Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boulevard Of Blossoming Trees

Spring is in the air
The flowers start to bloom
The blossoms on the trees
Fill the air with sweet perfume

Spring is in the air
Spring is everywhere
It's growing in the trees
It's the flowers and the bees *
(*Timeless Tales - Thumbelina from Hallmark)

Come spring and Mother Nature dresses all the trees with fresh leaves and colourful flowers. Streets are filled with fragrance and roads covered with a flowery carpet. The melodies of koels, chirping of birds and buzzing bees add more flavour to the season. And how can we forget the smell of fresh earth brought by the first rain? Even with the regular felling of trees for widening roads and construction of buildings, our city has a few places which deck themselves like brides when spring arrives. So, if you are missing out on all these beautiful scenes because of your busy lives, then SOM is here to take you on a special weekend spring express to some of the city’s streets. Hop on, take a deep breath of fresh air and drown yourself in the sheer beauty of nature.
Manasagangotri: Trees full of yellow flowers welcome everyone to the 739 acres campus of Mysore University. Be it early morning and evening walkers or vehicle commuters, Manasagangotri is a unique place in Mysore city which has immediate soothing effect. Marked by a few pink flowers in January and February, the campus is set ablaze with copper pod trees in spring. Also some jacaranda trees in between make a beautiful combination with the yellow. The fragrance of tender leaves and blooming flowers has the power to refresh any tired mind and body. It is a natural spa in all senses.

Valmiki Road
Valmiki road: Apart from previously being haunted by complaints from citizens about the bad condition of the road, the Valmiki road is blessed with a natural shamiyana. The rain trees on both the sides shield commuters from the scorching sun in summer and acts as an umbrella during rain. Although these trees are scattered around the city, this particular street stands out among the rest along with the stretch near Kalamandira.

Kukkarahalli Lake Road
Kukkarahalli Lake Road: This street leading to Railway track and lined with rain trees, always has a cool surrounding with the lake on the other side. Apart from the many trees lined up alongside the lake, these rain trees stretch their arms through to the other side of the road. This is one among the few streets which offer shade all round the year.

Vontikoppal Road
Vontikoppal Road: This road has turned into a busy stretch in the recent past with super markets and eat-outs rising to keep pace with the growing demands. Be it the officers or school children, college students hanging out or the residents of the area — with all the concrete structures, many fail to notice the beauty added by the trees on this road. The copper pod tress touch the sky on both sides and the street is covered with a natural yellow carpet with the falling flowers.

Vivekananda Road

Vivekananda Road
Vivekananda Road: If copper pods cover one road, the adjacent street is covered with gulmohar trees. What more could the residents of this calm and quiet area ask for?
The copper pods are in full bloom as the gulmohar trees are getting ready to be decked up in the coming months.

Ramakrishna Ashram

Ramakrishna Ashrama
Ramakrishna Ashram: If you love flowers, then this is right place for you to spend some quite time (morning or evening). There is not a single month when this place does not have flowers. Even though Ramakrishna Ashram in Yadavgiri is surrounded by busy streets, its serenity makes it a true heaven on earth.

According to a few elders of the city, there was a time when the entire city would look festive during spring. It is sad that now we just have a handful of such streets. However, it is upto us, the citizens, and the District Administration to take care of what we are left with.

Rain tree: Common name: Saman tree; Botanical name: Samanea saman.

The rain tree is identified by its umbrella like canopy of foliage and pink flowers. It was brought origin-ally from Central America to Sri Lanka. March-May and again tow-ards the end of the year the green canopy is dotted with pink and white. Each flower stalk bears one central and a surrounding circlet of florets. Bunches of long stamens, half pink and half white, protrude from each. In Malaysia, drooping of leaves is considered to portend rain, but in India it is believed that the name was given due to the tree intermittently spraying the ground beneath with moisture. It was later discovered that this was caused by minute insects.

Gulmohar: Common name: Flame tree, Royal poinciana; Botanical name: Delonix regia.

The gulmohar was discovered in the early 19th century in its native Madagascar by botanist Wensel Bojer. In spring and summer, it is covered with clusters of flame-red flowers. The flowers have four spoon shaped spreading scarlet or orange-red petals and one upright slightly larger petal which is marked with yellow and white. The delicate, fern-like leaves are composed of around twenty to thirty tiny, oblong leaflets, which fold up at the onset of dusk. Gulmohar gets 30-40 ft tall, but its elegant wide-spreading umbrella-like canopy can be wider than its height.

Copper Pod: Common name: Rusty shield-bearer, Peela gulmohar; Botanical name: Peltophorum ptero-carpum.

Sometimes also called yellow flame tree because of the resemblance of its fern-like leaves to that of gulmohar, the copper pod is a native of Sri Lanka, the Andaman, the Malay Peninsula and North Australia. The tree is cultivated as an ornamental. The timber is used for making furn-iture. Its flowering period is long and variable; if one tree is in full bloom, its neighbour may not have gone farther than bud stage. A tall tree, often 24 mt high, dense and dark when in full leaf, it is a treat to the eyes when in full bloom.

Jacaranda: Common name: Blue jacaranda, Neeli gulmohur; Botanical name: Jacaranda mimosifolia.

The jacaranda is a native of Brazil and its fifty species are widely distributed in the islands of the Caribbean, South America, Florida and Mexico. Due to its beauty, it has been introduced into many tropical and sub-tropical countries also. It is a tree of medium height of around 18 mt. with big leaves divided into tiny segments and its propagation is through seeds. Each little leaflet is pointed oblong and at the end is a leaflet slightly larger than the others. The flowering season is from March to May. In Egypt, it is chiefly used for making pianos.

Spring festivals
India is a land of many cultures and hence spring is welcomed in different ways. But most of them spread the same message — victory of good over evil.
Holi: The festival of colours falls on the full moon day during the month of Phalguna, in late March. Before this day people sort out all unwanted things to be burnt on Holi day. This is set ablaze on the eve of Holi. The next day starts with the sprinkling of coloured water and powders.

Navroze: This festival of the Parsis is celebrated on March 21. It is considered the Parsi New Year (only by the Faslis sect but celebrated by all) and hence the name ‘Navroze,’ which literally means New Day.

Bihu: It is the biggest festival for the people of Assam and brings a sense of solidarity and unity among them. It comes thrice a year and marks the changes in the seasons. The first is ‘Bihus’ and falls on ‘Chait Sankranthi.’ It is a spring New Year and an agriculture festival. Other Bihus are known as Magh Bihu and Kati Bihu.

Good Friday: This festival is observed on the Friday before Easter. It is celebrated in March- April to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Easter: It marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is celebrated between March 22 and April 25, on the Sunday following the full moon.

Ugadi: The term yuga (era) and aadi (start) meaning the start of an era is the New Year's Day for the people of Deccan region in India. The people of Maharashtra term this festival as Gudi Padwa, Sindhis as Cheti Chand, Punjabis as Baisakhi and Tamilians as Puthandu.

Basant Panchami: This festival is celebrated mainly in Haryana and Punjab during February-March to welcome spring. Kite flying is a major event of this festival.

(Published in Star of Mysore dated April 16, 2011)


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