This is the time of the year when Delhi’s trees give the city its colourful hue
The time between the withdrawal of winter and the arrival of summer is a strangely unsettling time of the year in Delhi. The mornings and evenings still carry a chill, while the days increasingly become a little uncomfortable towards the afternoon and the sun tends to become a tad too bright. This neither here nor there kind of time, more like an unsure customer, seems to be ideally suited for many of the trees that grow all over the city.
This city that all of us love to complain about, has its monuments and it has its moments and both are breathtaking. The best time to see the built heritage is now behind us and will return only after another six months. Meanwhile, it is spring and like its monsoons and like all good things the Delhi spring is momentary. Do not miss it. Some of the most magnificent trees that Delhi is justifiably proud of are in full bloom. Keep your eyes peeled for them
Many tall trees bereft of all leaves, for autumn and spring arrive in one package in this city, suddenly burst into flowers of the most magnificent hues. The stark branches, tipped with a myriad of colours look like gigantic brushes painting the heavens in the colours of Holi. The first week of March or thereabouts the Silk Cotton begins to flower and this seems to trigger a virtual feast of colours.
Before the crimson, orange and pale yellow of the Silk Cotton or Sembhal and the white and Lilac flowers of the Kachnar disappear fully, the South American Bougainvillea, that has taken to Indian weather and soil conditions remarkably, comes into its own and will continue to add colour through the dry and parched months of May and June, The Tesu, both the red and yellow variety are in full bloom and the central Delhi ridge is full of them right now. There are also a few trees near the Kalkaji Temple and at other surviving bits of the ridge.
Till not too long ago, the Tesu flowers were gathered as they fell and were dried to be sold a year later, boiled in large quantities of water for the colour they released and that was the colour of Holi. Synthetic chemical colours have broken one more link that we had with nature.
Another beautiful tree, the Tabebuia Aurea, again a native of South America that has adapted beautifully to Delhi is now in full bloom. Its bright yellow flowers that grow in huge clusters can be seen at Nehru Park, opposite Samrat Hotel and next to the Teen Murti Library. The Pilkhan is bursting into new red leaves and is waiting for appreciative viewers at a street corner near you. The Amaltas, Golden Shower, or Cassia Fistula is getting ready to cover itself in yellow flowers and by mid April or a little later a large number of Delhi Streets, notably, Africa Avenue, Amrita Shergill Marg, parts of the ridge forest and many parks in Delhi are going to acquire this cheerful and happy look all thanks to the Amaltas.
Go out and enjoy the great outsides of Delhi, before the hot summer winds drive everyone indoors.