Lake Gardens in Taiping, Perak

high-definition creative commons photographs from the first public garden in Malaysia, with its famous lakes and rain trees, together with some further information.

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The Taiping Lake Gardens

Charles Compton Reade

Charles Compton Reade

The Taiping Lake Gardens was originally a mining site before it was established as a public garden in 1880. The idea of a public garden was dear to the heart of Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker. It was developed by Charles Compton Reade (1880–1933), who was also responsible for planning the Kuala Lumpur garden town.

The abandoned tin mine was donated by Chinese capitalist and former Perak State Council member Chung Thye Phin (son of Chung Keng Quee) as a recreation park for public use. In 1884 the gardens were planted with grasses, flowers and trees; a part of the gardens was fenced, to keep bulls out.

The 64 hectares (160 acres) site was the first public garden in Malaya, and was cherished for its beauty; it has been well-maintained since its opening. There are ten scenic lakes and ponds, which highlight the gardens. Along Residency Road, near the gardens, golden rain trees (angsana) were planted.

There are a few private and government houses located near the gardens; among them are the Old Residency (home of the Secretary to the Resident), the Raja’s House at the junction of Birch Road and Residency Road and the army officers' residences on Batu Tugoh Road. The gardens were so striking that they attracted many travelers to write of their beauty.

For instance, Cuthbert Woodville Harrison in An Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States (1911) wrote:

The streets are shaded by rows of the angsena tree, which at irregular intervals bursts forth into a riot of blossoms, even more yellow than those of the laburnum. These it rains down in golden snow upon the streets, providing a carpet fit for a Sultan, for yellow is the royal colour in the East.

With its golden snow, the angsena spreads abroad an almost overpowering scent, even more sweet than the smell of the pinang blossom. Most of the towns in Malaya have planted this Pterocarpus indicus as shade tree, but in Taiping it has grown to a greater height than elsewhere.

and George L. Peet in A Journal in the Federal Capital, written after he visited Taiping in 1933:

I know of no more lovely sight in this country than the Taiping Gardens when the rays of the early morning sun are shining obliquely through their clumps of bamboo, palms and isolated trees scattered on islands among the expanse of water. One receives in that glorious half hour an experience of light in foliage that is quite unobtainable in England.

Text adapted from Wikipedia (retrieved, March 24th 2012)

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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