Mumbai’s relentless concrete spread is forced to pause at the 150 year-old-oasis of green in Byculla. Originally named Victoria Gardens and popularly called Rani Bagh, Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan is zoo blessed with a large number and variety of plants and trees, and is the city’s only heritage botanical garden. It is home to an estimated 853 plant species belonging to 149 families and 3,213 trees belonging to 286 species.
he origins of Victoria Gardens go back to 1862, when it was created under the aegis of the erstwhile Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India. The society was granted a plot of land by the government in Sewri, in 1835. As the area was subsequently required for a European burial-ground, the plants were shifted to a 33-acre site in Byculla in 1862 and the gardens were artistically laid out. In 1862, the gardens were formally opened by Lady Frere, wife of Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay (1862-67).