The allure of the flower

A visit to the 208th edition of Lalbagh’s famous flower show that marks the Independence Day, on a Sunday

Published - August 16, 2018 05:02 pm IST

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 04/ 08 /2018 :  Replica of Airforce base at the inauguration of the Independence Day Flower Show under the theam of floral tribute to the armed forces at Glass House, Lalbagh on 04, August 2018.  Photo : V Sreenivasa Murthy

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 04/ 08 /2018 : Replica of Airforce base at the inauguration of the Independence Day Flower Show under the theam of floral tribute to the armed forces at Glass House, Lalbagh on 04, August 2018. Photo : V Sreenivasa Murthy

The first thing that catches your attention, apart from the crowds milling in for the flower show, as your enter Lalbagh’s West gate, is the Lalbagh Lake. Relatively less crowded, and more entrancing in the soft drizzle, the walk around the lake has to wait since the ongoing, bi-annual flower show beckons.

As you enter, however, the park seems to be hosting a mela rather than a flower show what with the number of street vendors selling everything from bhel to ice-cream, as is customary, and farm-fresh nutritional supplements and jams. You don't really have the inclination to stop and look around since there is a steadily growing crowd to navigate as you walk in.

Near the entrance to the show there were even some enterprising vendors selling personal hygiene products, apart from, what appeared to be, solar panels. There are also several stalls selling seeds, plants, fertilizer, and other gardening supplies.

It takes at least a few minutes to reach the glass house where the largest portion of the flower show is on display.

As you go in it is endearing to see that the theme of the show, a dedication to the Armed Forces, is kept up so well. The first thing you see (also the largest object in the enclosure) is a model of the Siachen glacier, with a flower helicopter roving around the base. The enclosure also hosts a model of the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the war memorial at India Gate in Delhi, one of the highlights. Then there are some floral replicas (and models), of PSLV, GSLV, Akash and BrahMos missiles, and models of fighter jets.

The other exhibits in the arena feature animals , including a lion and butterflies, composed of flowers. Another highlight is the floral dedication to 85 years of Kannada cinema, featuring a camera made with 7,000 roses, film reel made with 15,000 roses, a clapboard and film awards also made of flowers. Over 87 type of flowers feature in the show, which has reportedly, been put together by a team of 15 artists using over 1.2 lakh flowers.

“On Sunday alone, we had over 70,120 visitors at the show. Over the next two days we are expecting over 40,000 people and on August 15, the number of visitors may exceed a lakh,” says Jagadeesh M, Joint Director of Horticulture (Parks and Gardens).

With all the crowd inside, there is a sense of relief when you come out of the enclosure, especially if you take the time to sit down on one of the benches . That is when the real grandeur of the centuries-old park sinks in, as you gaze at the treetops and remember that many trees in Lalbagh are more than a 100 years old.

The Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore was born as a 40-acre Mughal private garden that belonged to Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, in 1760. The garden evolved under the ministrations of Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan and then the British, growing into the 240-acre park that presently stands. It passed into the hands of the government, as a Government Botanical Garden in 1856 (now under Directorate of Horticulture) and has been a centre for the study of plants and their conservation. Lalbagh is home to over 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants.

Built in 1889, the Glass House, which hosts the flower shows every year, forms the centre of the pendant shape that Lalbagh takes. The park also hosts a Bandstand, Lecture Hall, a Museum , apart from a deer paddock, an aquarium, an aviary, the Kempegowda Tower, and more.

As you walk back looking at the trash that has gathered around the enclosure you wonder how people can come in with such enthusiasm for a nature show, while causing harm at the same time, even after the authorities had banned the use of plastic in the show.Tickets priced at Rs 70 (for adults) and Rs 20 (for children) are available at the park as well as at the gate. The show is on until August 15, from 9 am to 6 pm.

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