When Lalit Varma set out to create a space to inspire creativity at his private garden in Pondicherry, he brought in elements that he believed would coax inspiration and provide freedom for artists to express their art. The entrance to this space is from a busy side road that leads into a huge garden with an old renovated house flanked by the kitchen and dining areas.
What is unique about Lalit’s 600 sqft garden is the manner in which he has incorporated his love for art into the visual display. The garden, with its myriad greens merging, creates a canvas that only Nature can lay claim to! A noted photographer and art collector, Lalit has used many interesting works of art, including several salvaged granite pieces from an old temple, laid out to form the garden pathway and benches. The stone slabs depict various carvings such as that of fish, crocodiles as well as deities performing rituals. The fragmented stone sculptures, especially the broken lion heads, lend a touch of glamorous mystique to the garden.
The garden also exhibits work of various artists in stone and fibre glass placed among the plants. A traditional terracotta pot used for storing rice has been inverted and used as a canvas by one of the many visiting artists.
Lalit has retained the old wooden staircase at the entrance of the old house that leads to the first floor. Though blocked at the top, he has used it as a ‘puja’ area with several religious idols placed on each step. During renovation, a separate entrance was built on the left side and the wooden steps were transformed into this idyllic spot.
Lalit has tried to salvage most of the old structures during the renovation, though some of them now serve a different purpose. The Tamilian style built-in square cubicles above the front door for placing deities was retained. Now this 3-bedroom house serves as a haven for Lalit’s guests who also get in touch through Airbnb, mostly artists, to express their creative soul.