In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Depth.”
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”
A mammoth floral replica of Delhi’s Red Fort greets visitors at this year’s Republic Day Flower Show at Lal Bagh. Made with more than 3 lakh roses and standing 28 feet high, the floral re-creation of the famous monument has several thousands of visitors thronging to the Glass House, the venue of the show. In spite of it being a Tuesday, I was quite taken aback seeing the crowds. Luckily, there was enough room to take pictures. Close to the Red Fort is an attractive floral replica of the India Gate.
Unlike in previous editions of the show that I have been to, at this edition the flowers look jaded. Petals of many seem to have either fallen off or got plucked. A lot of petals have holes possibly because of a pest attack. There are a variety of flowers. The emphasis this time seems to be on the smaller flowers like phlox, heliotropium, and cineraria. There are lots of them.
Roses are few and some of them have lost a lot of petals. The dahlias were conspicuous by their absence.
Other attractions at the show are a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty and Lady Justice. The white statues though not made from flowers stand out with the Red Fort in the background and the multitude of colourful flower beds. The idea of having the Statue of Liberty at the show is to commemorate the visit of US Prez Barack Obama at the Republic Day celebrations in the capital.
The selfie craze seems to have taken this edition of the flower show by storm especially with youngsters. Gangs of collegians were having a whale of a time striking a plethora of poses. A lot of visitors were having group photos taken too though umpteen obstructions (with visitors constantly walking into the frame) were driving photographers to their wits’ end.
A lot of children were seen tampering with flowers and breaking stems much to the dismay of parents and bystanders. The cops as usual were having a tough time managing the crowds and shooing off the little brats.
The flower show extends beyond the Glass House. The idea of vertical gardens seems to be catching on. There is one on the way to the Glass House. The Band Stand looks vibrant with floral replicas of a Veena, Guitar, Piano, Ice Cream, and Mridangams adding to the colour of the surroundings.
After an hour at the Glass House and another quarter near the Band Stand I headed to the stalls for a round of window shopping. There are numerous stalls selling anything from seeds to plants to gardening equipment to jute bags, cane baskets and more. The smaller plants seemed to be vanishing fast not surprising since they are easy to carry. At one end of the stalls, a mini horticulture exhibition is turning out to be a learning experience for many.
It feels good being at Lal Bagh especially during the flower shows. Ample number of benches make your experience that much more better. After resting my weary feet on one of the benches it was time to head off. It won’t be long before I come back here again because February is blooming time for a lot of trees 🙂 . I just can’t wait!
The Flower Show is on till 26 January.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Serenity.”
A photo-walk inside Krishna Rajendra Market (KR Market) turned out be very enlivening. The market named after Sri Krishnarajendra Wadiyar, a former Maharaja of Mysore, is the biggest and busiest market in Bangalore. Taking pictures here can be quite an experience. Even as you focus your camera on a subject and adjust your step there is every possibility that you will bump into a human, a canine or a hungry bovine. There is every chance that you will end up falling flat on your face and get up with muck all over you. At certain quiet corners of the market you could end up scaring humans and animals who till you emerged at the spot were fast asleep. Don’t be surprised too if you land on a cow’s back and the poor animal gets up and runs with you à la Captain Haddock’s cow ride in ‘Tintin in Tibet’. The space between sellers is very narrow. So when taking pictures of vegetables and vegetable sellers you have to watch your step or else you will end up trampling vegetables neatly laid out by the vendors.
Uninterrupted announcements over the loudspeakers alerting people to watch out for laptop thieves, mobile thieves, pickpockets, chain-snatchers and female thieves drown the cries of vendors and farmers trying to sell their produce. Amidst all this cacophony, an occasional moo from a cow, a caw from a crow, chirps of sparrows (there are plenty here 🙂 ) or a bark of a dog (quite a few vendors have Indie dogs as pets here 🙂 ) is like music to the ears.
Thanks to the endless varieties of flowers, spices and coloured powders sold here the market is as colourful as it is noisy. And the smells of jasmine, marigold, and roses greet you everywhere.
The Sankranti-eve photo-walk led by eminent photographer Vivek Muthuramalingam started at 7am outside the market entrance. The theme of the walk was to capture the Makara Sankranti (harvest festival) fervour in and around the market which during the time of this festival is overcrowded thanks to the large supply of and demand for flowers, garlands, and sugarcane.
At the entrance, a couple of lemon-sellers caught my eyes. I liked the artistic manner in which the lemons were arranged. As I walked on I noticed that arranging fruits and veggies in artistic style is a habit with most vendors here.
This little dog was one bundle of energy. Every now and then he sprinted off like Usain Bolt only to come back seconds later to his favourite perch (a sack).
I spotted more dogs as I walked on. Two of them were fast asleep and another was watching over the market space. One fella had cosied up inside a basket.
While the inner courtyard of the market was occupied by vegetable and spice sellers most of the fruit sellers and grocers had occupied shops inside the building. There were a lot of shops that were either not occupied or had not opened for the day.
The fruit merchants and grocers had just started their day. One was counting money perhaps his earnings of the previous day. Another was having a cup of tea. A couple of them had just finished their prayers.
A lot of shops were selling rangoli powder arranged in perfect mountains. As you can see making these mountains is no child’s play; it requires a lot of practice.
Even as truckloads of flowers were being unloaded, skillful garland makers were at work. I was amazed at the speed in which their fingers and hands moved. Till I noticed these men making garlands I thought that garland-making was strictly a women’s prerogative.
At 8.30am it was time to wind up, say goodbye to KR Market and head for breakfast.
Like last year I made it to the Avarekai Mela to pig out on some of the out-of-the-world treats that are offered at this food fest. The fair seems to have become more popular this year because the crowds were definitely bigger. The organizers on their part seemed to have anticipated the rush and had employed more cooks and there were more stalls. The air was filled with aromas of the different foods being cooked and crowd banter. Ready-to-eat Avarekai delicacies like Avarekai mixture, Pedas and Mysore Pak were being sold inside the premises of Vasavi Condiments, the organizers of the Avarekai Mela.
On the outside there were a lot of other vendors selling Avarekai (flat beans), Kadalekai (groundnuts), water melons, vegetables, toys, water and more. Some of the vendors I spotted last year were missing instead there were new faces like this lady who was selling puffed wheat and rice and a man with a doll selling a kind of candy.
This year, the Mela seems to have attracted a lot of media attention too and some of the cooks were very photo-friendly like this cherubic cook who was laying out one Obuttu (Holige) after another with a large smile on his face.
Jalebis and Kodubale seemed to be the most popular with long queues in front of the stalls selling them.
After a round of photography I decided to savour some of the delicacies. The taste of the Khalli Dosa that I had eaten at last year’s mela still lingered in my mouth and I went for it this time too. As expected, the Dosa and the accompaniment were a delight. I wasn’t sure what to have next thanks to the endless list of items on the menu. After much thought, I ordered an Akki Roti. The Akki Roti was quite thin and crisp with Avarekai embedded here and there and was easy to finish off. I ended my culinary journey with a tub of yummy Upittu.
A very noticeable addition to the mela this year was a Pani Puri seller. After three plates of grub I wasn’t in a mood for Pani Puris. Maybe I’ll have a go at them next year but only after a plate of lip-smacking Khalli Dosa, my all-time favourite!
The fair is on till the 14th of January.
Sri Vasavi Condiments
Opposite VB Bakery
Sajjan Rao Circle
V V Puram