Thursday, 25 February 2010

Winter Days in Lodhi Garden

Park life, Lodhi Gardens in Delhi

For most of the year the inhabitants of Delhi - or at least those who can afford it - spend the vast majority of their time indoors. This behaviour is dictated by the climate which from April to September makes the North Indian planes excruciatingly hot. The constant layer of smog over the city does not help. So most people stay inside their A/C-cooled homes and take a car to the parking basement of their A/C-cooled office. Those who really have it worked out may spend as little as 5 to 10 minutes outside daily. Due to this excessive "in-doorsiness" I have on my own body experienced the paradox that I turn as pale from a summer of harsh Indian sunshine as I do from a grey and sunless Scandinavian winter.

So when winter arrives, the sun starved - although usually not so pale - Delhiites come swarming out from their dark dwellings to take advantage of the fresh, mild air and temperatures. Barbecues are had in people's gardens, parties go on all night on rooftop terraces, kids play cricket in any free patch of road or field and the cities' parks become teeming with life.

No park in the capital is more popular than Lodhi Gardens in central Delhi. It is probably the city's most well tended and clean park, and to add to the attraction it is filled with historical monuments as well as a lake that attracts many different bird species.

So last winter we joined the throngs of people who enjoyed their winter weekends in this lively place. Mostly we would just chill with a picnic basket on a blanket in one of the park's many lawns, but I also took out some time for bird watching and photography. Below are some of my best shots from our winter days in Lodhi Gardens:

One of Lodhi Gardens' many colourful flower beds

Crowds of picnickers in front of the Sheesh Gumbad, which is the tomb of an unknown family

Sheesh Gumbad is one of the few tombs in Delhi, which still has some of it's original tile work. In fact Sheesh Gumbad means "Glass Dome" after the glazed tiles once covering it

Park Traffic Jam

Two friends taking a stroll in a quieter part of the park

The old stone bridge taking many visitors from the entrance into the park

Teamwork! Two boys working to retrieve a lost sandal from the pond

Another group of boys looking, perhaps, for treasures in the water?

I find a strange beauty in the brownish colours of the withered water plants

One of the my best bird sightings from Lodhi Gardens - a beautiful Common Kingfisher, which despite the name is not so commonly spotted in Delhi. The only one I have ever seen in India (despite looking hard)

Another very nice bird - a male Black-Rumped Flameback

Palm trees and pedestrians in front of the tomb of Mohammad Shah (died 1445) of the Sayyid Dynasty

Sadly, many people in India like to defile old monuments with carved names, dates and declarations of love. Even the palm trees of Lodhi Gardens are not safe

(The events in this post took place in January and February 2009)


world of sekimachihato said...

i'm enjoying reading about your indian adventures.
this park looks like a great place for people-watching, especially love your shot of the boys doing their team work.
one day i hope to get to this part of the world. one day...

Esben said...

Thanks for the comment sekimachihato. I see you're from Hong Kong - I visited there some time back, and soon I will have some updates on my blog from so you can see how I cover that part of the world :)

Esben said...

Btw, you have an interesting blog. You have been added to my RSS reader.

Arun said...

Beautiful images of the kingfisher and flameback. The common kingfisher, I am told, is common in Europe!! :)

Esben said...

Thanks Arun,

Yeah, actually I think we once had a Kingfisher stay with us for a few days back in Denmark. It has flown into our window and needed to recuperate.

But in India, it's just such a rarity to see. And that's in the land of Kingfisher Beer :)

aarkay said...

Not for nothing, Delhi is called the Dil (heart ) of Hindustan (India).
Very nice write up !