Friendship in gardens of diplomacy

- August 21, 2023
| By : Vivek Shukla |

BRICS, Africa and ASEAN Gardens offer a variety of roses, peace and tranquility in the heart of the capital

PLACE TO EXPLORE: The BRICS garden has a variety of roses as well as a lotus pond where people visit to find peace and tranquility

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to South Africa to attend the BRICS Summit on August 22-24, it goes without saying that he would know about the lush green garden known as ‘BRICS Friendship Rose Garden’ not far from his official residence at Lok Kalyan Marg. Built on sprawling three acres, it stands across the existing ‘India-Africa Friendship Rose Garden’ on Shantipath.

BRICS is a group of five emerging nations namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which are committed to working together for uplifting their economies.

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The ‘BRICS Friendship Rose Garden’ was created when India hosted the eighth BRICS Summit in Goa in 2016. The garden was inaugurated by the then Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who later became vice-president of India. As a tribute to India’s commitment to BRICS, the park was named thus.

“It is built on the rules of Vastu Shastra which emphasises on balance of natural elements in construction,” says JP Trikha, an acclaimed Vastu Shastra expert.

BOND: The BRICS Friendship Rose Garden was inaugurated in 2016 on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Goa in 2016

Both BRICS and Africa gardens are close to each other. The two show India’s commitment to strengthening ties with the BRICS nations and the African continent.

You would find dozens of varieties of roses here. The stunning fields are very enchanting. The sights and scents of this place are truly dazzling.

Well, one of the main attractions of the garden is the lotus pond. Many love birds can be seen here, chatting and at times hugging each other. It is immensely popular among the newly-wed couples. They visit here and click pictures.

The garden is also a sheer delight for tourists, embassy staffers and locals.

You step into the garden and encounter unprecedented fragrance and colours of famous roses nestled in the garden.

“There are many reasons to visit the Rose Garden — chief among them is that it gives peace and tranquility. You’ll find many rose bushes that provide a glimpse of the development of roses from buds. There are also modern hybrid teas and floribunda varieties,” says Sandeep Wahal, a top corporate honcho working in a south Delhi-based firm.

While traditional rose gardens are often formal in style, the BRICS Garden offers a less rigid presentation, with meandering flowerbeds and pathways set among trees.

PLANTING HOPE: The India-Africa Friendship Rose Garden was inaugurated in 2015 by Sushma Swaraj, the then Minister of External Affairs

The large open spaces and a playground make this one of few gardens agreeable to visit with small children in tow.

Though both BRICS and Africa rose gardens are very small compared to Chandigarh’s rose garden, they are fast emerging as two of India’s finest rose gardens. You cannot miss them if you love nature, flowers and the scent of roses.

The Africa friendship garden is dedicated solely to the symbol of love – roses — that has turned lovers into poets and painters into artists. It exhibits the most beautiful varieties of roses that have been sourced from all over the world.

Located in the heart of New Delhi, Africa garden is among the most frequently visited parks in the city. The stunning field of roses, spread out over such a huge area, is very enchanting.

It is a must-visit for all flower lovers especially from December to February when the roses are in full bloom.

The roses planted here include heirloom varieties, selected for their intoxicating perfumes, and modern selections, chosen for their resistance to diseases and pests as well as their beauty.

Having the rarest of rare varieties, you can also see green and black roses here, which are practically impossible to find otherwise.

Indeed, both BRICS and Africa gardens are popular places to walk, jog, relax and picnic.

With over hundreds of varieties of roses and other flowers in these gardens, both are outstanding places to sit and relax. It is always blissful to be here. It is the place that brings fun and flowers together.

However, it is always disheartening to see some people plucking roses.


Like BRICS garden, the Africa garden also includes lotus pond which is frequented by love birds and newly-wed couples.

You would also spot some African nationals there. The then Union external affairs minister, late Sushma Swaraj, inaugurated the India-Africa Friendship Rose Garden ahead of the third India Africa Summit on October 26, 2015.

India and Africa share a history of struggle against colonialism, led by icons like Gandhi and Mandela. What is really impressive about the Africa garden is that it is at a shouting distance from a road named after great African leader Kwame Nkrumah, a Ghanaian politician, revolutionary and lifelong friend of India.

An official of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which maintains the garden, says,

“Many African diplomats and African nationals based here visit this place often. They identify with it for obvious reasons. Delhi has over four dozen missions from the African continent.”

The Delhi-based African community throngs here on May 25 to celebrate Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day).

RECENTLY BUILT: The Bharat ASEAN Maitri Park, which is spread over 2.81 acres, was inaugurated in 2018 when India were hosting the ASEAN Summit

It is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union). It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. It is arguably the most powerful symbol of Africa in Delhi.

Avtar Singh Sohal Tari, hockey legend of Kenya, had visited the Africa garden with his friends during his recent visit to Delhi. Avtar, who is of Indian origin, has represented Kenya in five Olympic Games.

The Capital also has ‘Bharat ASEAN Maitri Park’ on Tughlaq Road. The park is spread over an area of approximately 2.81 acres and includes facilities such as jogging and walking track, fountain, lotus pond and sprinkler irrigation system.

It has sculptures of ASEAN countries having descriptions in their own languages to strengthen friendship, love and solidarity and popularise the cultural heritage of these countries among people. It was inaugurated in 2018 when India was hosting the ASEAN summit.

The writer is a Delhi-based senior journalist and author of two books ‘Gandhi’s Delhi: April 12, 1915-January 30, 1948 and Beyond’ and ‘Dilli Ka Pehla Pyar – Connaught Place’