In the middle of Bangalore, about 2kms from where I am staying, is 96 acres of lush greenery, flowers, and trees called the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Originally laid out in 1760, by Hyder Ali, this large green space has become one of the most famous gardens in India. It contains a rose garden, topiary garden, bonsai garden, sculpture garden, nursery, a lake, seed laboratory, horticulture research centre, some temples, fountains, fruit orchard, multiple forms of wildlife, a kitchen sink, and bandstand. No cheese.
Lalbagh, although the most famous, isn’t the biggest of the hundreds of public parks in India’s “garden city”, but it is one of the most beautiful. While I am here in November, it is the off season, but there is still enough blooming flowers and green trees to make for a serene 3 hour walk.
Near the west entrance stands the Glasshouse. A stunning 17000 square foot glass and metal structure built in 1889 to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. Twice a year, a huge flower show is held in the Glasshouse and I can imagine the beauty and fragrance that accompanies them.
And just beyond it you can see the Police Bandstand where the Bangalore Police Band performs free concerts every Sunday.
There is also the 200 year old white silk cotton tree that is enormous. These pictures hardly do it justice and don’t really show the scale.
Oh, and there’s a lake too…
There were many other wonderful sights in the garden from the bonsai garden to the various temples. There were also a number of Banni trees which are very sacred, and shrines were set up under them.
It was pretty quiet, with the only noises being the various calls of the hundreds of birds that live in the park. I couldn’t hear any horns, shouting from touts, or police whistles. They really went out of their way to present a clean, vibrant, colourful garden that houses plants from around the world, and makes everyone feel right at home.
It felt so free and made me feel so young that I wanted to skip around and play in the trees and play around the gardens. Then a very nice man with a very nice shovel (of whom I can only assume was an officer of the Garden Police) said “Hey! You there! Not allowed!” and pointed to a sign…
Oh well… I’ll just get a stamp and wander a bit more…