Nov 28, 2015

Granite hillock of Lalbagh

Truly a wonderful place, it's countless varieties of trees & plants, a lake and a hillock is a great combination. During my school days, I used to come here with my brother or friends.. oh those wonderful times we had climbing trees, swinging from aerial roots, picking Singapore cherries, floating paper boats in the lake, run up & down the slopes of rocky hillock, and what not. There's an open-air badminton court near the horticulture nursery. A friend and I used to come there early mornings for a walk and a game of badminton. Sometimes we would simply sit on the rock enjoying the cool air and the warm touch of early morning sun rays. Lalbagh's rock is a favourite sit-spot for many regular visitors. Even maize and peanut vendors hand around Kempegowda's Mantapa. A decade ago, the Mantapa was not fenced, visitors could sit inside the historic monument.

Stone was quarried from this spot long time back for sure, probably during Kempegowda's and Tipu's days. Probably quarrying ceased after Kempegowda installing his Mantapa here. Now, people love this rock rock no one dare touch it.

During a recent visit, I happened to notice a plaque which declared this rock formation as a national geological monument. Wow, Lalbagh never ceases to surprise.

A signage has been placed at the base of the rock which says-

Geological Survey of India
National Geological Monument of India
March 1975
This monument is over a typical exposure of Peninsular Gneiss, a geological term for complex mixture of granite rocks extensively developed in peninsular India. The term was coined by Dr. W F Smeeth of Mysore Geological Department in 1969. The Peninsular Gneiss is among the oldest of rocks of the Earth dating back to 3000 million years. The antiquity of these rocks has attracted geologists all over the world and has given rise to erudite scientific papers on the evolution of the Earth by the pioneers of the Mysore Geological Department, Geological Survey of India and scholars from the academy. Stone quarry of this Gneiss still continues to be an endless source of material for research in the various branches of Earth science.
This monument is preserved by order of Govt. of India

Right opposite this rock is the Bonsai Garden.

Nov 21, 2015

water birds at Lalbagh

Lalbagh lake's life on the surface..


Water hen

Spot-billed Pelican

Cormorants are expert divers with an ability to stay under-water close to half-minute. You must see how this bird takes off from water to air..
Close to the Lotus Pond is a large signage "Birds of Lalbagh"

The board says birds seen are-
  • Purple Heron
  • Indian Pond heron
  • Spotted Owlet
  • Oriental White-Eye
  • Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  • Common Myna
I've seen Herons, Bulbul, Parrot and Myna but not the Owlet. Apart from these rare birds, the commonly found ones are crows and pigeons the grain-fed pampered brats. One other bird is the Indian Kite, usually 3 or 4 are seen hovering over the lake; suddenly they dive down and try to grab fish out of water.. if they caught a game, yes its breakfast time else back to gliding..

Nov 14, 2015

Sculptures at Archaeological museum, Alampur

Alampur - the village with Badami Chalukyan time stamp in Andhra.  Alampur previously known as Hatampura / Halampuram is situated on the western bank of river Tungabhadra, close to Krishna-Tungabhadra  confluence. A Chalukyan inscription in Kannada dating back to Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI mentions the name Hatampura. Badami Chalukyan, worshippers of Lord Shiva known for their remarkable temple building skills. Chalukya's architecture originated at Aihole; Aihole, known as the cradle of temple architecture is situated on right bank of river Malaprabha; here Chalukyan builders experimented and developed designs. Chalukyans also built temples at Pattadakallu, Siddanakolla, Halae Mahakoota, Hosa Mahakoota, Badami, Banashankari and many more places. Coming back to Alampur, this historic place is popular for two things- 1, Nava Brahma temples built by Chalukyans and 2. Jogulamba temple - this is one of the eighteen Shakti peethas. The little village is home to an archaeological museum - a small collection of sculptures and inscriptions dating back to 6th to 12th century CE. Among the museum's collection is a rare sculpture of Lajja Gowri. A life size copy of Lajja Gowri can be seen at the archaeological museum of Badami. Now to the museum..

March 20, 2015

Alampur's museum building
Naga the serpent God
The museum interior- the columns supporting the roof themselves are ancient, probably this building must have been a temple or a Mantapa earlier.

a bearded sage with a Rudrakshi Mala across his torso

Basavanna (Nandi) and a royal tusker
Royal Tusker's profile
Lajja Gowri made of sandstone
Lajja Gowri made of granite
inscription aisle

Ravanasura at Bala Brahma temple
If you ever plan a visit to Alampur do include three more spots in your itinerary-
  1. Sangameshwara temple on the outskirts of Alampur
  2. Papanasa group of temples, about a kilometer from Sangameshwara temple
  3. Bala Jhunkareshwari temple at Gondimalla at Krishna-Tungabhadra confluence, about 7 kms from Alampur  

Nov 11, 2015

Spot-billed Pelicans at Lalbagh, Bengaluru

July 5, 2015
It was a pleasant surprise to be seeing pelicans freely roaming the waters.

hunting pelicans
hungry pelican 
stretching pelican
meditating pelican


Nov 7, 2015

Devil's Tree. Lalbagh, Bengaluru

July 5, 2015
This is my second gathering at Lalbagh Botanical garden with primary school friends. The first one was Dec 27th, the day we discovered Ficus Krishnae ~ the tree which connects our world with the world of Hindu Gods. Like the last gathering, I came early, parked my car at Double Road entrance, went up the granite hillock and went exploring. As I walking from the lake bund towards Glass House, I happened to notice a tree named Devil's Tree. Wow! Last time it was a godly tree and this time its a devil's tree.. that makes it even. Here it is..

 Here'e the transcript of the board:

ಜಂತಾಲೆ ಮರ

ಮರ ನೆಟ್ಟ ಗಣ್ಯರು: ಶ್ರೀ ರಾಜೀವ್ ಗಾಂಧಿರವರು
ನೆಟ್ಟ ಅವಧಿ: ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 1985
ಸಸ್ಯ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಹೆಸರು: ಅಲ್ಸ್ಟೋನಿಯಾ ಸ್ಕೊಲಾರಿಸ್
ಸಸ್ಯ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಕುಟುಂಬ: ಆಪೋಸೈನೇಸಿ
ಮೂಲ: ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಭಾರತ ದೇಶದಿಂದ ಆಸ್ಟ್ರೇಲೀಯಾದವರೆಗೆ
ಹೂ ಬಿಡುವ ಕಾಲ: ಮಾರ್ಚ್-ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ ಮತ್ತು ನವೆಂಬರ್-ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್

ಈ ಮರವು ಬೃಹದಾಕಾರವಾಗಿ ಬೆಳೆಯುವ ಗುಣಹೊಂದಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಉದ್ಯಾನವನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಸ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ತೋಟಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಇದನ್ನು ಬೆಳೆಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಎರೆಡು ಬಾರಿ ಹೂವು ಬಿಡುವ ಈ ಮರದ ಹೂವುಗಳು ಬಿಳಿಯ ಬಣ್ನದಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಸುವಾಸನೆ ಭರಿತವಾಗಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ಮರದ ಕಾಂಡವು ಬಿಳಿಯ ಬಣ್ನದಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಗೆ ಬಾಳಿಕೆ ಬರುವುದಿಲ್ಲವಾದ್ದರಿಂದ ಮರದಿಂದ ಬೆಂಕಿ ಪೆಟ್ಟಿಗೆ, ಶವದ ಪೆಟ್ಟಿಗೆಗಳು, ಕಪ್ಪು ಹಲಗೆಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಬೋಕ್ಷ್ಗಳನ್ನು ತಯಾರಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

Devil's Tree

Planting Year: December 1985
Common Name: Dita Bark Tree
Botanical Name: Alstonia scholaris
Family: Apocynaceae
Origin: India and Australia
Flowering Season: March-April and November-December

It is a gigantic tree commonly grown in big parks and botanical gardens. It bears flowers twice a year. Flowers are white and fragrant. Wood is white, not durable therefore used in making boxes, coffins, blackboards and matchboxes.

Besides its name Devil's Tree it also known as Dita Bark Tree. It is said that this tree's bark is used in traditional medicine to fight toothache, malaria, rheumatism and even snake bites. Also its latex is used for treating cough, throat sore and fever.

I walked towards the gigantic silk cotton trees, they are amazing trees, never tire of seeing them. A minute's walk from these trees is West Gate that's where I meet up with my friends. Expected number was seven but only five turned up.. never mind the numbers, it was good enough to be meeting up long time friends, We walked around the lake, talking about various birds we saw in the lake.. a black slender bird which takes off like a sea plane was amazing to watch. We also saw pelicans, I could count five of them. Another memorable sight was an Indian Kite diving down towards water trying to pick out fish from the water, We covered the lake trial and reached the bridge where we saw several ducks.. sweet little birds :) They dove and stayed underwater half minutes before surfacing. I was glad to have discovered another tree and to have shared with friends. That's our group for the morning.

left to right - me, Venu, Prashant, Subbu, Prakash
Done with our walk, its time for breakfast. We head towards Roti Ghar in Gandhi Bazar. Prashant, an avid foodie made us have a heavy breakfast... burrrppp!