Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 April 2022
This chapter examines East India Company botanical gardens at Saharanpur and Mussoorie. The history of colonial gardens has borne much fruit in recent years, but in the case of India, this has overwhelmingly focused on Calcutta. Instead, this chapter follows the largely untold story of the ‘northern’ gardens, and their roles in the remaking of the Himalaya in European scientific and imperial imaginations. In focusing on the ambiguous position of these gardens – straddling the uplands and lowlands – this chapter demonstrates the inherent complexity in attempts to categorise the vertical globe. The chapter begins with the modification of the existing Mughal garden at Saharanpur for the purposes of scientific botany. Next, it considers debates around the need for a higher garden and the way altitude factored in the acclimatisation of plants. This is followed by a discussion of the centrality of two South Asian gardeners – Hari Singh and Murdan Ali – to the functioning of Saharanpur, and the role of indigenous collectors in the mountains. The final section considers the problems of distance and limited resources as the gardens became spaces for an increasingly globally oriented science.