Gardens

Lost Gardens

Introduction

All gardens in Khajuraho/Rajnagar share the same features: they are walled, with a small Shiva temple, an outhouse (kothi), cremation platforms (Samadhi), several wells (some are stepwells), irrigation channels, 3 to 6 acres.

The history of these gardens is unknown, as is the reason for such an incredible concentration of 13 gardens in Rajnagar. This type of gardens has never been studies before. Archives do not exist, and the oral tradition is scarce.
From bits and pieces we have been able to reconstruct the following story:

These gardens have been created by the royal family of Chhattarpur in the second half of the 18th century / beginning of the 19th century as producegardens for vegetables, flowers and fruit.
Probably, every garden is connected with an heir prince, who would – after having reigned as a king – have been cremated in his garden, as might have been the case with his close relatives.

These gardens were no permanent living quarters, but the king and his family would stay in tents whenever they travelled through the region, or came to assist to the religious festivals in Khajuraho. The outhouse (kothi) would have been the storage room for the tents and other household gear.

Apparently, this type of gardens is only to be found in the Bundelkhand region. One year before passing away, the last Maharja of Chattarpur told us about his souvenirs when he travelled from one garden to the other with his mother until they reached their final destination. In other words, the gardens were a kind of royal caravanserai. After the Indian Independence (1947) the larger number of gardens came into private hands, as gifts from the Maharaja. Maybe this has something to do with the land gift movement of Vinoba Bhave.

Bagh = garden
Bagicha is more for a flowergarden. But it is not a really fixed terminology.
The name of a garden mostly refers to the present owner.

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