Sunder Nursery, named for the Sunder Burj that welcomes visitors entering the park, is a heritage site, biodiversity park, nursery and home to Delhi’s first arboretum. This 90 acre plantation wonder is home to fifteen 16th Century monuments, six of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The park was originally built as a Mughal Garden in the 16th Century and was known as Bagh- e- Azeem or Azim Bagh. After years of neglect finally in 1913 it was set up as a nursery for plants by the British. Collections of plants were brought from across the globe and were grown and propagated there. Renovation of this nursery was started in 2007 under the aegis of the Agha Khan Trust for Culture. Over the next 11 years the historical buildings and Mughal Gardens were restored to their former glory and the site further developed into a biodiversity park.
The four natural ecosystems of Delhi, kohi (ridge/hill), bangar (alluvial), khadar (riverine) and dabur (Marsh) have been faithfully recreated, allowing visitors the chance to explore and appreciate the diverse habitats and wildlife that is now a diminishing part of the city.
There are activities to suit all tastes and interests. The visitor can take a stroll along the formal paths, interspersed with dancing fountains and surrounded by the peaceful lake and lush green lawns, that beckon one to come and enjoy a picnic on their soft green carpets.
Exploration of the historical monuments offers insights to a bygone era; the type of materials used to construct these buildings and the expert workmanship involved in their creation.
Those who are more adventurous can roam the natural pathways, walking through the trees and copses with their lush undergrowth and diverse wildlife. With luck, you may just catch sight of a peacock proudly strutting and displaying his boldly coloured plumage to the little brown peahen nearby.
Children will enjoy not only running around and playing games, but also the adventure playground created especially for them.
With over 300 types of trees (the majority being native species), 80 species of birds and of course butterflies and bees, this park is a nature lover’s delight.
For a gardener, no trip to this heritage park is complete without a visit to the nursery area, where a wide range of healthy, beautiful plants can be purchased at very reasonable prices, and also the shop for seeds, fertilisers and compost. Be sure to come early as these close by 4 pm; but if you are late, not to worry, as one visit is never enough to explore and enjoy this park. You will surely love to come again, as each visit brings something new to behold and savour.
From its humble beginnings as a Mughal Garden, this outstanding park is a ‘must visit’ place for both residents of, and visitors to the National Capital.