The bitter winter has retreated from Delhi. Vasant Panchami, which fell in the second week of February, has highlighted the spring’s splendid entry. The sun gets warmer, the days get longer, and the breeze is pleasant, wafting the scent of the many blooming, hued flowers. Indeed, nature at its best! And what beauty is unfurled with what abandon!
So, Delhi’s many gardens become a riot of colours with the rose, carnation, sweet william, chrysanthemum, dahlia, stock, nasturtium, poppy, sweet peas, pansy and marigold in full bloom.
While there are public gardens and parks — like the Buddha Jayanti, Nehru and Sanjay Gandhi parks, the Lodhi, Talkatora and National Rose Gardens — around the city, there is also the majestic Mughal Gardens in the President’s Estate, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which are open to the public from mid-February to mid-March. Viewers can enjoy the sight of myriad flowers.
People of Delhi have a chance to watch all the beautiful flowers in the roundabouts, known as rotaries, in the New Delhi area maintained, in the main, by the horticulture department of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
Numbering 50, these rotaries at intersections of roads make for a visual delight. The multi-coloured floral collage may leave you speechless or may enable the poet in you to spring up.
It’s thanks to all the gardeners who toil — planting, watering, staking, weeding, and much more — to create aesthetically-designed flower beds, lush grass and manicured plants and trees. And, there are prizes and trophies for the best-designed and maintained ones.
These beauties of nature through springtime are a seasonal phenomenon. But there are flowering trees and flower beds during the summer and monsoon — like the pride of India trees that flaunt their vibrant purple-pink-magenta blossoms. And in springtime, when these trees are bare and leafless, they resemble sculpture installations.
The rotaries themselves have interesting backstories. Of course, each of the 50 rotaries is a colourful mélange of flowers by spring. The Teen Murti roundabout, however, showcases rose bushes with flowers of many hues, perhaps in keeping with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s love for roses. Rotary number 50 also houses the New Delhi General Post Office, itself a heritage building. And there are rotaries with statues and fountains.
The rotary at Matthew Chowk or Circle (at the Akbar Road-Tughlaq Road crossing) got its name from an eponymous British General of the Indian army, during the Raj, who lived in a bungalow nearby.
Sometimes, the roundabouts themselves look like bouquets arranged fantastically. And that, in a way, is nature’s welcome to the discerning one.