Through the blooms of Lalbagh

posted in: Heritage, Asia, Cities, India, Karnataka, Nature | 8

It had been long since I visited some tourist attractions within Bengaluru – my own city, and with the bi-annual flower show at Lalbagh in Bangalore, it seemed to the right occasion to change this state of affairs. So I slung my camera bag and headed to the famed botanical gardens of Lalbagh – with a few expectations and a few memories. 

History of Lalbagh

A quick history of Lalbagh – this lovely garden was built by Hyder Ali the sultan of Mysore and completed by his son Tipu Sultan in the 1700s. It was made to mimic the Mughal gardens and numerous plants and trees were imported from various parts of the world. Today this park is a botanist’s heaven and a nature lover’s Eden. Today it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bengaluru.

Colorful hedges in Lalbagh

Visiting Lalbagh after 10 years

The last I had visited Lalbagh was at least 10 years ago. With such a time gap, I expected that the place was made even more magical and tourist friendly. And with this hope, I entered through the main gates of Lalbagh. Beautiful colorful hedges lined the path to the famed Flower clock of this park. 

Flower Clock at Lalbagh

The flower clock felt a little drab as compared to what I had seen earlier. I recalled the same with a carpet of red and green but this visit, possibly with some replanting happening, it felt a little empty. 

Bi-Annual Flower show of Lalbagh

The place had enough crowd, owing to the bi-annual flower show that takes place here. The first being around the Republic day (26th January) and the second on Independence day (15th August). I followed the crowd to the glass house where the show was being held.This year’s theme was of musical instruments and right outside the glass house were the floral mock-ups of these instruments. 

The Floral Gramophone at the flower show of Lalbagh

Besides the gramophone, there were others like the mrudang and the bugle that were decorated as beautifully. As I walked into the glass house, I was blown away by a magnificent floral mock-up of the Bangalore Palace. Decorated with roses, this was the centerpiece of the glass house.

Floral Replica of the Bangalore Palace in Lalbagh

Around the palace and along the sides of the glass house were displays of various flowering and foliage plants – most of them part of the competition. I particularly noticed the bonsai arrangements. Mini little zen gardens, Kailash parvats – complete with a little house, pond or a lake -I would not mind buying one for my home.

One of the Bonsai set-ups in Lalbagh

The plants are lined along the glass house, each leading up to a corner where there are lovely topiaries of animals. The rows of plants are like little colorful hedges leading you up an aisle. Adding to their beauty were some hanging pots and displays.

Rows of potted beauties along the Glass house in Lalbagh

I was there a day before the actual show, and it really saddened me to see that the plants were not watered properly. Some of the flowers were actually drooping. A little care here would have further enhanced the already beautiful set-up.  

Coming back to the topiary, every corner of the glass house had a mound and a different topiary. I particularly recall a peacock and a dog. While both were amazing, the dog really stood out as the area around the dog was covered with flowers – almost like a hillock made with flowers on which the dog is standing.

Flower show at Lalbagh

There were these spectacular bursts of colors – from the red velvet flowers to pink blossoms of bougainvillea and the yellow galore as in the picture below. Each burst of color was a photographer’s delight and I had many of my fellow photographers, trying to grab every possible angle here. I personally, loved the yellow burst below. Something happy, bright and cheerful about them – don’t you agree?

At the Lalbagh Glass House

I could keep adding more and more pictures from the show but am going to restrain myself for the time being.

I walked out of the glass house to the make-shift bazaar right behind it to spot some of the potted beauties on sale. It was then, I wished that I had got my own transport for I would have loved to carry some of them back home, particularly this orchid. Suspended from an arch in a glass fish bowl, it twirled around in the air, beckoning me to capture it.

Hanging glass pot of the Orchid at Lalbagh

With the flower show done, I went ahead towards the famed Lalbagh Lake. Along the way, I spotted a heritage tree of 135 feet height, planted by a European curator in 1860s. This is a classic case of heritage meets nature for Lalbagh is full of these treasures. This heritage tree is a Cook Pine species and stands tall in front of the glass house.

Heritage Cook Pine at Lalbagh

The Winged beauties at Lalbagh

Lalbagh is not just about its flora. It has tons of winged beauties around. The melodious chirping of the birds is a soothing sound that you enjoy as you walk along the quieter parts of Lalbagh. So, if you are a keen ornithologist, you would love walking around this garden. Here are some lovely green parrots spotted in their natural homes.

Parrots at Lalbagh

And that is just the beginning of the bird life that you spot. As I reached the lake, I was in for a pleasant surprise. What used to be an algae filled puddle was now a well developed body of water with lots and lots of birds in and around it. 

Birds of Lalbagh

A well-constructed walk way takes you around the lake. Here you can spend hours gazing at the various birds – not too difficult to spot. There were keen bird-watchers with binoculars as well as telephoto lenses capturing all of these sights. There are plenty of benches to just sit around . A few street vendors selling short eats and bracelets sit along the lake. 

Bracelets on sale at Lalbagh

I must have spent quite sometime here just near the lake – enjoying the calm and fresh air. Walking along the lake was quite therapeutic – a unique feeling for a city dweller. And that too, considering that Lalbagh is right in the middle of Bangalore. With this feeling of calm and peace, I ended my visit here with a promise to myself that I will definitely be returning back more often to the beautiful #Lalbagh botanical gardens.

Travel Tips

  • Reaching Lalbagh is quite easy as there are plenty of buses from all parts of Bangalore to this place. Being in the center, you get enough taxis and auto rickshaws ready to take you here. 
  • Enter through the main gate and not the West Gate as this will take you down the path that I have outlined. Also, if you have kids or elders with you, you can take a ride in the battery operated vehicles available at the entrance. They stop at all the main sights in the park.
  • If you are keen only on the Lake, head there through the Lalbagh West Gate
  • There are plenty of water stations and small shops available in Lalbagh for some quick snacks and juice.

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