The gardens of Khajuraho were created for the royal family of Chattarpur in the late 18th century. The king and his family would have stayed in tents on the grounds when travelling through the region, a royal caravanserai. These gardens are situated in the agricultural region of the Deccan Plateau, and were originally used to produce vegetables, flowers and fruit for the local community. This style of garden is unique to the Bundelkhand region.
The restoration of the Lost Gardens of Khajuraho is part of a larger development strategy for the broader region. The main features of the Lost Gardens Projects include;
– Employment of local laborers and the use of traditional knowledge and crafts.
– Creation of a community seedbank of local fruit and vegetable varieties, and their cultivation.
– Conservation cultivation techniques
– Agroecology tourism
– Training centre for local farmers in conservation agriculture and agroforestry
The seedbank is an important feature for sustainable agriculture development in the region. A network of 50 farms produce traditional varieties of seed which are well adapted to the local climate and soils. These varieties include dal (lentil), onion, eggplant, rice, and barley.
The agroforestry project involves growing local trees in the Gardens, which provide numerous benefits. provides shade for the crops. The trees produce fruits, nuts, fodder and timber for the local community, as well as providing shade for the crops growth beneath and shelter against adverse weather. Farmers have noted that the areas undertaking agroforestry are less prone to drought and have better underground water.
The Humane Agrarian Centre teaches young farmers the principles of conservation agriculture, and how to promote sustainability through the notion of “co-existantialism”.
Sustainable actions: Agroforestry; Community engagement; Eco-tourism; Education; Traditional breeds; Traditional knowledge and skills; Training.