Garden of the Great ARC

Garden of the Great ARC


Prithvish Nag
Prithvish Nag
surveyor general of india
[email protected]

For the first time a garden is being associated with cartography and map making. The story of The Great Arc is to be brought to life by the symbolic representation of The Great Trignonometrical Survey in the design of the Garden of The Great Arc

Gardens have been common feature in the urban landscape of India. Most of the gardens have been associated with major buildings, monuments, temples and campuses. The ancient and medieval constructions did include gardens of geometric layout.

While describing Pataliputra under Magadhas, there are accounts of informal gardens in relation to cities or their neighbourhoods. The tradition of having gardens and landscape designing continued, formally and informally. The formal designing was based on geometric surroundings of buildings aligned with the compass directions and cosmic order. The informal designing is based on forest clearing, plantations and protection of specific species. During the medieval period, the gardens were planned with walls, which might have its origin in Persian paradiaza, perhaps having semantic concept of the Garden of Eden. The idea of Char Bagh (Quartered Garden) can be seen in the important Mughal tombs such as Sikandra and Taj Mahal. Water bodies have been an essential part of such garden development. Based on these concepts and practices, the Garden of The Great Arc has been designed. The layout carries the impression of the topography and other features. Central auditorium with water body and theme gardens have been planned. Specialists have been engaged for this purpose. This is for the first time that a garden has been associated with cartography and map making.

An artist’s perception of the view from the visitors centre
The Great Indian Arc grew from the baseline measured at St. Thomas’ Mount in Madras and triangulated its way across the entire length of the subcontinent to reach its pinnacle in the hills of Mussoorie above the Doon Valley. This monumental task undertaken by the Survey of India (SoI) became the basis for the topographical mapping of the Indian sub-continent.

SoI decided to develop its degraded land into a green corridor as a part towards ecological generation of Doon Valley in the form of the garden of the Great Arc, which will commemorate one of the most significant scientific endeavors of modern times i.e. ‘The Great Indian Arc’. The SoI is headquartered in the city of Dehradun, where the Garden of The Great Arc is to be located. The Honourable Chief Minister of Uttaranchal, laid the foundation of the park on 9th November 2002. This park expresses the desire of His Excellency, Governor of Uttaranchal to make Uttaranchal as ‘Garden State’, which will be a unique presentation of SoI to the people of Uttaranchal.

Regional Landscape
The Doon Valley is distinguished from most other parts of the state by the existence of large forest tracts chiefly stocked with Sal trees. Sal forests and coniferous forests are predominant in the western part of Dehradun. Chir is the only coniferous species in the old reserved forests of Dehradun. A special feature of the Sal forests is that deciduous trees of uneven size grow on higher altitude regions. Lower regions have several species interspersed with bamboo, climbers and evergreen shrubs. Main trees are Sal, Ber, Gular, Jhingal, Palas, Mahua, Semal, Dhak, Amla and Jamun.

Site Location
The site for the proposed commemorative urban park (to be known as the Garden of The Great Arc) is within the Hathibarkala Estate of the SoI in the city of Dehradun, the capital of Uttaranchal. The site is approximately 55 acres in area and is located in the middle of the campus. Its northern edge shares the boundary with the Cantonment Board land and the southern edge with the village of Hathibarkala. Along its East and West edges are the residential, institutional and community facilities of the campus. Dehradun town lies towards the south of the Hathibarkala Estate. The Estate is approached from Rajpur Road on the east and the New Cantonment Road on the south.