Sunder Nursery

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Sunder Nursery
Central Park of Delhi, Azim Bagh
TypeHeritage Park, City Park
LocationNew Delhi
Coordinates28°35′49″N 77°14′43″E / 28.596874°N 77.245339°E / 28.596874; 77.245339Coordinates: 28°35′49″N 77°14′43″E / 28.596874°N 77.245339°E / 28.596874; 77.245339,
Area90 acres (0.36 km2)
Created16th century
  • Mohammad Shaheer
  • Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Owned byGovernment of India
Operated by
StatusOpen all days from sunrise to sunset

Sunder Nursery (Central Park, New Delhi) is a 16th-century heritage park complex adjacent to the Humayun's Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Delhi. Originally known as Azim Bagh and built by the Mughals in the 16th century, it lies on the Mughal-era Grand Trunk Road, and is spread over 90 acres (36 hectare).[1][2] Future plans aim to link nearby areas to develop it into India's largest park covering 900 acres.[3][4]

Today Sunder Nursery contains fifteen heritage monuments of which 6 are UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected Sundarwala Burj, Sundarwala Mahal and Lakkarwala Burj.[1][5][6]

After renovations starting in 2007, the nursery reopened to public as a heritage park on 21 February 2018. Now it contains over 300 types of trees, making it Delhi's first arboretum.[6]

During the British rule, the nursery was established to grow experimental plants, which gave it its current designation as a nursery. The "Sunder" part of the name comes from the Sunder Burj tomb located in the same premises.[7][8] Although the name Sunder Nursery has still held, the park has been quoted to be a 'Delhi's Central Park' after renovations (though not to be confused with the central park in Connaught Place, New Delhi).[9]

Sunder Nursery


Lakharwala Gumbad in the Sunder Nursery lawns.

Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Project[edit]

Sunder Nursery is part of the larger Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Project of the Aga Khan Trust, master plan which involves restoration work on 30 nearby heritage structures.[10][11] Once complete, the park and resorted monuments will cover 900 acres (3.64 km sq).[3] Since 2007 conservation of over 50 monuments have taken place of which 12 were designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2016.[6]

Future plans aim to run the area as a public-private partnership (PPP) between the various government authorities in India and the Aga Khan Trust.[12]

Sunderwala Mahal after renovation in 2018
Sunderwala Mahal under restoration in 2012

Organisation and agencies involved[edit]

The garden complex is undergoing an extensive restoration project, undertaken by Aga Khan Trust for Culture India, jointly with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Central Public Works Department (CPWD) which currently runs the garden.

All the agencies involved in this extensive restoration project are[3] -

Restoration of Sunder Nursery[edit]

Plans for the project were drawn in 2007, and work on the third phase was initiated in 2010 and completed in 2018, with 90 acres of the park being opened to the public on 21 February 2018. The vice-president of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, was present during the inauguration along with various other dignitaries including the Aga Khan founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network.[3][4]

Due lying abandoned for decades, much of the area has since overgrown, and during the initial work some 1,000 trucks of rubble was removed, before the ground was leveled and subsequently classical Persian gardens were recreated, with fountains and water channels. Two main architectural features were restored. The Lakkarwala Burj tomb is now set in a new rose garden, while the 16th-century Sunderwala Burj tomb was restored as per the orange sandstone and white lime mortar used in its original design. Its red sandstone interior walls saw entire sections of white Quranic verses being recreated.[13] The garden replicates the four micro-habitat zones which were part of Delhi's original landscape namely Kohi (ridge), Bangar (alluvial), Khadar (riverine) and Dabar (marsh).[10]

Important features[edit]


UNESCO World Heritage status has been given to the following six structures within Sunder Nursery - Sunder Burj, Sundarwala Mahal, Lakkarwala Burj, Mirza Muazzafar Hussain's Tomb, Chotta Bateshewala and the Unknown Mughal's tomb.[1]



Canna Plant Section, Sunder Nursery
Bonsai Houses in Sunder Nursery

The area contains over 280 native tree species. Using GIS 4200 trees have been mapped. Apart from this there are around 80 types of bird species and 36 types of butterflies. The Bonsai House is home to some bonsais over 80 years old.[1][2]


Sunder Nursery is Delhi's first arboretum. It is home to some rare trees such as a Pink Cedar (Acrocarpus fraxinifolius), the only one in Delhi. Various other trees in the nursery are also only found here and nowhere else in Delhi such as Chukka (Croton roxburghii) and Carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides).[14]

A partial listing of trees and plants found -

Mughal Lotus Pond, Sunder Nursery

The rose gardens host various types of roses. A partial list of rose varieties -

HT Roses

  • Michael LIS
  • Tata Pink
  • Iceberg
  • Black Pearl
  • Oklahoma
  • Bajazoo
  • Charleston
  • Pristine
  • Gold Media
  • Broadway
  • BP Pal
  • Christian Dior
  • Folklore

Miniature Roses

  • Don Don
  • Merlin



80 different species of birds have been located in the area through bird mapping. In 2014, the rare Ultramarine Flycatcher was spotted in the park area, a bird never seen before in New Delhi for many years. 36 types of butterfly have also been spotted in the park.[15] A partial listing of birds include[16] -


A partial listing of butterfly varieties found[17] -

  • Yellow Pansy
  • White Arab
  • Tiny Grass Blue
  • Indian Palm Bob
  • Plain Tiger
  • Pioneer
  • Common Emigrant
  • Blue Pansy
  • Banded Awl
  • Peacock Pansy
  • Lemon Pansy
  • Grass Yellow
  • Common mime
  • Common Gull
  • Common Mormon


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Humayun's Tomb - Sunder Nursery - Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti | Aga Khan Development Network". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Photos: Sunder Nursery near Humayun's Tomb opens as heritage park". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sunder Nursery debuts in heritage park avatar - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Reporter, Staff (21 February 2018). "Sunder Nursery in full bloom". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ "10 years on, Sunder Nursery to debut as a heritage park - From nursery to heritage park". The Economic Times. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b c ""We will be involving community volunteers to effectively police the park" -Governance Now". Governance Now. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Aga Khan revives lost 16th century Mughal garden in heart of Delhi". The Daily Telegraph. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Sunder Nursery blooms into a park". Deccan Herald. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ Sreevatsan, Ajai (22 February 2018). "Delhi's own 'central park' opens today". Livemint. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b "16th-century lotus pond found in Sunder Nursery". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Sunder Nursery, city's new oasis". Indian Express. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  12. ^ Venkataramakrishnan, Rohan. "Sunder Nursery gives Delhi a beautifully restored green space – and a template for heritage". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Ratish Nanda plans on creating huge new park in Delhi". CNN-IBN. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Inventory of Sundar Nursery Trees". Outlook India. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  15. ^ "AKDN: AKDN". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  16. ^ Birds at Sunder Nursery, 26 April 2018, retrieved 27 April 2018
  17. ^ Butterflies at Sunder Nursery, New Delhi, 26 April 2018, retrieved 27 April 2018

External links[edit]