The Garden of Five Senses – a bit too sensual for me

Attention, young, shameless couples! If you think the cracked benches and crumbly tombs of Lodi Gardens is the number one place to publicly fondle your other half, think again! Because I have just (accidentally) discovered the hotspot for getting close and cosy, Delhi style.

The Garden of Five Senses is located about a kilometer from Saket metro station, and is, actually, a very lovely place. Small, walkable and absolutely spotless, it incorporates all kinds of trees and plants in an architechturally quite impressive landscape, with fancy spiralling footpaths, water features under stone arches, and plenty of sandstone benches and low walls to sit on.

I stumbled upon this place in the early evening, when the sun was sliding towards the horizon and a light September rain was starting to fall. As it was a particularly beautiful time of day, I wasn’t shocked to see a few couples perched under the trees, locked in Bollywood-style embraces. But as I walked around I noticed more and more pairs of lovers, many of whom were getting a bit too romantically enthusiastic, I thought, given that it was still daylight and we were in public. Not to mention ‘conservative’ India.

I made the mistake of climbing the small hill, from where a sign promised a spectacular view of the Qutab Minar. I heard rustling coming from a nearby bush, and then a woman squealed and lept out onto the path, giggling as she redid the buttons on her blouse. A shifty-looking man followed. I quickly headed back to the main part of the garden.

But there was little respite. By the fountain two young lovers were rolling about, entwined in each other’s limbs, and they stared at me as I awkwardly shuffled past (it was raining and I was wearing flip flops. I’m sure nothing could be of greater amusement to these people than a foreigner slipping and falling on her backside).

Another couple were pressed together under a shady archway, and numerous others were reclining on benches, or getting intimate behind trees. This was taking five-sense indulgence a bit too far, na?

It got so bad that I had no choice but to start coughing as I entered a new part of the garden, as a way of warning the couples that they were no longer alone. But this only made me look more stupid; a lonesome videshi shuffling along the slippery path while having a coughing fit? Not a good look.

And so, dear readers, I left. Impressed by Delhi’s secret garden, but also a bit mentally scarred by its ardent visitors. Until then, I’d been quite convinced of India’s innocent Bollywood approach to love, with saris blowing on hillsides and not-quite kisses. But now I don’t believe an iota of it. If I go back to the garden, I will go at a respectable hour of the morning (or early afternoon), and hopefully I’ll see something different. Picnics, maybe. Or yoga sessions. Even hand-holding wouldn’t be so inappropriate. But really, people, have a thought for your fellow garden-viewers and try to control yourselves in public. Either that or get a room.

This entry was posted in Culture, People and tagged , , by Susanna Wang. Bookmark the permalink.

About Susanna Wang

Susanna Wang is a writer/photographer/teacher from Scotland, whose impulsive decisions led her across Eastern Europe, India, Australia and – most spontaneously – Inner Mongolia. She now lives and works in this region of northern China, eats far too many noodles, and occasionally goes to the Gobi Desert to see the camels.

9 thoughts on “The Garden of Five Senses – a bit too sensual for me

    • not to mention of the police atrocities which these folks have to bear whenever there is a crackdown on these activities. However the worst I have seen is when over excited news channels (like aaj tak or india tv) cover all the drama live which includes policemen thrashing young boy & girls in full public view.
      I agree, private space is an issue for 120 million out there.

      • Thank you for saying that! I feel terrible too….Even if they went to a hotel they would have to face the ‘Mmm, only for three hours eh? I see…Can I have your photo i.d’s please?” dialogue and eyebrow raises. But yes, it would be such a pain to go to a garden to be alone with nature and see people getting it on…that too in such a sneaky , nervous fashion. Oh boy.

  1. That’s true…I also had a similar experience when I visited this garden and to add to your post-that was the day time, specially in the morning around 11-12 but still we witnessed such scenes. It is really bad, you can’t visit such public places just because of a few people spoiling the image of such beautiful places like this one. That’s why people are left with no other option than visiting malls or sitting back at home 😦

  2. Dear Susanna,

    The saddest plight is that these couples who visit these gardens cannot get a room. Thats the whole point. Poor things. They prefer bushes to rooms simply because they cannot afford a hotel room and their home space may be so crowded that they might be sharing their room with four more people. Where else will they go. Why just garden of five senses you should take a look around the central park in the heart of connaught place. I tried to carry a book with me to the park, the idea was to find a bench under the shade of a tree et al. Unfortunately there was not a single bush or tree or bench or grass area that was not occupied by these so called couples. I felt like I was in the middle of a clothed orgy. I was so ashamed I tried to find an exit but I was confused in the maze like layout of the park. The worst thing was that a particularly nauseating gentleman motioned me to join him under a bush. I ran faster than the olympians, I must say. And rest assured I have never dared to venture to such lover’s haunts..

    Space is indeed the biggest problem in overcrowded Delhi.

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