Sunder Nursery, formerly known as Azim Bagh, sits north of the 16th c. World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb and an even older settlement of Nizamuddin Basti. Historically lying on the Grand Trunk Road and founded by the British in 1929 for growing plants for Lutyen’s ambitious New Delhi scheme, Sunder Nursery is maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). While parts of the nursery are still used for propagation and sale of plants, several portions of the site have, over the years, remained underutilized lying in dereliction.
The 70-acre Sunder Nursery falls within the buffer zone of Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site, within a significant archaeological zone with Humayun’s citadel, Purana Qila to the north. This venerable site is home to nine Mughal period structures and the grand Mughal Azimganj Serai abutting it on the north, all in need of urgent conservation works. Now, as part of the ongoing project to restore the historical significance of Humayun’s Tomb and Nizamuddin area, the monuments in the Sunder Nursery precinct are undergoing careful conservation work with master craftsmen.
Sunder Nursery was itself established in 1913 by the British as a nursery for tree and plant species (native and imported) required for the new capital. Taken over by the CPWD in 1945, it currently houses the largest collection of tree species (150) found in Delhi and is an important bird habitat. An additional 100 native tree species are now being re-introduced here as part of the project.
As part of the public-private initiative, Sunder Nursery is being developed as an urban park cum nursery to showcase and protect its ecological (flora & fauna) and historical heritage under a multi- pronged rehabilitation and conservation programme. As part of the project, the planned micro-habitat zone/arboretum will simulate a microcosm of Delhi’s fast disappearing biodiversity, including kohi (hill), khadar (riverine), bangar (alluvial) and dabar (marshy) zones.
On completion, the three project zones of Humayun’s Tomb, Nizamuddin Basti will be interconnected by nature trails and heritage walks. The enhanced nursery functions within the new urban park will feature mist chambers, a tissue culture lab, glasshouses, nursery beds, a specialised training centre and dedicated spaces for flower shows and exhibitions.