Monday, March 09, 2009

Of Tree walk and Battle of Plassey

Yesterday I went to this Tree walk which was organized by Bangalore walks, they do it every weekend.  So me, lekha and raghu landed up there 7 am in the morning on a sunday. 


Vijay was going to be our tour guide, you can find his entire series of articles on the Banglaore walks website. And I was expecting more of botanical kind of walk, where he would give information about each and every tree, but then it was much more than that. What was very impressive was that he told us lot of stories about each and every tree, stories related to its origin or how it came about being in lalbaug abd his individual experiences and observations with the trees. 


For example he was explaining us this tree called Palash, I have seen this tree before but never paid much attention to it. It has a tree which has bright orange flowers, and it is also called the flame of the forest. Traditionally Gulal was made from the flowers of this tree (until all the synthetic gulal came into being), and it was used as dye for clothes. 


But well one of another interesting things that he told was that, apparently, battle of Plassey was fought in Palash groove and hence the name battle of Plassey. I googled little bit and found this in one of the NCERT text books.  (I don’t remember studying this, but isnt this good way to teach associated trees with history, it would be so easy to remember) 


From NCERT ,


"Did you know how Plassey got its name? Plassey is an anglicised pronunciation of Palashi and the place derived its name from the palash tree known for its beautiful red flowers that yield gulal, the powder used in the festival of Holi."


Photos of Palash tree,

Flowers of Palash tree

Palash tree in bloom



Like these there were other numerous stories which Vijay told, and it was fun.

 One another thing which I found particularly interesting was about Bamboo flowering.

It seems that Bamboo trees flower once in about 40-50 years, and during that they produce large quantities of seeds. After this bamboo dies and regenerates from these seeds. But this is not the end of story, apparently this large quantities of seeds result in substantial increase in rodent population in that year since rodents thrive on the seeds. And after consuming the seeds rodents move to fields and granaries and which results in large amount of crops getting destroyed. Apparently most of famines of Mizoram (which has substantial Bamboo forests) have been a result of this Bamboo flowering.  Hence Bamboo is also called "Flower of Famine".

From India Today,

 The flowering of Bamboo sends Mizoram into terrifying spiral crop devastation and food shortages. The last time bamboo bloomed 48 years ago, it led to famine and two decades of violent insurgency.

Related Hindu article here,

Researched article on Bamboo Flowering here

Related Stories: 

Story of Robert Clive

How Bangalore came in to existence



brocasarea said...

really interesting!!:)

anu said...

Hey Goli,

Wonder if the guide mentioned late Rev Cecil Saldahna, author of the flora of Hassan, authority on local plants and ex principal of St Josephs college. He was a treasure house of such stories, reading this post reminded me of him and all those beautiful trees in Bangalore.

(thanks for stopping by yesterday, and the search box is in)

anupreet said...

I wish they made history as interesting as this in school! Chalo koi baat nahi, now we have a new history teacher who'll tell us more stories like this one! ;o)

The Wandering Minstrel said...

wow! very interesting read!

rahul said...

really nice, informative blog you have..keep it up!!