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Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens to now be called Amrit Udyan

By, New Delhi
Jan 29, 2023 01:31 AM IST

Spread over 15 acres, the sprawling Mughal Gardens, now part of the Amrit Udyan, was one of the key attractions for visitors to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It derived its name from the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar.

President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday renamed the six gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, including the famed Mughal Gardens, as Amrit Udyan, in line with national celebrations for the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.

Rashtrapati Bhavan will open five of its gardens for the public for two months starting January 31. (ANI)
Rashtrapati Bhavan will open five of its gardens for the public for two months starting January 31. (ANI)

Rashtrapati Bhavan will open five of its gardens for the public for two months starting January 31.

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Spread over 15 acres, the sprawling Mughal Gardens, now part of the Amrit Udyan, was one of the key attractions for visitors to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It derived its name from the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar.

Earlier, the government had renamed three other landmarks in the national capital. Raj Path became Kartavya Path, Race Course Road was renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg and Aurangzeb Road at the India Gate hexagon was named after late President and Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam.

Outside Delhi, Allahabad was renamed as Prayagraj, Mughal Sarai junction was named after Jan Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Gurgaon as Gurugram, among a series of name changes.

While the ruling dispensation defended the change of names, critics and historians often disapproved the renaming.

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“Rashtrapati Bhavan is home to a rich variety of gardens. Originally, they included East Lawn, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden. During the term of former Presidents Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Shri Ram Nath Kovind, more gardens were developed, namely, Herbal-I, Herbal-II, Tactile Garden, Bonsai Garden and Arogya Vanam. On the occasion of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the President of India is pleased to give a common name to the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens as ‘Amrit Udyan’,” said a communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Armit Udyan will be a part of the popular tours of the presidential estate that draws thousands of visitors every year. The communique added that President Murmu will grace the opening of the gardens on Sunday for this year’s Udyan Utsav, or garden festival.

The authorities have extended the time for visitors to two months from January 31 to March 26. The Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden will be open to the public.

In its effort to make the Rashtrapati Bhavan more accessible to people, the Amrit Udyan will be open to farmers, differently abled people, women including tribal women’s self-help groups and defence personnel between March 28 to 31.

Many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders welcomed the move. “Thank you @narendramodi Ji for renaming Mughal garden in Rashtrapati Bhawan as “Amrit Udyan”,” tweeted Y Satya Kumar, BJP’s national secretary. BJP’s national vice president DK Aruna termed it as “a historic move”. “As the nation celebrates the #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav, the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan has been renamed the Amrit Udyan,” he tweeted.

However, the opposition said the government should focus on job creation and controlling inflation instead.

“Who knows, they might now want to rename the Eden Gardens and call it Modi Gardens! They should focus on creating jobs, controlling inflation and protecting the precious resources of LIC and SBI,” Trinamool Congress’ Parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien was reported as saying by news agency PTI.

Former diplomat KC Singh, however, questioned the renaming and tweeted, “What’s the point. It isn’t Mughal Garden because Aurangzeb named it. The British named it so as it is laid out in the Mughal Garden style with fountains, water channels & quadrants. That can’t be changed, can it?”

“Another step towards making Rashtrapati Bhavan accessible to more and more people is through increase in capacity of each hourly slot. The visitors will be allowed to visit in six hourly slots between 1000 hrs and 1600 hrs. The capacity for the two forenoon slots (1000 hrs to 1200 hrs) will be 7,500 visitors during weekdays and 10,000 visitors in each slot on weekends. The capacity for the four afternoon slots (1200 hrs to 1600 hrs) will be 5,000 visitors in each slot during weekdays and 7,500 visitors on weekends,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said.

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Spread over 330 acres, the President’s estate has open space gardens, forest covers, parks, gardens, numerous fruit trees and water bodies, adding to the rich flora and fauna at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The estate has ponds, a butterfly corner, bee grooves, mango orchards, a peacock point, orangery, 136 wild and cultivated plant species and 84 animal species comprising 42 invertebrates and an equal number of vertebrates like frogs, garden lizards and snakes. In a book published by Rashtrapati Bhavan, 111 species of birds have been found in the estate.

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