It’s hard to imagine a park like an oasis in the midst of some of the most crowded, polluted & noisiest areas of Delhi. Yet it exists, though forgotten and neglected by the city authorities and hardly given a glance by even the residents. It has stood still for centuries; a shadow of its past, but the fleeting glimpses of its former glory can still haunt the visitor.
Qudsia Park, tucked away in the North of the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), on Sham Nath Road, lies very close to Kashmiri Gate and is a place to get away from the maddening crowds & the deafening noises of the city.
Unlike other parks, where the young & not so young couples hide behind every bush or occupy all the choicest of benches, this park is like a placid lake with hardly any ripples of human movement or the obtrusive presence of loudmouthed groups.
Back in 1748, this park was commissioned and carried the name of the Begum who had charmed the then Emperor Muhammad Shah Rangeela. True to his name Rangeela, which means 'enjoyer of good life' fell head-over-heels in love with a young girl, who went by the name of Umaid Bai, a court dancer of exceptional beauty & grace.
She became his queen and they both had this garden set up with palaces, a mosque for private prayers, waterfalls, flower beds & fruit orchards. The bagh was fashioned after the Persian Charbagh style, but in later years it lost much of its original look and a mutilated version remains today.
The gateway to Qudsia Bagh is an arched-pillar structure, its plaster chipping away, the floral motifs invisible or worn out with time; you will realize its presence only after passing under it & pausing to notice it by chance.
What strikes one the most is the sudden calm one feels while roaming around or sitting somewhere under a tree. The feeling is something like an abrupt break from a heavy metal concert at its peak. The dilapidated and tired mosque in the middle of its premises, with its three arches for the entrance seems to be enveloped in a silence of its own, quite eerie and unsettling.
Parts of the mosque which were simple in design along with the other structures were almost destroyed in the barrage of shells that were aimed at the bagh by the mutiny soldiers. Ever since, nothing much remains, except the baradari (structure), the mosque, the gate and some unidentified old remnants of the structures.
If you make it to the Bagh in the early morning hours, it can lift your spirits with the sound of chirping birds on the shady trees and you can observe a variety of local birds including parrots and sparrows which are becoming a rare sight in the urban jungle that the city has become.
Do bird spotting or bring a good book along - for a quiet hour alone, Qudsia Bagh is the place to be!
Where | Qudsia Bagh - Prema Kunj, Railway Colony, Civil Lines