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FLOWER POWER AT THE LALBAGH BOTANICAL GARDENS, BENGALURU
India
by Rashmi Gopal Rao


“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank

If you love flowers and feel like what Luther Burbank says, you must visit Bengaluru’s bi-annual flower show at Lalbagh Botanical gardens, easily one of the city’s best known landmarks. The show that coincides with India’s Republic Day (26-Jan) and Independence Day every year is usually a 10 day long extravaganza of everything related to flowers. Also one of the best lung spaces in the city (the other being Cubbon park), Lalbagh must be on your must-do on your next trip to Bengaluru. The sprawling gardens is one of the spaces that has stood the test of time as the city gradually transformed from the “garden city” to the “silicon valley of India”. Founded way back in 1760, this 240 acre space is a lush green haven in the heart of the city. Depleting green spaces in the city, have made this erstwhile royal and private garden a universal favorite with early morning walkers, joggers, bird watchers and photographers alike. One of the main reasons for this is that the place is a ‘treasure house’ of rare plant species from across the world and boasts of a whopping 1,854 species of plants and trees!  

A Riot of Colour

Lalbagh is currently under the aegis of the Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka which organizes the biannual flower show. One of the much awaited events of the year, the show boasts of interesting and awe inspiring themes year after year. The themes have been varied and equally stupendous each time, whether it is the flower decked Eiffel tower, Mysore Palace or the world famous Dasara procession. All pieces are exhibited in the glass house of the garden. Last year’s Independence Day’s theme which incidentally happened to be the 202nd flower show was Royalty with the centre piece being the replica of the Bangalore palace.

The floral structure was decked with a jaw dropping figure of close to 3 lakh Dutch roses. There were also five life-sized replicas of erstwhile maharajas of Mysore, including the ‘Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Jayarahamaraja Wadiyar and Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.’ These stunning pieces are created by a team of highly talented experts who not only work in tandem weeks prior to the show but also make sure that the flowers are meticulously maintained during the 10-odd day display. They are watered, changed and taken care of so that their fresh look is retained. Apart from the main pieces there are hundreds of aesthetic decorations using rare flowers including spectacular orchids within the glass house. 

A Complete Show

Apart from the decorations, the last show saw over 200 farmers from across Karnataka display rare and unique farm produce to demonstrate the emerging horticulture technologies. Visitors were also shown easy terrace garden vegetable growing methods to encourage everyone to get into gardening. Each year there are 100-odd stalls where you can learn and pick up anything related to gardening, landscaping, organic produce and the like. The sand sculpture of A P J Abdul Kalam and the unique elephant created using 600 capsicums had about 5 lakh people thronging the venue that year. The theme and signature “centre piece” that is the cynosure of all eyes is decided closer to the D-dates

There is a nominal entry fee for the show and the timings are from 9 am to 6 pm. Apart from the flower show, Lalbagh itself is an important resource centre in the dissemination of scientific and technical information of plants in addition to development of horticulture. This unique gem of the city is located in the South Bengaluru and 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 Bandstand, Pigeon house and the lake which is home to a number of avian species including migratory birds are points of interest in the gardens.


If You Go:

By air:

Bangalore is well connected to most important cities within and outside India via the Kempegowda International Airport that is about 40km away from the city centre.  You can hire cabs or take buses from the airport to Lalbagh.

By train:

The two important railway stations - Bengaluru City Railway Station and Yeswantpur Junction connect a number of cities and towns within India to the IT city.  From the station, you can easily hire autos, cabs or even take a bus to visit the attractions of the city including Lalbagh.

By road:   

Bangalore is well connected by a network of state government and private buses that ply to and fro from major towns and cities of South India.  


Photographs

All photos by Rashmi Gopal Rao.


Contributor's Bio:

Rashmi Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and blogger. She is from Bengaluru, India and writes for a few travel websites.  Her hobbies include travelling, reading, writing and photography. She is also passionate about home decor and gardening.  You can follow her on her blog, www.rashminotes.com.