Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tree worship

There appears a caste system even among trees. Peepal, neem , jackfruits and a few other species, are, presumably, the brahmins among trees. Far from felling, people worship them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A wounded Tree

A massive tree on Naryana Shastri Rd. close to Marimallappa College crossing was found badly battered and broken on Sunday. Its sturdy stem has cracked up, with the branches falling down under their own weight.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Roadside Ad.

Roadside trees serve the purpose of billboard for advertisers who do not do anything in return. If only these advertisers were to plant trees on occasions, they could generate more roadside ad. space in future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Green' MLC

Mr K T Srikantegowda, MLC, has used his public position and stature to influence people and officials to join him in a mission to plant trees in his area. He is reported to have planted 22,000 saplings during the last five years.

To mark the first anniversary of his membership in the legislative council the 'green' MLC and former principal planted a thousand saplings on the premises of a school and on roadsides in and around his native Bekkatale village in Maddur taluk.

Recently, in celebration of his five years as MLC Mr Gowda planted saplings at a government women's college in Mandya. Apart from roadsides and educational institutions he has planted nearly 2000 saplings on open space around a village temple at Thoppanahalli, near Maddur.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Revisiting Mysore schoolyard banyan

We have been here before. A recent meeting with Vinay of Royal Mysore Walks threw up some ideas on getting the grand old Mysore banyan on tourist map. It is now on Facebook - Mysore Banyans

The banyan on the Baden Powell schoolyard has been so much a part of our landscape that most of us in Mysore pass by the green sprawl without pausing for look-see. Other towns brag about their banyans,hailing them as a living heritage.

In Chennai they have made a legend of the Adyar banyan. This, and the one in Kolkata are widely known among tourists. They are written about in tourism literature, in blogs and dedicated websites; profiled in wikipedia. How many of us in Mysore know or care to find out about our schoolyard banyan, its guesstimated age, the size of its spread ? Do you know the grand old banyan has 823 drop-roots ? I don't either; merely it made up to make my point.
Looking at this tangle, can you figure out a way to count them. Your guess is as good as mine.What matters is the legend,the story we build up on the banyan.Do we have one?
An earlier post in FORT-Mysore blog evoked a comment from a long-time resident and senior journalist Gouri Satya. He recalled his schooldays spent under the Baden Powell banyan - "the ideal spot for us, scouts of the Ramblers' Scout Group to learn roping and earn a badge". His school, named after the founder of the Scouts & Guides movement, houses its district headquarters.
Mr Satya suggested the schoolyard banyan be named after Baden Powell. He noted that Jayachamaraja Wadiyar was a boy scout, and had gifted the land on which the school and the scouts & guides office building has come up.Camps,jamboree and training of the boys and girls for the Vijaya Dasami procession have been held for generations on this banyan grounds. Mr Satya recalled an occasion when they had a group of boy scouts abroad camping under the banyan.
Another old student, now a company executive, Shankar Prasad associates the grand old banyan with his schooldays cricket and training for NCC parades. We could put together banyan reminiscences of the likes of Satya and Prasad in their school alumni.

Of the many banyans found in and around Mysore the one at the Baden Powell schoolyard is centrally located - next to Crawford Hall; across the street from the Deputy Commissioner's office. How do we put the banyan on Mysore tourism map ?1) Get the municipal authorities to put up a green signpost - Baden Powell Banyan - on Hunsur Rd and JLB Road. And at Kukkrahalli gate close to Nanjangud rail-track.

2) Spread the word among online friends about Mysore Banyans facebook page. Input from informed Mysore residents would help collect resource and reference material on the banyans - there are two on the Baden Powell schoolyard.

3) Scouts & Guides at training camps can be encouraged to explore the schoolyard banyans.

4) The banyan can be a topic for class-room project of local schools, a subject for students painting competition.

5)Royal Mysore Walks can develop a banyans walk.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ashwin's take on planting

Although I always loved planting trees, I never used to get into the grassroot level. Recently, Aditya, a SJCE student and volunteer at Vivekananda youth forum convinced me to start tree planting in a different way; No laborers or money involved but instead we do the task ourselves. We dig the pits ourselves, ask the homes around to provide us with decomposable waste, plant the trees, provide thorn protection and water it. Every day, we make it a point to talk to at least two neighbours. I was never so convinced about this kind of grassroot level work until now.

More on this, at Ashwin's blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The thamboolam is a mandatory take home at all Indian festivals and ceremonies, at weddings especially. The thamboolam bag (made of plastic, cloth or some polyester fibre, rarely of paper) contains a coconut or grapefruit, a couple of betel leaves, a packet of betel nuts – all auspicious tokens.

I don’t know what others do, but when I come home with the thamboolam, I put away the betel nut packet to be passed on, throw away the betel leaves which have started wilting, and use the coconut to cook. The bag if sturdy enough, will be reused as a carrier bag, that is if one doesn’t mind being the publicity person for the caterer. I have often felt that the fancy bags are a waste - especially when I see the grandeur of the bags – so much money spent on things no one really wants.

Long before the advent of plastic, the thamboolam was packed in ordinary paper bags on which the bride and groom’s names were printed. As plastic came into vogue, thin bags were used. Little by little the bags grew in size and show…….

So I was heartened when I read this news. Mayor of Chennai M. Subramaniam introduced an innovative concept at the wedding of his son recently, one that can be emulated by all. He gave away as thamboolam 3000 saplings to his guests to take away and plant. This delighted all environmentalists and eco-conscious citizens – zero pollution, plus greening.

The saplings are all avenue trees, and he had made arrangements with a nursery for the saplings to be readied by the time of the wedding.

I loved it, and I am sure GVK, fellow blogger, who has been pushing for distribution of saplings on all possible occasions will too. Many of us can follow this trend.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planting on pavement

To prevent haphazard growth of roots of roadside trees, insert a pipe along with the root of the plant into the soil so that the water supplied does not flow horizontally. This method will control the growth of the root and ensure that the roots grow vertically downwards thereby preventing damages to the pavements and road.

From - Laughing Waters

Monday, June 29, 2009

Planting hazzles

Some years back, I asked the local corporator to join me in planting a tree. He came, planted the sapling himself, posed for the photos and left. A few days later, someone had vandalized the sapling and I planted another one in its place. The reason for the vandal was that a advertisement board had to be seen in place of the sapling. This time again it was vandalized. After the third one perished, I went to the corporator who had planted the tree. I came back with an indifferent advice from him, ‘Someone wants to make money by displaying his ad. Let him make money. Why do you bother about a tree?’.

So reads an excerpt from Ashwin's blog post. Thought his observations might interest the rest of us in the group

Monday, June 22, 2009

A wedding at a tree-loving family

At the wedding of his daughter in Mysore Mr K Pugglendi presented each of his guests with two fruit yielding tree saplings. Volunteers were seen asking the guests to plant them in their backyards.... Read more...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tree-line plan for D Urs Rd.

In response to our ealier post Ashwin has come out with a brief note in his official website.
Ashwin writes: As of today, 14 trees exist on the kilometer long road. Just 14! I did a quick math to find out how many trees can be planted in all. Considering the intersecting roads, electric poles and a gap of at least 15 feet between adjacent saplings, 240 trees can be planted (both sides included)...To get a sense of his plan,and view the images Ashwin has in mind for Devaraja Urs Road, access Sapgreen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greening D Urs Rd.

I wonder at what stage is the Prasanna-Ashwin initiative to tree-line Mysore's Devaraja Urs Road. Ashwin Upadhyaya and Mr Prasanna have their commercial establishments on one of the city's oldest market areas. Their plan is to mobilise shopowners for planting suitable pavement trees that provide shade for shoppers and parked vehicles.
I don't know if the Prasanna-Ashwin initiative includes sidewalk-landscaping, such as this one in San Jose, California.Maybe there isn't much scope,considerng that pavements on D Urs Rd. are not wide enough.Or maybe they could try it out on the Coffee Day Kerbside,where we turn right, into JLB Road.

Meanwhile, I wish to share with Ashwin and Mr Prasanna some photos on the sidewalk planting done in San Ramon, Calif.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Leave behind your MEMORIES - Tree Plantation at Karur Public School

If we look back into our School Life today... we wonder if our teachers still remember us..? Some are remembered because they were extraordinary brilliants, some because they were very naughty and some only because they were good at something (singing, dancing, sports etc). Today when I go to my school they remember me because I was the most naughtiest and was always on the sports ground. It feels just GOOD... because they Remember..! :)

We at NISARGA, work a lot with schools as we do Nature & Outdoor based education programs all across Karnataka. On one of such program I met Santosh who is young and so passionate to give one of the best of the best education to his students. He owns 2 schools in Davangere and they are coming up with the new school campus at Karur both residential & day school. As we were on Summer Nature Camp at Kemmangundi one of the nights we were talking about doing planatation and landscaping at the new campus. That is when I suggested instead of going for ornamental and exotic trees if he would be interested to go for Native & Fruit bearing trees and also landscaping with more Butterfly host plants. The idea is to encourage and support the population of Birds & Butterflies inside the campus which in turn justifies all our efforts in introducing the Nature & Outdoor education Curriculum (activities like Workshop on Birds, Butterflies and also Biodiversity Study etc) for the students.

Nature Study while on Trek to Hebbe Falls

As the discussion went deeper n deeper, I recalled some of my readings of GVK promoting TREE planation to mark occassions at Family or Individual. Being one of GVK's admirer, right there an Idea popped into my mind and suggested Santosh if we can ask every student to plant a sapling as soon as he gets admission and take care of it untill he stays in the school. Santosh was very excited with this and immedeately said yes to it. So we have this thing take off with this years admissions and hopefully continuing for many years to come. For me I wonder if this can be one best way to "Leave behind your MEMORIES" at your school where you spend the most important era of your LIFE.

"Wish if more Schools can adopt this IDEA"

Anybody interested to know more about NISARGA Nature & Outdoor education activities please do contact me at or call me at 99800 17105 / 99025 91345.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Greenery amidst concrete jungles

This huge sub-city in the capital is a 'modern' monstrosity. The USP of this sprawling residential locale called Dwarka includes - apartment blocks with ethnic names, wide roads, generous service lanes, crowded sector-wise malls, oh-so-hard water. But amidst all the concrete, we catch glimpses of green, occasionally yellow of the konna flowers (the Indian laburnum (Cassia fistula) flowers blossom in May here) and varietis of bougainvilla. Here's a Vishual treat. (The konna flowers are an integral part of the Vishukkani set up in Keralite households on the occasion of Vishu).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chamarajanagar tree slaughter

The milestone on Sathy Road says Chamarajanagar is just 10 km away. From here we drove past scores of slaughtered trees all the way to the town. Amputated tree trunks on the roadside bore mute witness to an officially sanctioned havoc to green cover.
This stretch of the road close to Chamarajanagar town has apparantly been left untouched. Could it be because the timber contractor, working his way towards the town from the sixth milestone, has yet to make it here ? Whatever the reason it was refreshing to see a patch of road well shaded with roadside trees that are decades old.
If axe-men have their way, this shaded stretch may well become a memory.Giving way to a widened, if tree-less, stretch of road such this one.
Timber contractors are at work,sawing and axing freshly chopped trees into manageable pieces of firewood.
Logs on the wayside await transport to saw mills and carpentry shops.
You could do a 1000 words on the chopped tree in this picture.
But who needs words when the trunks can speak. Road-widening is cited as an explanation. What is often not so obvious is a minor fortune some people could stand to make by lobbying for widening roads rich with old avenue trees.
Telltale remains of a chopped tree on the left of the big one suggest that road-widening may well be a pretext for converting trees into high value timber. In many cases trees that got axed could have been saved, with marginal realignment of the stretch marked for widening. But then saving trees fetch no money. And these are sturdy old trees, on which there is much money to be made by bringing them under axe.

Friday, February 13, 2009

'Green' school at Vijayanagar

Right across the road from the public park in Vijayanagar colony where our Ugadi plants are coming up is Ananthageetha Vidhyalaya. The school stands out for its greenary.The teachers here take as much care of trees as they do their students. The trees, on their part, provide a welcoming shade; and LKG teachers prefer to hold classes out in the open.
Friends of roadside trees(Fort-Mysore) found this school eminentally suited for trying out their pet scheme to initiate school children into backyard tree-planting. Some of us in Fort have been plugging it, with little success. This may be because we have been talking to wrong people.
Ananthageetha seemed a promising school from where we could make a start. They have planted even on public space in front of their school. "These trees are four years old," said the school founder K N Anantharamaiah, referring to their pavement plantation.

Within the school campus there are rows of teak, where students spend their lunch time. The management has throughtfully provided granite-slab benches where they have lunch.
The rows of teak gave us a context to talk about our scheme for student tree-planting. The idea is to persuade parents seeking school admission to plant a sapling to celebrate the occasion when their young ones start schooling .The sapling and their child would grow together. And children would relate to saplings planted to celebrate their schooling.
Prof.Anantharamaiah didn't need any persuasion to see the benefit in the child-sapling idea. Snag, he said, was that they had no more space in school for trees. We suggested that the children could plant them at their own backyard or on pavement close to their house. Referring space shortage the school founder noted that Ananthageetha had a strength of 320; and senior boys and girls used the public park across road for recreation, as there is not enough play-area within the school premises.

Prof.Ramaiah said they had already started admission process for the next academic year; and that our suggestion could be tried out with parents who bring children for fresh admission. He wasn't sure, though, about parental acceptance - 'we can't ensure implementation of our suggestion'. Mr E R Ramachandran of Fort-Mysore noted that the number wasn't important. Even if 10 percent of parents and students are persuaded to plant rees at their backyard, it would be worth a try. The children who do take up tree-planting could be motivated by the school. The best boys and girls from the nursery, primary and middle standards should be honoured on the school annual day. ERR came up with the idea of Friends of Roadside Trees instituting prizes for outstanding student tree-planters.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ugadi plants - a status report

This isn't just any public park in yet another residential locality. The plants you see in the picture has each a story to tell. But their collective story began on Ugadi day last year. When two green entreprenuers in Mysore - Anil Kumar and Ashwin Upadhyaya - chose to launch their company - Sapgreen - at this public park at Vijayanagara-II. The enterprising duo chose the venue, brought the saplings and requested the invitees to plant them. It was a unique way to inaugurate their company.
This was how the park looked on the inagural day (April 7, 2008) The invitees included several neighbourhood school boys who use the park to play cricket. The ground was green, because of seasonal showers during those days. When we - ERR and I - re-visited the place this morning the park looked drab and dry.
We were however pleased to see a touch of green on the tufts of the 10-month old plants, coming up in an orderly row. The tall one in the foreground, a neem , was planted to celebrate the day my grandson Sidharth started going to play-school. Sidharth goes to school at San Ramon, California; and the neem we planted to celebrate the occcasion is nicely coming up at a public park in Mysore.
Here, his grandma planting the sapling in Sidharth's name on Ugadi day. Maybe we made a big deal of his pre-schooling. But then any event in the family is a cause for celebration for us. Besides, it gives us a pretext to plant a sapling. If every other person in a neighbourhood were to mark every family event - be it your children's birthday, your wedding anniversary, your daughter's graduation day, your son's first job placement, or his first trip abroad, India visit of your children based abroad - by planting a sapling in their backyard or on pavement in front of your place, we could turn the neighbourhood green.
I persuaded tree-lover ERR to pose with his sapling, a mahagony. Among other notable Mysoreans who planted saplings on Ugadi last April were veteran journalist Krishna Vattam and Snake Shyam.