In the quiet sunny wintery January if you find yourself oddly parked in the city of gardens, Bangalore, don’t fret. For there, waits for you a unique opportunity. Bangalore indeed is a city of gardens with huge trees and gardens at regular intervals. Of them, the mightiest one is the Lal-Bagh Botanical Garden.
Perched in a 3000 million years old granite rock, this garden is both historically and geologically significant and added to this is its reach horticulture and local fauna aspect. Such is the significance that it regularly features amongst topmost attractions list for a Bangalore trip. Not only is it ideal for tourists and naturalists but it is equally important for photographers and culture-seeking people
For here is a locality where the general public of the state and the city regularly visits. Local craftsmen and music performers throng the place. So, it is considered one of the best place to get the local feel. So here is what you can expect once you enter the sprawling 240 acres park.
1. The Flora and Fauna, The Biodiversity That Charms
The garden has more than 1800 species of plants and decorated by various centers. That considerable research and hard work go into maintaining and making these plants is easily recognized by the area. In fact, if you want to see the best natural and horticulture exhibitions in Bangalore this is the place to visit. Apple blossoms are the predominant tree in this city and here too it’s found in many places, especially near the west gate, Gate no. 4. The pinkish hued apple blossoms almost remind of cherry blossoms, only this is more vibrant.
The largest rose garden in the city is found here with a variety of colorful roses for show.
Apart from all this, the most stunning aspect of the garden is the presence of a 200-year-old cotton tree, the buds of which blossom in spring making it a delight to savor.
Further around as you go, you will find a large lake inhabited by herons, parakeets, myna etc.
Horticulturists make way for beautiful flower breeds here which gives rise to the flower show held in January.
2.The History and the Heritage of The Mysore King
While people may think a botanical garden is a boring place to be other than nature-lovers but that’s not the case here. The garden is one of the topmost attractions for history and heritage lovers. In fact, it is often considered one of the best place to start of a heritage trail in Bangalore.
Much like many things in Bangalore, the garden owes it allegiance to the Mysore king, Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali.
Hyder Ali who lived in the vicinity of Bangalore a few kilometers north of the city in a fort area called Devanahalli, created this garden in 1760. His son built it up and transformed into the opulent green that you see today.
The process of collecting rare trees and plants from all over the world and featuring here was started by Tipu. Now, it houses rare species of Persian, Afghani, and French trees and plants.
The tryst with history doesn’t end here because Lalbagh is a piece of prime evidence of how the city of Bangalore was planned. When Kempegowda planned the city, he allocated 4 pillars as perimeters demarcating the farthest extensions of the city. One of those pillars is found in the Lalbagh Rock, the 3000 million years old granite rock bearing testimonial to both historical and geological origin of the city.
3.The Unique Architectures and Topographies Around
A botanical garden is definitely not the place to look for architecture but Lalbagh is an exception here. Many an architect and urban planner will find this garden as one of the best places for a Mughal style garden in Bangalore. It’s a spitting image of its inspiration, the Sira Mughal Garden in Tumkur, an area near Bangalore.
However, it doesn’t end there. As like any other part of the country, here too there’s a British imprint and that bears a presence in the architectural structures in the garden. Owing to a royal visit by Queen Victoria’s son Prince Albert Victor, a sprawling rectangular glass house was created emulating the Crystal Palace of Hyde Park in London.
This is the eye of the garden and takes the center stage. This 1889 built glass house was restored in 2004 and houses flower shows and other events. A few meters back of the Glass House lies the Band Stand, a newly added feature to hold performances.
4.The Innate Objects of Amusement and Pleasures
The reason for being the best place in Bangalore is its inclusiveness. It has everything for everyone. If you are looking for some pleasure and amusement for kids and a peaceful place for yourself, then this is the place to be.
The garden has a beautiful floral clock completely with animals statues and it tells the time. Around it lies the fairy tale houses like the Snow White house lined with characters from different fairy tales.
The Maharaja Statue is a good point of interest for photography enthusiasts and tourists.
The Japanese styled section is another area to visit if you want to see something different and enjoy and calm and quiet of the place. This area is modulated in Japanese style with little Japanese huts, arches, and water bodies with bridges
Near, the glass house lies a Statue of Gandhi and a model of Charkha which adds to the beauty of the park.
A topiary garden is there opposite the Lalbagh Rock showcasing beautiful and varied topiaries.
5.The Splendor of the People, the Craft, and the Food
Much can be known of place through its people and their ways. The garden doesn’t disappoint in this respect as well. A good number of local people visit this place including joggers, photographers, naturalists, and families with their children. So you get to know the city folk and their ways of art and music.
During the winter season, local artisans and craftsmen display their work here, especially during the flower show time. As usual, food finds its place with a spread of variant delicacies from chats to coconut water to filter coffee.
Hence, knowing and visiting Lalbagh is like visiting Bangalore all by itself.
So, if you happen to visit the place for a one day trip don’t forget to pay a visit. And while you are there don’t miss the cart ride that goes around the park. A 2-3 hours tour is all it takes to explore them and know the garden and Bangalore.
Note of Gratitude
I especially thank my younger sister and an old friend residing in Bangalore, Utpal Chattopadhayay who accompanied and guided me.