Did you know your city was a rocky, barren plateau 250 years ago? Since then, starting with the Tigers of Mysore, followed by botanists and horticulture authorities, Bengaluru managed to become home to one of the greatest collection of trees from around the world.
This is the foreword in a new book, Heritage Trees, in and around Bangalore, by Vijay Thiruvady, 70, Koramangala-resident and Trustee at the Bangalore Environment Trust (BET). BET is also the book’s publisher. Thiruvady is an engineer-turned naturalist better known in recent years for leading the Lalbagh Green Heritage Walks.
No less than 140 trees – ‘the fabulous tree wealth of Bangalore’ as Thiruvady puts it – are captured one page per species in the book. They span the core area of Bangalore – Lalbagh and Cubbon Park – and around the city ranging from the far reaches of Hosur Road and Sarjapur Road in the south to Devanahalli and Gauribidanur in the north. The 400-year-old banyan major Dodda Alada Mara, spread over four acres is fittingly the first.
The book has maps showing location of the trees and how to get there. If you ever wanted to do weekend heritage tree ‘pilgrimages’, this is the book you need to buy.
Thiruvady is a local historian as much as he is a practising and passionate naturalist. The book has dashes of it throughout, with educative references to Haider Ali, Tipu Sultan, western botanists and the imperial Cornwallis.
The photographs have been shot by Mahesh Srinivas, who met Thiruvady by chance and teamed up with him. Srinivas works at a high tech firm in the city and is an amateur photographer who prefers capturing landscapes. Brilliant combination, the two have been.
"My love of outdoors and photography were sparked during many hikes and runs through Northern California’s many trails", says Srinivas, who is now Bangalore-based and lives in Kadugodi, near Whitefield.
The heritage selection ranges from trees being of botanical significance to commemorating a historical event or religious tradition to trees who have thrived in Bangalore and whose loss will be felt keenly to just plain rarity.
Heritage Trees is available for Rs 500/- from Vijay Thiruvady at 524, 16th Main, III Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034. Ph: 9845068416, email: firstname.lastname@example.org