Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Botanical Garden, Lalbagh, Bangalore

The Botanical Gardens, located @ Bangalore is of royal origin. It was summer private garden for Hyder Ali, one of the most famous rulers of old Mysore in 1760. Initially designed in Mughal style spread over 40 acres, on the model of an extensive garden at Sira in Tumkur near Bangalore, this garden was further developed by Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan and subsequently by the British and Indian doyens of horticulture by extension of area and addition of a number of plant species. Of them, Major Waugh, Dr. Wallich, William Munroe, Sir Mark Cubbon, Dr. Cleghorn, William New, A. Blck, John Cameron, Krumbeigal, Rao Bahadur H.C. Javaraya, K. Nanjappa and Dr. M.H. Marigowda, as the Superintendents of the garden, have made noteworthy contributions to the development of Lalbagh.

Lalbagh is currently under the aegis of the Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka. The Directorate is housed amidst the splendid environs of the botanical garden. Lalbagh was given the status of a Government Botanical Garden in 1856, and since then, it has been an internationally renowned centre for scientific study of plants and botanical artwork and also conservation of plants. Formal and informal styles dominate the garden in perfect harmony, which is a testimony to the beauty of nature. Today, the garden is a lush green paradise with an area of 240 acres in the heart of the city.

Lalbagh, for its unique achievement in nurturing the concept of horticulture and aiding the development of horticulture, has earned a pride of place among the gardens of the world and it has come to be regarded as one of the best gardens in the East for its layout, maintenance, scientific treasure and scenic beauty. It is the place of legends and beauty, a place of rarity and wonder, a place of paradise and landmarks. It is an important genetic resource centre for introduction, acclimatization and maintenance of plants; it envisages documentation of the variations available in plants of ornamental and economic value. It is an important centre of dissemination of scientific, technical and popular information on plants including offering of regular courses. It aids the development of horticulture in the state. It is a valuable adjunct to botanic study in educational institutions, a vital lung space of Bangalore, a place of beauty that provides healthy recreation to the public and it provides a venue for people to get close to plants and nature.
The garden with well-laid out roads, paths, open spaces, shade and a good collection of many types of plant species attracts a large number of visitors. Lalbagh is well protected with stone walls as enclosures and it has four approach gates. The main gate is at the North facing towards Subbaiah circle, the West gate is towards Basavanagudi, the South gate is towards Jayanagar and the East gate is towards the Double Road.

The botanical garden is enriched with numerous native and exotic flora of wide ranging diversity, use and interest. This has been achieved by way of introduction; acclimatization and multiplication of plants obtained from various parts of the world since its inception in 1760. Today, nearly 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants are found in Lalbagh. The collection of the plants has made it a veritable treasure house of plants.

Some of the exotic species introduced from different parts of the world include Agathis sp., Amherstia nobilis, Araucaria sp., Averrhoa bilimbi, Bambusa sp., Bixa orellana, Brownea grandiceps, Castanospermum australe, Cola acuminata, Corypha umbraculifera, Couroupita guianensis, Cupressus sp., Eriobotrya japonica, Magnolia sp., Swietenia mahagoni etc. Indigeneous species such as Artocarpus heterophyllus, Bombax ceiba, Butea monosperma, Cassia fistula , Dillenia indica, Ficus sp., Lagerstromia speciosa, Michelia champaca, Mesua ferrea etc., can be seen. In addition, a number of ornamental and economic plant species both of exotic and indigenous origin can be found in Lalbagh

Of the many artistic structures in Lalbagh, the Glass House is the most famous. In the necklace of Bangalore’s gardens, Lalbagh is a pendant and in the centre of this pendant is the glass house in the form of a diamond. It was built in 1889 during the administration of Sri John Cameron to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales. Designed on the lines of the Crystal Palace of England, it was intended for acclimatizing the exotic plant specimens. Today, as the jewel of Lalbagh, it is the centre stage for holding the famous biannual flower shows.

On the lakefront one gets to spot number of rare species of birds, which is not noticed elsewhere. However during extreme summer the nos dwindle because of lack of sufficient source of food.

The Bandstand, Lecture Hall, Lalbagh House, Pigeon House, Statue of Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar, the Directorate Building, Lalbagh West Gate Guard Room, the Museum and Cottage which now house some of the department offices, main gate of Lalbagh (Cameron gate), Deer Paddock, Aquarium building, Aviary and Kempegowda Tower are other artistic structures that can be seen in Lalbagh. Lalbagh lake is an important location of interest.
The plant wealth, distributed in various sections such as the arboretum, erythrina plot, topiary, rosary, centenary garden, economic garden, fruit garden, floral clock, cypress lawn, aviary shade garden, terrace garden, statue garden, band stand garden, ficus lawn, fern house, rockeries, lotus pond, magnolia lawn, japanese garden, pencil cedar avenue, cacti house, indoor garden, orchid house, and a collection of crotons, bougainvilleas, palms, aquatics, aroids, bamboos, etc., are worth seeing. The tree fossil is another object of interest in Lalbagh.

Lalbagh is an important centre of dissemination of knowledge of plants having ornamental, environmental and economic value. Regular training courses on fruit and vegetable processing, mushroom cultivation and ornamental gardening and horticulture are offered to the public by the Department of Horticulture. The Dr. M.H. Marigowda National Horticulture Library is a reference library with a good collection of books on horticulture and allied subjects.


Lalbagh Botanical Garden is located in the heart of the city, about 4 km from the State Legislature – the Vidhana Soudha. Most parts of the garden is surrounded by different blocks of the beautiful residential layout – Jayanagar. The city buses plying to Jayanagar and localities beyond Jayanagar stop at one or other approach gates of Lalbagh. The garden is accessible through four gates. Vehicles are allowed only through the East gate towards the Double Road. There is ample parking space on entering through this gate. Vehicular movement inside the garden is restricted. Access to the Directorate of Horticulture and related offices is through the main gate. HOPCOMS, MHS and BNCS offices are easily accessible through the Double Road gate.

Lalbagh remains open daily from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. throughout the year.
All major buildings and important locations in the garden are accessible through well laid out roads and pathways.
Scheduled courses on Horticulture, Post Harvest Technology and Mushroom cultivation are offered to the public by the Department of Horticulture at Lalbagh. Besides these a 10 month Horticulture training programme is organized every year for the rural youth. The Mysore Horticultural Society too organizes courses on Ikebana and Bonsai. All programmes are publicized well in advance in newspapers/respective offices.
Biannual flower shows are organized every year in January and August on the occasion of the Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations respectively. Details can be had from the Directorate of Horticulture or the Mysore Horticultural Society Office.
The garden is an institution of botanical and environmental importance, a treasure house of our state and nation, an important lung space of Bangalore –it is the duty of every one of us to protect it from deterioration and to keep it clean. Videography is prohibited.

Eco-friendly Tour – Harini –A battery operated 8 seater vehicle is available for tour around the park, which can take around 45 minutes, otherwise by walk one can spend around 4 to 5 hours. The cost of the eco friendly tour is Rs 100 per head. Otherwise if you are seeking to cut your weight by 5 kgs then one week regular walk would be ideal. It is a nice one day picnic spot. Usage of plastics is banned, penalities are levied for violation. Please do not attempt to vandalise the trees like the lover who is trying to impress his lover, by writing her name, when we just requested him to learn to win the heart of his girlfriend he stopped etching the name of his girlfriend on the rare species of tree. Guards are no where to be seen to protect the rare species.

M.T.R Delicacy
Just bang opposite M T R ( Mavalli tiffin room restaurant ) is located. This place is conneisuers delight for Vegetarian food lovers. They serve excellent Masala dosa with a pinch of butter & ghee, Rava Idli, Vada, Puri, etc Coffee is excellent quality. Sometimes there is a queue system, which can put off a visitor, but it is worth the wait. Recently they sold their Instant food division to an MNC for Rs 500 crores. So now you know you will get value for your money. It is a good change for Non-veg eaters too.

Fireworks @ Bangalore

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium was established by the Bangalore City Corporation in 1989. In 1992, the administration of the Nehru Planetarium was entrusted to the newly formed autonomous body, the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). Its primary aim is “to disseminate science among the public and the student community.” BASE has formed a Science Centre, which is serving as a nucleus for in-formal education.

Over a period of time, the Planetarium together with the Science Centre has evolved into a unique institution for imparting of scientific knowledge. The entrance fee is charged @ 25 per person, confessional school picnic packages are provided. Video or photography not allowed inside auditorium. Outside plenty of materials can be shot.

Special shows can be organized by BASE @ 10.30 am. The public show timings are as follows :

Kannada : 11.30 am & 2.45 am
English : 12.45 pm & 4.30 pm

Entry Fee: Rs25.00 per head
Parking : FREE

The Planetarium has a 15.0 meters diameter dome with a seating capacity of 210 persons. It is equipped with 'Space master' Planetarium projector supplied by M/s. Carl-Zeiss, Jena, Germany. Mumbai planetarium has advanced equipment though upgraded in 2003. This projector projects the night sky as seen with naked "-eye on the dome. It can also project constellation pictures, Panoramas. Galaxies,

The sky-theatre shows blends science with art. Literature and cultural aspects of many countries. Apart from offering informative on science subjects these programmes add historical backgrounds, modem developments and future vision. Cartoons, Paintings, Computer animations, video clippings and special effects are liberally used.

The Sky-theatre Programme is supported by a topical exhibition of posters. The exhibitions have a high educational value to those who want to learn more about the topic. The exhibitions include Astro-photographs, Cartoons, Paintings and quotations.

Big color posters of Galaxies. Supernova remnants Nebulae etc. A set of paintings and sculptures are on permanent display.

A Weighing Scale shows one's weight on all the planets and also gives a print-out.
A Science kiosk donated by IBM, India is installed in the exhibition hall @ a small price of Rs 5/- per printout is handed out.

The exhibition area houses a stall where one can buy books, science kits, models, telescopes, astro-photos, etc.

Science Park
A Science Park is being developed around the Planetarium. This provides an opportunity to visitors to learn some elements of science in a natural and playful manner. It is inculcating right scientific temperament among children. Some of the models on display are model of D.N.A, Resonant Swings, Whispering Dishes, Sun Dial, Giant Kaleidoscope, Model of a Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV).

Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) is an independent, nonprofit making body housed in the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bangalore. Members of the association meet once a week on Sundays at 6:00 pm. Access to the books and workshop is open during this time. Members also have informal ideas exchange, night sky watching through telescopes and other activities. Maybe questions on UFO can be discussed @ forum.

Telescope building is one of the important activities of ABAA. Members of ABAA do night sky observation, astro-photography, etc. - from "Shivanahalli" 35.00 kms from Bangalore where they have a 12" telescope amongst others to do observations.
Know Your Stars
This activity takes place together with the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) on first Sunday of every month. It begins with a lecture session in the sky-theatre where sky of that night is simulated. Stars, constellations and planets are identified. A star chart of that day is provided to all visitors and they are taught its use. The lecture is followed by a star, watching session using telescopes manned by amateur astronomers.

Viewing of special astronomical events
Arrangements are made for the public to view comets, solar eclipses and planetary transits etc. Portable telescopes are arranged in the open area and public watch events through these. During live coverage of such events happening elsewhere, video projectors are used to project the coverage on large screen for the public to see.

Welcome to the fireworks @ sky in Bangalore, visit Nehru Planetarium


A Park with energy……but hardly any visitors either during daytime, night times I have to check out. In the heart of the city of Bangalore located near the Raj Bhavan on the golf course road joining the commissioner office. They hardly charge Rs 5/-as enterance fee. The concept of renewable energy is portrayed very beautifully. Mr Shiv Kumar, requested me to " Sir please, we have developed such as beautiful park on renewable energy, but there are not much visitors, please help us to publicise and bring in crowd of visitors to witness the magnificient display in the heart of the city " I suppose this will be a very small contribution that I will be making in front of gaints in the field.
Solar HUT: SOLAR HUT is constructed using Bamboo, integrated with Solar Photovoltaic panes. The sunlight falling on the solar cells is converted into electricity, and it used for array of household applications. The energy generated is stored in a battery bank which is capable of lighting up: 6 Nos of 11 W lights, 2 nos of ceiling fan working for 6-7 hours/day, 1 fridge working for 24 hours a day, 1 CTV working for 6-7 hours, and 1 PC working for 6 hours a day.
SOLAR HEATED SWIMMING POOL : To keep the temperature of the water at ambient level during winter solar energy is utilized. It is an excellent idea, which can be extended to Sauna parlors too I suppose. The water in the Pool was quite dirty, I requested the IN CHARGE Mr Shiv Kumar to change the water in the pool. He was the one who requested for me upload and request more visitors to this park.
SOLAR PUMPING SYSTEM : For agricultural usage, for pumping water.
BATTERY OPERATED CAR : Reva is manufactured in B’lore which is totally pollution free in terms of Smoke as well as sound. How we love it to be fitted with solar cells for recharging, it will become a hit, I think manufacturers must be working on it.
BATTERY OPERATED CYCLE : A peddling bike with maximum speed of 25 kms per hour on cruise mode can generate lot of energy.
ENERGY GENERATING SLIP : The energy slip is made of a conveyer belt, which converts into energy as the rider comes down from the topmost point sliding down. An ADC dynamo is fitted into the gear mechanisms to generate power for LEDs.
ENERGY GENERATING DRUM : Walking inside the drum rotates the AC dynamo which in turn generates electricity.
MICRO HYDEL PLANT : A hydel power generation demo is displayed. SOLAR COOKER : Mass feeding can be ensured by using solar cookers, which is installed in many religious places in India, Tirupati, Dharmastala, etc.
COMPUTER BASED ENERGY QUIZ & GAMES : kids can enjoy the knowledge gain through interactive audio visual exhibit designed to impart information on energy.
WIND ENERGY : A model is displayed to demonstrate how wind energy is harnessed to produce electricity, a prime example is Chitradurga town.
WOODY BIOMASS GASIFIER : Biomass gasification converts solid biomass into a high quality gaseous fuel at very high overall efficiency.
SOLAR PHOTOVOLTIC (PV) POWER PLANT : It is proven maintenance free technology with one time investment.
SOLAR PV- WIND HYBRID SYSTEM : It is one of the eco friendly renewable power systems, which can be installed on hilltops, beaches, other energy deficient areas.
There are many more ideas to explore and learn, which kids will enjoy, and there are light & sound shows in the night too. Overall one should not miss this Renewable energy park in Bangalore, which is located right behind Vidhana Soudha in B’lore. Mr Shiv Kumar, I have kept my word.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Andaman was literally beckoning us after the Tsunami tragedy, well in Nov 2005 we decided to take trip from Mumbai. We booked tickets in advance luckily and got a cheap package from Jet Airlines. The central govt. too withdrew freeze on LTC travel and were encouraging employees to visit andaman for aiding recovery of tourism. Hotel and other accomodation naturally had dropped their rates.
It was real bad luck news that in chennai it was pouring cats and dogs, we were supposed to stay at my friends place in Chennai. We called him and told him that we won't make it to his place since we have to catch earlier morning flight to Port Blair. Indian Airlines offered us free dinner at Mumbai airport, and it took off around 12.15 am and landed at 2 am at chennai. We looked around for accomodation at airport, luckily we got the same by paying RS 600/- incl. tip. It is worth rather spending to and fro charges to city and hotel accomodation which would have costed more than Rs 1000/- for 5 hours. Luckily this intitutive decision paid off since there was no incoming vehicles plying to airport due to downpour in chennai.
We had arranged booking at YMCA, Port Blair, for a double AC which costed us Rs 450/- per day. The room was small but it had attached bathroom. The manager was very friendly, and he invited us to attend a function next day too. Our friends Austin and his family were very friendly. They became acquainted because they are mumbaites, and from our hometown.
We had the fortune of listening to Shine who literally hung on to the tree top and was saved from Tsunami tidal waves. Nicobar isle were almost wiped out, the Indian Navy did a tremendous rescue operation despite loosing their own kith and kin. Kudos. This prompted us to visit the Tsunami village, which was really endearing, but a fantastic re-habitation program was envisaged, and people have forgotton to a large extent their tragedy of loosing their near and dear ones.
Shine accompanied us to Chidiyatapu on mount Harriet, It is a lovely spot, swarming with birds and bird lovers can almost spend a day over here snapping pictures to glory. The mount Harriet, is also embossed on the Indian currency notes. We had booked an auto, which was economical to move up and down from Port Blair. He charged us 150 rupees for a round trip to Chidyatapu. We had a lovely homely food at Shine's house and tipped him Rs 200/- ( Earlier shine and his family were doing CD and video business at Nicobar )
We booked our tickets to visit BARREN ISLE, a live volcano after the Tsunami. Weekly only 2 trips are made, so it is advisable to book your seat on the ship for a night journey. They charge 150 each for seating and cabin is charged at 250 per pax.
The trip to Barren Isle was lovely since it is adventure by night which begins at 10 pm and around 2 am one gets to notice the volcanic flares from a distance, and at around 3 am the ship reaches the barren isle, and the full flow of the volcanic lava is visible to naked eyes. Till day break break the ship encircles the volcano from safe distance and once the day breaks volcanic flares vanishes as if magician has turned off, only thick cloud is visible. One can notice Dolphins swimming across too enroute. The ship travels away from Havelock isle and reaches by afternoon Port Blair in time for lunch. Food quality is average in the Hotels, of course home made cooking like what we had at Shine's home was delicious.
Sea food is the speciality of andaman, but availability after Tsunami has become rarity. One can good bengali and tamilian food in selected mess. The rates are very economical. One such mess is availabe at near SBI for Tamil food, autorikshaw guys are the best people to enquire for good food.
Next day we decided to explore the Limestone caves of Baratang and mud volcanoes. As soon as one lands in baratang, one notices the mangroves, which largely have helped to reduce destruction of Tsunami of this area. It is a lesson for mankind to preserve Mangroves which can act as a barrier against lashing tidal waves. The boat ride to limestone caves are ultimate adventure. It veers into a narrow creek with mangroves and sways in a winding trail and reaches the jetty, from where one has to walk across nearly 2 km but worth its effort. This journey is like entering a forest and can be cherished for life long, crocs are infesting these waters. Beware of frequently children touching the river water. The cave was filled with slush which can put off any visitor so one has to remove shoes and socks to discover the wonder of nature. We visited nearly 1/2 km into the cave along with the jetty guide, who had a torch. The limestone caves are a revealation of nature's beauty. One has to be careful, to watch out for leeches, i was fortunate, to bleed from one naughty leech bite. It is better to inspect their feet when they come out of the caves. Next we reached the Bus stop, from there Mud volcanoes can be visited by JEEP, along with a guide. Once again one has to walk half a Km to witness the beauty of mudvolcanoes which are bubbling all over. Well, before Tsunami there existed a lovely beach but was destroyed totally due to tidal waves. Enroute back to Port blair we got to see the naked Jarwah tribes. People are not advised to feed them any normal foodstuff. One can give them fruits and vegetables which is good for their health. They cannot digest baked or fried items. Photography of Naked tribes are prohibited, one has to remember though.
Local sight seeing places are Corbyn beach, Acquarium, Gandhi Park, Arts Museum. One should not miss the sound and light show at cellur jail, it is worth waiting and watching. It is a tribute to the struggle of freedom of India. Andaman Isle was a Taadipar. Other Isle visits to Ross Island which is also known as Paris of the East is a beauty, but destoryed due to earthquake of 1942. The viper island is another revealation in terms of the gallows and jails. All the notorious and tough criminals were housed here. Veer Sarvarkar was hanged in this place. Later, women freedom fighters were seperately housed. Andaman is generally known for nil crimes in the ISLE because nobody can escape from here. Coral island is full of shells, stones and unique corals.
Share auto is common mode of transport along with buses, Sun rises quite early at 5 am. Long distance travel can be undertaken early morning and return to base same day can be practised. Some tourists who prefer beaches can stay put a Havelock Island. It is better to carry a good camera to get hold of nice pictures of beauty of nature and beaches. If one plans a trip it has to be at least for 5 days otherwise one is bound to miss out after going such a distance. It is actually like travelling to Far East country. The strategic importance of Andaman isle is tremendous for India. The bio-diversity in marine life in the form of corals are in plenty. But alas one cannot treasure it. It is prohibited and penalities can be huge. Explore andaman isle because it emboldens the spirit of human survival. Join the bandwagon to revive tourism in ISLE, post Tsunami.