Hark, hark! The tree festival is around the corner


Gulmohr tree in full bloom at Lal Bagh – May 2013

The first edition of Neralu, the Bengaluru Tree Festival, is all set to take place on the 8th and 9th of February. A brainchild of a team of avid tree lovers of the garden city, the festival is purely a citizen-donation-driven one and aims to create a green awakening in the city once famous for its green cover. Over the years, numerous trees around the city have been felled mercilessly to make way for development without giving a thought to the environment.

As Mother Nature cries silently, the tree festival with its various tree-related events and campaigns, hopes to some extent wipe her tears. In the pipeline are tree walks led by eminent naturalists, tree journalling and ID-ing workshops, film screenings, talks on trees, a painting exhibition featuring works of renowned tree artist Rumale Channabasavaiah, photo exhibitions, story-telling sessions, games and a Hug-a-Tree campaign. The events will be held at Bal Bhavan and Venkatappa Art Gallery both of which are at Cubbon Park, Bangalore’s famous lung space.

A young tree lover at Lal Bagh

Why the name “Neralu”?

“Neralu” translates to shade in Kannada. A very apt name I should say because shade is the biggest gift that trees have given us. There is nothing like a walk down a tree-lined avenue. It has a therapeutic effect and is a stress-buster and not to forget the shade prevents us from getting roasted on a hot sunny day.

Check out more on Neralu at http://neralu.in/

Tree-lined roads are always a joy to behold!

Once upon a time, the roads of Bangalore were abundantly skirted with trees most notably the Jacaranda, Pride of India, Golden Shower, Gulmohr, and Raintrees. When these trees were in full bloom, the roads wore a lovely look. Sadly we very rarely get to see such sights these days. Let us hope, fests like Neralu stir the tree-loving passion in all the citizens. As one of the organisers puts it, “the aim of the festival, titled ‘Neralu’ (shade) is to bring Bangaloreans closer to the environment, especially trees, which were the true heritage of the City”.


Flowers of the Pride of India tree.

Scary findings

These graphical depictions of the depletion of Bangalore’s green cover that went viral on Twitter are a stark reminder  to all Bangaloreans to put their act together and save our trees from the saws and more importantly plant more trees. Else we could be heading for an environmental catastrophe a la Uttarakhand.


Image courtesy: Twitter

Now these are only findings from the year 1973 to 2006. Wonder how the graph would look like in 2014.

Go Bangalore go! Plant more trees. We need more of them!


Great example to emulate for tree conservation: This mango tree at Lal Bagh was planted by Tipu Sultan.

– Did you know, Halasuru in Bangalore, now more or less a concrete jungle was once a Jackfruit Garden. That’s why the name Halasuru. And Hulimavu was a mango and tamarind garden.


– The Banyan tree is a variety of fig tree
– The tamarind tree is known to withstand extreme levels of pollution.
– The shallow roots of the Gul Mohr result in some of these trees falling during early monsoon.
– Two fully grown trees supply enough oxygen a year to sustain a family of four
– The more the trees around your house, the cooler will be your summer
– The more the trees, the lesser the chances of soil erosion

Childhood reminiscences

I grew up with a lot of trees around me. I was fortunate to have spent a major part of my life in the lap of nature. And I have a lot of sweet memories which I cherish. Here are some of them:

– When I was a child I loved climbing trees. A favourite tree of mine was a rain tree with wide and low drooping branches. I would often sit on a branch and watch the world go by.

– In front of my home was a large open space which would double up as a playground. One day, a neighbour of mine, an old man, planted a pipal sapling and went on to nurture it. As years went by, the sapling grew into a little tree. Around the same time, plans were afoot to build an apartment on the open space. We felt terribly sad because we were losing our playground. The only consolation was that when the construction finally started, the pipal tree was spared and the building was constructed around her.

– Right in front of my balcony was a huge tree; I don’t know which species she belonged to. On windy days, I would love standing on the balcony and listen to the rustle of the leaves.

– I once planted a chikoo tree in the backyard of one of my childhood homes but she never grew during the seven years that I stayed in that house. Years later when I visited the place, to my delight I realised that the little sapling that refused to grow when I was around had finally grown into a tree.

– There was a small curry-leaf tree in my garden. Someone told my mother that pouring curd around the tree will aid its growth. My mother decided to implement the idea. She would always hand over the duty of pouring the curd to my brother. But the curd would never reach its destination because no sooner would my brother make his way to the garden, Hema Malini, the adorable street dog would jump on my brother and lap up all the curd. Hema Malini loved curds.

– Badminton was a favourite childhood pastime. We would either play on the road or in the vast expanses of grass around our houses. A neighbour of mine, a great soul I should say, would always watch us play and offered us a net which was lying idle at his home. We would tie the net to two night-queen (Raat ki Rani) trees and enjoy our game of badminton.

– A plantain tree in my garden was home to a family of bats. It was a joy to see little baby bats hanging from the branches.

– It was a practice in the place where I stayed to hang an old boot or sandal on a branch of a tree to ward off evil eyes.

– A guava tree in our garden was a favourite with an old lady who worked nearby. In spite of her age, the lady was full of beans. She would gatecrash and perch on the tree like a bird and pluck as many guavas as she could.

– One of the trees that bordered the roads bore large round fruit with a glossy texture. These fruits were not edible. I would sometimes add facial features (read as eyes, nose and lips) to them with a ball-point pen.

Memorable tree quotes

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
– Martin Luther

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
– Warren Buffett

I was in my yard and thought that the tree was a living being. We take trees for granted. We don’t believe they are as much alive as we are.
– Ziggy Marley

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
– Kahlil Gibran

The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.
– George Orwell

He that planteth a tree is a servant of God, he provideth a kindness for many generations, and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
–  Henry van Dyke

Why pay money for the horror movies? Just go to a street without trees!
– Mehmet Murat ildan

In a cool solitude of trees
Where leaves and birds a music spin,
Mind that was weary is at ease,
New rhythms in the soul begin.
– William Kean Seymour

A street without trees is a street only for the sick-minded people whose god is nothing but money!
-Mehmet Murat ildan

One thought on “Hark, hark! The tree festival is around the corner

  1. Pingback: Banadha Neralu Movie Previews | tamil songs | tamil actress | tamil movie | tamil movies | tamil movie online

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