Whe I read the Pali Canon the BUddha seems to spend a lot of his time in parks in various locations. Often in the suttas these 'parks' are mentioned in the introduction to the text. For instance the Alagaddupama Sutta (The Water-Snake Simile) begins
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's park
I've even read park keepers being mentioned in some sutta I've read. This as always struck me as achronistic. The notion of parks where the Buddha can spend time seems odd. If they were pieces of land owned by Kings and nobility I would have expected the translation to be rendered private gardens or the like. To me the word park gives the impression of some kind of public or communal ownership.
So what were the parks that existed 2500 years ago in India. Were there really pieces of land with some kind of common ownership that anyone could go to. Is it a translation issue and there are other possible translations to this that don't give the impression of a communal kind of ownership? Is it just me that finds this odd?