Conservation is not mathematics, says the man behind the renewed Sunder Nursery, which aims to rival the Mughal Gardens
Dressed in a blue kurta, white pyjamas, and sandals, Nanda takes me past pockets of thick greenery that make up ‘the city’s first arboretum’. A pair of peacocks flies overhead. In place of the mounds of rubble and illegal construction that once took up room here, the park is now home to 80 species of birds, 280 species of trees, a garden amphitheatre equipped with a rainwater harvesting system, sunken gardens, waterbodies, nursery beds and six restored monuments over 90 acres.
The central axis — the primary pedestrian spine inspired by traditional Mughal gardens and Persian carpet patterns — is lined with fountains and leads to the restored monument of Sunder Burj. Past the intricate jaali-work, my eyes travel to the ceiling that displays painstakingly redone stone carvings. I can’t help but exclaim.
Nanda looks pleased. “Exactly. I was waiting for that reaction. That’s what conservation is all about.” I think back at the conversation we had earlier about which side of the conservation debate Nanda sits on and why.