Sunder Nursery was established by the British to experiment with the trees proposed to be grown in the new capital in Delhi. It is a large, enclosed nursery on the north side of Humayun’s Tomb, owned and operated by the Central Public Works Department. Located in south central Delhi and spread over twenty-eight hectares, the development of Sunder Nursery into a sustainable park is part of a larger socio-economic development programme that includes the urban regeneration of Nizamuddin Basti and restoration of Humayun’s Tomb complex (a World Heritage Site).
The Sunder Nursery abuts Humayun’s Tomb complex, with which its shares a common entrance zone, and stands on the historic Grand Trunk Road. Within the Nursery stand nine Mughal-period tombs, of which three are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The work of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) will aim to enhance nursery functions; create a significant arboretum; restore the monuments; create new attractions; and provide visitor facilities. At the same time, plans are in place to link up the Nursery site with Humayun’s Tomb complex, creating a vast green space, a ‘cultural heritage park’, in the heart of the capital city.
A flat, extensive and underused green space lies in Nizamuddin, a designated heritage zone comprising Lutyen’s Garden City, its extensions and a number of significant heritage areas, such as India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb complex, Lodhi Gardens and the Old Fort. The Nursery is bordered by Humayun’s Tomb to the south, the National Zoological Park to the north, the Bharat Scouts and Guides Centre to the east and the prominent Delhi Public School to the west. The area’s position between Humayun’s Tomb complex and Nizamuddin Basti provides the opportunity to create a larger Area Development Project connecting Humayun’s Tomb and its outer precinct.
The design of the new Park is organized along a central axial spine around which gardens and landscapes are arranged. From formal garden to informal settings for families to enjoy picnics, the Park will offer a variety of recreational and cultural venues. Water features, ponds and lakes are part of the master plan, which includes nursery beds, a flower showcase, arboretum, rose garden and orchards.