Taman putroe phang

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Botanical Garden of Love
Proposal to develop the recreational area referred to as Taman Putroe Phang, located in the centre of Banda Aceh, into a botanical garden.

The Taman Putroe Phang recreational area includes the Gunongan Historical Park, a 16th century palace complex built by Sultan Iskandar Muda for his Malay wife Putroe Phang, the Princess of Pahang.

The Gunongan palace complex was originally surrounded by a royal garden known as the Taman Ghairah or garden of love.

The Gunongan Historical Park is on the UNESCO list of proposed world heritage sites.

Taman Putroe Phang is a culturally and historically significant site in the centre of Banda Aceh on a tributary of the Krueng River.

The development of the site will provide a valuable amenity for the citizens of Aceh as well as remaining an ongoing achievement for their civic leaders and municipal administration.

Furthermore, the development and continued management of this project will enhance the appearance of Banda Aceh while also providing an international tourist attraction.

Traditional Islamic garden.

Traditionally, an Islamic garden is a cool place of rest and reflection, and a reminder of paradise. The Qur’an has many references to gardens, and the garden is used as an earthly analogue for the life in paradise which is promised to believers:

Allah has promised to the believing men and the believing women gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure; that is the grand achievement (Qur'an 9.72)

There are surviving formal Islamic gardens in a wide zone extending from Spain and Morocco in the west to India in the east. Famous Islamic gardens include those of the Taj Mahal in India and the Alhambra in Spain.

The general theme of a traditional Islamic garden is water and shade, not surprisingly since Islam came from and generally spread in a hot and arid climate. Unlike the European gardens, which are often designed for walking, Islamic gardens are intended for rest and contemplation. For this reason, Islamic gardens usually include places for sitting.

The author, Clifford A. Wright, describes different garden types for different purposes in his book ‘The Muslim Gardens of Paradise’.

‘The Muslims had different kinds of gardens serving different purposes. The bustan was the garden of the inner court of a house, a formal garden with pools and water channels. The jannah was an orchard with palms, oranges,and vines irrigated by canals. The rawdah referred in particular to the vegetable garden that produced foods for the cooks.’

Many of the gardens of Islamic civilization are lost to us today. While most others may retain their forms, the original plantings have been replaced with modern ones. The garden is a transient form of architectural art dependent upon the climate, and the resources available to those who care for it.

Gardens in Islam

The underlying theme of the Islamic garden is the concept of the chahar-bagh or four-fold garden. Classically, the chahar-bagh is constructed around a central pool or fountain, with four streams flowing from it, representing the four main elements of life. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), describing his miraculous journey to heaven, mentions four rivers: flowing with wine, milk, honey and water. The number four has an inherent symbolism reflecting the natural world. The symbolism of an Islamic garden represents a universal theme – that of the understanding of nature and the universe.

The quadripartite plan based on the chahar-bagh is developed in gardens all over the Islamic world. The Taj Mahal in India is placed at the head of a large chahar-bagh. The gardens of the Generalife and the Alhambra palaces in Spain both have a series of courtyard gardens based on the chahar-bagh design.

In an Islamic garden the emphases are on water and shade, not surprisingly, as many of the early Islamic gardens were created in hot and arid areas. Gardens in Islam, unlike the great gardens in the English tradition, are not so much places for walking in, as places of rest and quiet contemplation hence the need for a place to sit is also an important consideration. The aim is to strive towards spiritual and physical refreshment, to draw closer to God through quiet contemplation and to echo the Qur’anic phrase ‘gardens underneath which rivers flow’.

The Islamic garden, based on its Qur’anic archetype, is a place of retreat, shelter, abode, away from the tensions of everyday existence. There are many references in the Qur’an describing paradise as a garden, and in creating gardens on earth based on heavenly descriptions, man shows his desire to attain the highest state of being, his promise from God as reward for righteous struggle. Flowing water, fountains and rivers are the most memorable descriptions one has after reading the Qur’anic references to paradise.

The vision embodied in the Islamic garden is a universal one and it should appeal to everyone from whatever background or religion. The Islamic garden is an embodiment of a ‘spiritual vision with universal appeal’. Although the idea of paradise as a garden predates Islam, it was nevertheless the religion of Islam which emphasised these ancient and universal truths and gave them the new spiritual meaning.

Project development

Once the project has secured the necessary official approval and gathered local support the project will require practical assistance and start up funding to facilitate further development, there are a number of organisations which provide this support, they include;

Aga Khan Development Network.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG).
Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.
South East Asia Botanic Gardens (SEABG) Network.
Project Funding

The development of this project has the potential to appeal to a number of international sources for funding which include corporate sponsors, charitable organisations and individual donors.

The proposed development of a botanical garden with the co-operation of the local universities will enhance the international reputation of Banda Aceh’s educational facilities and attract funding to this sector.

The developed project has the potential to generate its own source of income, these include:


•sales of plants and income from shop

•special consultancies (e.g. landscaping contracts)

•supplying a line of tropical plants for offices

•fees for courses, educational services

•corporate events

•fees from photo shoots, weddings

•friends' membership, subscriptions

•supplying facilities.

International Aid Agencies Providing Support to Developing
Bilateral aid agencies

•Department for International Development (DFID)



•Swiss Aid

•Irish Aid, etc.

Multi-lateral aid agencies

•United Nations Agencies e.g. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

•European Union

•Global Environment Fund (GEF).

International Environmental Conservation Agencies
•World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - National bodies and WWF International

•MacArthur Foundation, etc.

Strategies for Ongoing Revenue Generation
There are several strategies for ongoing revenue generation:

The existing historical palace complex provides the potential additional sources of income; admission, tours, souvenirs, etc.

A park shop will provide additional income; refreshments, souvenirs, etc.

A Botanical Garden which features rare and interesting plants will attract international students with research funding and international tourists.

Support Groups

There is the potential for a Botanical Garden of Love support group or ‘Friends of Taman Ghairah’ to make a significant contribution to the projects maintenance budget through fund-raising and using their contacts.

Special Events
Botanic gardens can play host to special events such as gala dinners, exhibitions, auctions and concerts.

Aga Khan Development Network


The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies that seek to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. Founded and guided by Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Network focuses on health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development. The AKDN is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender. Its annual budget for not-for-profit endeavours exceeds US$500 million, and it employs over 80 thousand paid staff, mostly in developing countries.

The Aga Khan Foundation, including the Aga Khan Rural Support Program and the Mountain societies network support program, the Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Health Servicies, Aga Khan Education Services, and the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, operate in social development.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development with its affiliates, the Tourism Promotion Services, Industrial Promotion Services, and Financial Services, seek to strengthen the role of the private sector in developing countries by supporting private sector initiatives in the development process. The Fund and the Foundation also encourage government policies that foster what the Aga Khan first called an "enabling environment" of favourable legislative and fiscal structures.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture co-ordinates the Imamat's cultural activities. Its programmes include The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, and the Education and Culture Programme. The Trust also provides financial support for the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

While each agency pursues its own mandate, all of them work together within the overarching framework of the Aga Khan Development Network so that their different pursuits can interact and reinforce one another. Their common goal is to help the poor achieve a level of self-reliance whereby they are able to plan their own livelihoods and help those even more needy than themselves. A central feature of the AKDN's approach to development is to design and implement strategies in which its different agencies participate in particular settings. To pursue their mandates, AKDN institutions rely on the energy, dedication, and skill of volunteers as well as remunerated professionals, and draw upon the talents of people of all faiths.

The Aga Khan Development Network is working to improve the quality of life of the people. Exemplifying the same is the network of institutions active in more than 35 underdeveloped countries to provide support in the fields of health care, education and economics, and has become the symbol of hope for the under-privileged people.

Highlighting the functions and philosophy of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), The Aga Khan said,

The engagement of the Imamat in development is guided by Islamic ethics, which bridge faith and society. It is on this premise that I established the Aga Khan Development Network. This Network of agencies, known as the AKDN, has long been active in many areas of Asia and Africa to improve the quality of life of all who live there. These areas are home to some of the poorest and most diverse populations in the world.’

Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

The Historic Cities Programme (HCP) of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) promotes the conservation and re-use of buildings and public spaces in historic cities of the Muslim World. HCP undertakes the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that can spur social, economic and cultural development. Individual projects go beyond technical restoration to address the questions of the social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability and training. In several countries, local Aga Khan Cultural Service companies have been formed to implement projects under the supervision of the HCSP headquarters in Geneva.

The Programme is able to provide planning assistance to government and local conservation bodies. It provides technical expertise and can help to secure funding and resources by defining opportunities and approaches, preparing feasibility studies, and shaping proposals for submission to local investors and international agencies.

It also participates in urban conservation and development efforts that focus on building clusters, public spaces between and around buildings, a district, or a historic town. These projects aim to restore and maintain the socioeconomic and cultural fabric of the designated area. The Programme also engages in restoring specific historic sites and buildings that include elements of urban landscape or single structures, for which appropriate new functions are developed to meet the social and economic needs of the respective communities.

The Programme is concerned with the long-term viability of its conservation projects and does support associated cultural initiatives in this regard. All enabling development factors – community support, innovative institutional structures, and commercial potential – are harnessed, whenever possible, to make conservation sustainable.

HCP plans and executes projects with funding from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and other donors. Institutions, such as the Getty Grant Program, World Monuments Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Swiss, Swedish and Norwegian bilateral aid organisations, and the World Bank have sponsored or co-funded HCSP activities. HCSP establishes local service companies as partners in implementation and prepares them for autonomous operation as self-sustaining community organisations.

The Historic Cities Programme has been involved in nearly twenty distinct revitalisation projects in Afghanistan, the Northern Areas of Pakistan, Zanzibar, Samarkand, Cairo, Mostar (Bosnia), Mali and Syria. In all project locations, community participation, training of local professionals and local institution-building are essential components.

  • Restoration of the Great Mosque of Mopti, Mali

  • Restoration of the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, India

  • Conservation of Forts in Hunza and Baltistan, Pakistan

  • Restoration and Conservation of old neighbourhoods of Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Conservation of the sixteenth century Bagh-e Babur (Babur's Gardens) in Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Repair and conservation of the late 18th century mausoleum of Timur Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Conservation of structures and upgrading of infrastructure in the old city of Herat, Afghanistan

  • Repairs to the shrine complex of Khoja Abdullah Ansari, dating from the Timurid period in Gozarah, Afghanistan

  • Restoration of structures and conservation planning in Old Stone Town, Zanzibar

  • Creation of the 30 hectaire Al-Azhar Park from a garbage dump in Cairo, Egypt

  • Preparation of a new master plan for the Timurid city in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

  • Restoration of key monuments, historic buildings and open spaces in the old city of Mostar, Bosnia

  • Provision of technical assistance and training to the Directorate of Antiquities in Syria for the conservation and management of three major citadels in Aleppo, Masyaf and Qalat Salah ed-Din

Aga Khan Development Network Awards and recognition include;

  • 2007 Time Magazine: The Best of Asia Awards – Best Historic Restoration awarded for the restoration of Bagh-e Babur (Babur's Gardens) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

  • 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation – Award of Excellence for the restoration of the Shigar Fort Palace in Skardu, Northern Pakistan

  • 2006 PATA GOLD Award for Heritage and Culture awarded for the Restoration and Re-Use of Shigar Fort Palace in Skardu, Northern Pakistan 2005 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award of Merit for the conservation of Amburiq Mosque in Skardu, Baltistan, Pakistan

  • 2005 Time Magazine Asia, Best of Asia Award for the Baltit Fort, Hunza Valley, Pakistan

  • 2005 Travel +Leisure magazine Global Vision Innovation Award for Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt

  • 2004 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Conservation – Award of Excellence for the restoration of the 700-year-old Baltit Fort in Northern Pakistan

  • 2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Conservation – Award of Distinction for the restoration of the 300-year old mausoleum of Syed Mir Muhammad in Khaplu, Baltistan, Pakistan

  • 2002 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Conservation – Award of Distinction for the restoration of four 300-year old wooden mosques in Pakistan's Hunza Valley

  • 2000 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards: Global Winner – Karimabad and Baltit Project Development, Pakistan

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

Our vision is a world in which plant diversity is valued, secure and supporting all life.

To mobilise botanic gardens and engage partners in securing plant diversity for the well-being of people and the planet’.

BGCI is an international organisation that exists to ensure the world-wide conservation of threatened plants, the continued existence of which are intrinsically linked to global issues including poverty, human well-being and climate change.

BGCI represents over 700 members - mostly botanic gardens - in 118 countries. We aim to support and empower our members and the wider conservation community so that their knowledge and expertise can be applied to reversing the threat of extinction crisis facing one third of all plants.

To do this we support the development and implementation of global policy – specifically the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) - at a global, regional, national, and local level. We work in a catalytic way, through our secretariat in London and regional offices in Kenya, the USA, Singapore and China to deliver the objectives of the GSPC. In support of this objective we produce a range resources and publications, organise a number of regular international gatherings and develop a number of direct conservation programmes

BGCI, botanic garden networks

BGCI’s head office is located at RBG, Kew in London. From this base, BGCI works with staff and partners around the world to maintain a global network for plant conservation.

The importance of forming networks for conservation cannot be underestimated. Partnerships with local communities can support gardens with volunteers and funding. National networks of botanic gardens help gardens work together to share information and co-ordinate a united role in the country. Partnerships with bodies that have a complementary mission increase support for conservation initiatives.

Much of our work in Southeast Asia focuses on linking conservation with livelihoods.


In Indonesia, supported by the Rufford Foundation, we worked with botanic garden partners on the conservation of Cibotium barometz, an increasingly rare tree fern. The golden hairs are used medicinally. The work included community outreach and training as well as strengthening the ex situ collections of the plant. We aim to expand this project to include Java and Sumatera

International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG)


The IABG was formed in 1954 and is a worldwide organisation being affiliated to the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) as a commission of the International Association of Botanical and Mycological Societies (IABMS).

The aims of IABG are:

  • to promote international cooperation between botanic gardens, arboreta and similar institutes maintaining scientific collections of living plants

  • to promote the study of taxonomy of plants to benefit the world community

  • to promote documentation and exchange of information, living plants and specimens between botanic gardens and similar institutes

  • to promote the conservation of plants through cultivation and other means within botanic gardens and similar institutes

  • to promote habitat conservation by cooperation between IABG and other relevant bodies

  • to promote horticulture as an art and science.

The aims of IABG are pursued by means of publications, committee work, holding meetings and symposia and contact through regionally autonomous groups having representation on the IABG Council.

All botanic gardens, arboreta or other institutes and their staff are eligible for membership of IABG through the various regional groups in Europe, Ibero-Macaronesia, Latin America, Australasia-Oceania, E. Asia, with AABGA providing a corresponding service to institutions in North America.

The Constitution of IABG was revised and ratified in Frankfurt in 1987.

International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG) Contacts

International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG)
Mem. Sun Yat-Sen
P.O. Box 1435
210014 Jiangsu
Tel: +86-25-4871026
Fax: +86-25-4871026
Contact: Prof He Shanan (President) Nanjing Botanical Garden (Former Director)

International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG)
Jardín Botánico de Córdoba
Avda de Linneo, s/n
14004 Córdoba
Tel: +34-957-203154
Fax: +34-957-295333
Contact: J.E. Hernández Bermejo (General Secretary)

Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No. 13
PO Box 309
Bogor 16003
Tel: +62 (0) 251 322187
Fax: +62 (0) 251 322187
Email: krilipi@bogor.wasantara.net.id
Contact: Dr Dedy Darnaedi (President)

The South East Asia Botanic Gardens (SEABG) Network was established in January 2004. The inaugural meeting of SEABG was organized by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) and supported by HSBC through the Investing in Nature Partnership. The members of SEABG Network come from the following countries: Cambodia, China (Yunnan), Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The SEABG Network meeting is held biannually.

SEABG Network Mission Statement

Facilitate and enhance the conservation and sustainable use of indigenous flora of the South East Asian region, through the activities of Botanic Gardens and related institutions.

Aims & Objectives

  • The botanic gardens in South East Asia need to be recognized, supported and enhanced at all levels throughout this region to ensure that they achieve their potential as guardians of the plant diversity and environmental heritage hotspots.

  • In the future, the Network could broadly include a range of governmental, university, municipal, NGOs, private and other relevant institutions and organizations as participants.

  • Improve members’ overall standards through capacity building in the areas of plant conservation, horticulture, environmental education, curation and documentation of collections, in support of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) targets and International Agenda of Botanic Gardens in Conservation (IABG).

  • Facilitate communication between members and with other BG communities worldwide. The Network will develop means to ensure that data and information will be widely accessible in electronic and other published forms (website, email groups, newsletters, technical manuals, and other publications) while at the same time safeguard the intellectual property rights of information providers.

  • Prepare and develop Codes of Conduct for collection and exchange of plant materials.

  • Facilitate the coordination and assist in the development of collaborative plant conservation programmes among members.

  • Facilitate the use of resources from beyond the region for the benefit of SEABG network.

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is a significant philanthropic endowment established to do the following:

  • Provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives

  • Recognize leaders in the field of species conservation; and

  • Elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate.

The Fund’s reach is truly global, and its species interest is non-discriminatory. It is open to applications for funding support from conservationists based in all parts of the world, and will potentially support projects focused on any and all kinds of plant, animal and fungus species, subject to the approval of an independent evaluation committee.

In addition, the Fund will recognize leaders in the field of species conservation and scientific research to ensure their important work is given the attention it deserves and to elevate the importance of species in global conservation discourse.

For 2012 the Fund would like to announce that applications received before February 29th 2012 will be reviewed and applicants will receive a reply at the end of April 2012. The following deadline for applications will be June 30th 2012 and applicants will be informed in late August 2012.

NB For the review period up to July 31st 2011 the Fund received over 390 applications, but was only able to provide grants (often only part of the requested funding) to 67 new projects.

As of December 1st, 2011 the Fund is only accepting applications through the online system, and so will not be able to consider applications sent as Word document attachments to an email.

The Fund had an initial endowment of €25,000,000, of which a small portion is spent each year on grants. Our species conservation case study web site shows up-to-date information on where these funds have been allocated so far.

It is envisaged that the Fund’s establishment will act as a catalyst to attract additional donations from third party sources to ensure the Fund’s annual contribution to direct species conservation initiatives increases over time.
The Taman Putroe Phang botanical garden project

This project was conceived by Almarhum Haji Ayman Ahwal, a tireless promoter of Aceh on the world stage. Brother Ayman worked on behalf of the people of Aceh and was a committed supporter of the Aceh Green environmental concept. Should this proposed project be realised, Ayman’s work for the people of Aceh should be recognised with some form of permanent feature within the park grounds.

Upriver Projects 2012

For updated image of Gunongan Historical Park see http://wikimapia.org/#lat=5.5457661&lon=95.3161893&z=17&l=0&m=b

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