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Heavenly blossoms

| Updated on January 31, 2020 Published on January 31, 2020

Flowering gardens have long inspired Indian culture, mythology, literature and art

The classical Sanskrit texts, the epics and the ancient poetry of the subcontinent are replete with examples of poets who extol the wonders of the natural world. While forests, groves, orchards, bowers and jungles are all prominently featured, the garden is what is most fascinating. It is a space that is simultaneously the domain of man and nature, a place where the two coexist in perfect harmony.

Indian literature is dotted liberally with references to various gardens and groves, the ideas of which have seeped into cultural thought. As is demonstrated in the creative tradition of the subcontinent, lush green gardens are a theme and trope throughout our epics and myths.

The exquisite murals of Ajanta are a record of life from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 to 650 CE and depict many flower-filled gardens. Gardens have always been an inspiration for miniaturists as well, as seen in the illuminated Jain and Buddhist manuscripts where they feature prominently.

The gardens did not just provide food for thought for architects during the Mughal period. They went on to influence artists and craftspeople in equal measure.

(Images and text from the chapter Gardens of Paradise)

Flower Shower: The culture of flowers in India
  • Alka Pande (Niyogi Books) : ₹1,995

 

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Published on January 31, 2020