Rani Bagh

Rani Bagh (hindi : Queen’s garden) is the largest of the Lost Gardens. It is situated at a short distance outside Rajnagar.

It is the only garden with a real story: the Queen (or mistress? This would explain the remote situation of the garden) was sitting lonely in this garden, with no laborers to till the soil. Many times she had asked already that the King should send some people, but he only lend a deaf ear on this request. One day, a group of landless laborers passed by. The Queen quickly sent a note to the King asking the permission to keep this landless people. The King granted her wish, and the laborers settled next to the garden, in a hamlet that still bears the name of Ranipur.

The owner is Kasturi Bai, a very old widow. After Independence, her father would have received this garden as a gift from the maharaja. She was compelled to sell one fifth of the garden to a local moneylender. We do not till this part of the garden.
After her passing away, her only son, Rajesh Nayak, assumes the ownership.

After an in depth study of the present situation, the actual restoration started in 2011. First, the temple has been restored; a new shivlingam has been solemnly installed. The festive installation was rewarded with the presence of the old maharani of Chattarpur.

After restoration, the kothi will host the community seedbank.

The old step well near the temple was completely dry, and filled with organic rubbish. It underwent a simple cleaning, and has once again water during most of the season.
The newer well has been freed from the thick layer of earth and rubble that had heaped around it. The traceable irrigation channels have been restored.
The garden has a second pavilion (the same “model” as the temple but without the religious images).

The garden is tilled for vegetables, with also a grid of young local fruit trees, including many <em>desi</em> mango trees (see also agroforestry, conservation agriculture).