LODI GARDENS - NEW DELHI 2/3/09. Amid the dust and traffic of the Indian capital Delhi there remains a beautiful patch of tranquility to soothe the soul of the weary traveller to the sub-continent, the Lodi Gardens. Originally two villages surrounding historical monuments from the 15th century the locals were re-located to form the gardens in 1936 during the time of the British Raj, giving Delhi a much loved space to take a morning constitutional by the residents of Lutyens grand New Delhi. After independence in 1947 the Lady Willingdon Park, as it was known on inauguration, was renamed Lodi Gardens and the locals have been enjoying the space with gusto ever since. Any morning of the week sees all manner of activity from turbaned Sikhs jogging the running track to laughing yoga classes beside the imposing tombs left behind by the former Mughal rulers. Three tombs, of Sikander Lodi, Mohammad Shah, and an unknown family buried in the Sheesh Gumbad dominate the landscaped gardens like minor versions of the Taj Mahal. A former residence and mosque, the Bara Gumbad and the eight piered bridge Athpula rounding out the historical sites. In the surprisingly chilly Delhi winter mornings these monuments are shrouded in fog and present a grand vision of the past with stretching locals dotting the landscape around them. As the day goes on the gardens fill with picnicking expat families from the nearby Diplomatic enclaves as well as Indian families bringing remarkably elaborate feasts and settings. And of course cricket bat and ball. For the empty handed, the wandering food sellers have plenty to offer; tasty snacks from ubiquitous samosas to piping hot cups of sweet, milky chai to fill you up while snake charmers, wandering minstrels and kite flyer's provide the sort of side shows that only India can provide. Discreetly placed park benches allow young couples to sit close and hold hands avoiding offence to the more conservative aspects of Indian society, a striking change from from the open affections seen around the parks and beaches of Australia. In a recent Valentines Day move Hindu Nationalists had threatened to roam the parks of the city with a celebrant in tow vowing to marry off any couples found to be acting inappropriately in public causing a major uproar. Open from dawn to dark the gardens are a treasure trove of bird life and flower beds and the waterways that once connected to Delhi's Yamuna River, are a serene place to spend a few hours before plunging headlong back into the confronting , confounding but never dull Indian experience. The Archeological Survey of India now organise heritage walks for students and general public within the park and the Lodi Gardens Restaurant and Cafe offers a beautiful setting for lunch and dinner and are open every day.