentle. There are black slates used to break the monotony of the grey stones. At the end of each spiral supporting structure, there is a small ceramic sculpture placed on a podium. Also the whole spiral walkway is punctuated with trees planted on small square shaped platforms which bring life to the area. Although the walkways becomes confusing sometimes and but they are enjoyable. There are small lights placed under ceramic lanterns placed at specific places.

Finally at the end of the maze, one reaches an herb garden, with a variety of plants in it. Then one reaches the undulating lawns with earth bumps having a number of trees over it. The place here is tranquil and calm. Adjacent to it is a space with statues of children lined up in a row with their hands joined together and eyes closed, summoning God in their prayers. In front of the children is another statue of an open book. The space is covered by trees of palm and ceramic lanterns.

Strolling ahead one reaches a walkway with pergolas all over it covered with climbers of different textures and colors. The walls are made up of random rubble masonry and large punctured windows to create transparency. There are pillars which are steel cladded that holds the pergolas. It is a space with voids and solids. It’s pleasant to see the lights filtering in and creating shadows around the space. The floorings are made up of black tiles and stones. The design is supposedly based on the charbagh pattern with four straight walkways. The walkway then further leads to a curved end which has pillars encircling bamboo shoots emerging out of an eight pointed stars just like the Islamic motifs. The pillars have curved and vertical designs over it. The top of the pillars are joined by a stone semicircular lintel having stone sculptures above it. There are also seating provided at a part of the circumference of the circle.
Moving forward there are a number of structures like bamboo shoots placed in between stone pillars having statues of birds at the top of it. It is a wonderful combination of how the two components of landscape, the hardscape and softscape have been integrated into a single unit. There are artistic sculptures like serpent on the rock and fish on pyramids, inspired from nature. There are pathways punctuated by arch all over, which brings a subtle enclosure on a free land. Now traipsing forward one reaches an informal seating space. The space has stone and brick tiled curved seating cum pathways. There is a romantic repetition of grassy meadows and brick tiled walkways which are punctuated by ceramic lamps with lights and small trees at farther end.

Now heading forward is a sundial standing in the midst of bushes and shrubs which are allowed to grow in wilderness. Then one reaches the Amphitheatre, built on a natural sloping land. The cunning designer of the garden has extracted the full potential of the site by taking the slope of the site to his advantage. There are blocks of stone are used to make seating. The ends of the Amphitheatre are massive rocks which somewhat appears brings alluring beauty and a creative boundary.

Then one reaches to exhibition areas. The exhibition areas have similar plans. Curved plans with verandahs, alternate pillar designs, colorful rubble masonry walls and roof upon stone pergolas. Some of the buildings are white in colour, some are golden and some have natural earthy beauty of their stone wall. The enchanting design of the buildings gives the illusion that one has come to a magical kingdom far, far away.

Moving forward one reaches a playground with a number of swings and slides and trees all around, connected with each other with meandering brick paths. Then one reaches a small nursery. The enclosure of the nursery is shaped like a rectangular pyramid with yellow coloured timber standing upon a stone masonry short heighted wall. Then one reaches a small restaurant where one can appetize over delicious food. There are series of proper seating provided. The building has curved plan with verandah and well-designed pillars with slopped roofs made up of terracotta tiles. Around the periphery of the building are pots with plants. The whole building is in tones of red colour which gives an earthy appearance to it. The boundary walls of the garden are made up of random rubble masonry with fortifications over it, which gives the appearance of a fort. The whole compound is filled with shrubs, trees and flowers. Some of them known and some of them rare. The attention paid on minute details like the design of the lamp post, dustbins, seating, pergolas, paved walkways, etc., are far too exceptional to be ignored. The garden tries to activate the five sense of the human body (as comes the name), through colors of flowers and leaves, textures of foliage of plants and material of pavestones and sculptures, fragrance of flowers and the sensuous smell of when water falls on dry earth, sound of water flowing through cascades or falling through the fountain and taste of the delicious food present at various stalls. There is dynamic art throughout the garden; plenty of sculptures, murals which constitute a lot of public art. A lot of couples, families and children comes and have fun over here. It is a marvel for public space in Delhi when it comes to the sensitivity provided for the users. Such is the exaggerated drama of the garden that people coming out of the garden start recalling the places he saw inside and start looking at the photos he clicked inside.