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Lucknow: Vilayati Bagh set for a royal makeover

Conservation project--ASI to rope in its horticulture wing for the rejuvenation. Experts to ensure that same saplings are planted that were used in gardens during Oudh king’s time.

lucknow Updated: Dec 05, 2017 16:07 IST
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Vilayati Bagh,Lucknow,ASI
The heritage body would rope in its horticulture wing in the entire rejuvenation exercise to give the garden an authentic royal look.(HT Photo)

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is going to give a royal makeover to the historically significant Vilayati Bagh, located near the Dilkusha garden.

ASI officials said the garden’s makeover would be unique. The heritage body would rope in its horticulture wing in the entire rejuvenation exercise to give the garden an authentic royal look. The cost of the facelift, which is proposed in the current financial year, is around Rs 48 lakh.

The royal garden was said to be established by king Ghazi-ud-din-Haider (1814-1827) of Oudh for his European wife.

RESTORING LOST GLORY
  • The cost of the facelift, which is proposed in the current financial year, is around Rs 48 lakh.
  • The royal garden was said to be established by king Ghazi-ud-din-Haider (1814-1827) of Oudh for his European wife.
  • Apart from the garden’s rejuvenation, the monuments and establishments on its premises will also be restored.
  • “So far, we have erected around 225 metres of dwarf wall, coupled with grills on the front side of the garden and have covered the remaining side using barbed wire,” said Shadab Khan, junior conservation assistant, ASI (Lucknow Circle).

“As it used to be the most beautiful garden in those times, efforts are being made to restore it the same way. Our horticulture wing will take care of the plantation or flora part while we would take care of the restoration of the ruins and other ancient establishments in the garden,” said an official with ASI (Lucknow Circle).

ASI officials said the horticulture wing has expertise in maintaining ancient gardens. Under the Vilayati Bagh conservation project, experts would ensure that the same plants and saplings are planted that were used in the gardens of that time. Experts would trace the same species of ornamental plants and flowers in order to give the garden a colonial look.

Similar treatment was given to the gardens at Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, Bibi-ka-Maqbara at Aurangabad and the one at Taj Mahal.

Apart from the garden’s rejuvenation, the monuments and establishments on its premises will also be restored. ASI officials said a large part of the restoration has been completed while the remaining would be completed in a couple of months.

“So far, we have erected around 225 metres of dwarf wall, coupled with grills on the front side of the garden and have covered the remaining side using barbed wire,” said Shadab Khan, junior conservation assistant, ASI (Lucknow Circle).

The ASI also excavated a 30-metre ancient wall and restored it using lakhauri bricks.

Historians said the ASI’s move would bring back the lost glory of the garden, spanning across 200 m x 200 m area. “Some authors say it was constructed by King Ghazi-ud-Din Haider while some say it was constructed by his son King Nasir-uddin Haider. But one thing is clear that it used to be among the most beautiful gardens,” said Yogesh Praveen, a noted historian.

Praveen said the square-shaped garden was enclosed with walls, which used to serve as screen wall for the ladies belonging to the royal family.

“It has two entrances, one on the west and second on the east side that leads to river Gomti,” said Praveen. The western enclosure wall, he said, was built with massive gateways and flanking structures on either side. “It was a magnificent garden with beautiful flowers and plants of European variety. The garden suffered massive damage during First War of Independence,” he added.

“In the battle, three Europeans—Mate HP Garvey, Captain W Helly Huchinson and Sergeant S Newman died. Their graves are still there,” he said.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 16:07 IST