Our cab could not get close to the entrance gates, there were crowds of people flowing into and out of the entrance. Maybe today was a bad idea. But hope still prevailed that, inside might be a pleasant surprise. We made our way to the entrance, got the tickets, only cash was accepted. And the crowds just kept getting bigger. We had to find crevices in the crowd in order to get ahead. The sheer diversity of the flora in the the botanical garden was matched or even outnumbered maybe by the magnitude of the people. Today was a bad idea, it would be more delightful visiting the garden on a less crowded day.
Lalbagh is a 240 acreage botanical garden in the heart of Bengaluru city. In addition to being a popular tourist attraction in the city, Lalbagh also hosts bi-annual horticultural exhibition in January and August months; coinciding with the Indian Republic Day and Independence Day respectively. What better time to visit Lalbagh than on 26 Jan, I thought? In the midst of the horticultural exhibition and on a public holiday, there will definitely be some more added attractions than on the routine weekdays and weekends. But I was not prepared for the overwhelming crowd.
The queue for the horticultural exhibition snaked for several miles and we had to decide whether to wait in the queue or skip it to explore the rest of the garden; we chose latter. We started with the Bonsai Garden, walked to the Lalbagh Lake and the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is lovely with the hundreds of fragrant flowers in bloom in a variety of colours.
A concern with the tourist places in our country is the cleanliness. With our new mantra being transform, energise and clean India (Tec India); Lalbagh is relatively clean. The workers were seen picking up the scattered plastic and paper. The waste bins were utilised, but there were also rubbish thrown at a few places, maybe potential spots to put up waste bins. It would have been ideal to earmark designated areas for eating food and limiting the food stalls and hawkers who are now spread across the park to these few areas. Providing some sort of seating arrangements in these eating areas would also be a nice gesture. Currently any patch of green across the park is considered a picnic spot.
We came across a group of sculptors chiselling away on large tree trunks and on closer look, we identified these trees as the Baobab trees, popularly called the Tree of Life. It was a National Sculptors camp in progress and here was the first time we heard about the fascinating legends of the Baobab tree. The silhouette of the Baobab tree at sunset is a very popular picture representing Africa and widely recognised from the movie The Lion King.
These trees, growing in arid conditions, can store water in the trunk, the hollow centres of old trees are used for shelter; these are just two of the variety of uses of this magnificent tree which has earned the title Tree of Life.
The discovery of the Tree of Life saved the day @ Lalbagh !!