Category Archives: Gardens

Some Photos Worth Another Look!

Here are some of my favourite photographs I have put up on Flickr.com during the past year for your reconsideration. I hope you like them too!

A Dove & Amaltas Blossoms in Jaipur

Birla Mandir,Jaipur

The Bench

Hawa Mahal

Samrat Yantra-A Sundial

Kanak Vrindavan Bagh

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Why Kill A Tree Like This?

We kill trees all the time. Some of us might need the wood or the bark or the fruit or leaves or  we might need the right of way where the tree is standing. We can kill it by neglect or lack of water or manure. But the worst and the most lamentable  way we can kill a tree is by throwing  Amar Bel on it. Amar bel looks harmless enough. Just a green string of vegetation. But it is a parasite to a healthy tree. Soon it will start spreading. It will become so that you will see only the green strings of Amar Bel only and not the branches or leaves of the trees. And soon enough a fully grown tree will be strangulated to death. Once it is  thrown on a tree it is practically impossible to get rid of it. If you are trying to save a tree by removing Amar Bel and the affected branches you should burn the vegetation so removed.  You can see this infamous parasite  on the hedge in Karpoor Chand Kulish Garden,  on some trees on Prithviraj Road and on Sardar Patel Road.

Amar Bel Description

Beautification Of The Streets Of Jaipur

Peacock Garden

In any modern city you will see  ugly places left over by modern flyovers or circles made to regulate traffic. They are inevitable by product of modernization. A consequence of a large number of people living together.It has become so that we do not notice the eyesores  any more.   For some time now the Government of Rajasthan and JDA (Jaipur Development Authority) have been going to great lengths  to beautify these eyesores. They  can not get rid of them but they can hide them a little. They can divert the attention of the public from something ugly to a thing of beauty, a work of art.  They have had the walls of flyover painted with traditional paintings, on  some mural have been put , on some mandanas have been painted. On the island made by the circles they have put up sculptures depicting rajasthani  culture.

The Peacock Garden in Malvea Nagar was one of the first space left over by the flyover to be beautified by having a garden developed and mandanas painted and carved stone chatris with sculptures of  life size  peacocks made of fiber installed.The peacock sculptures have been made by Mr.Raj Kumar Pandit who is based in Jaipur.

In continuation of this trend JDA has earmarked other circles to install sculptures at. The circles earmarked are near Lakshmi Mandir, near Rajmahal and in front of BJP office on Sardar Patel Marg. There will be 31 statue of metal made from a mixture of 8 metalas (Ashta  dhatu). The themes will be rajasthani dress, Jaipur festival and Holi dance. They will cost about rupees 1.5 crores.

These efforts are laudable. But people have defaced the painted walls where they could reach them and  there have been instances of statues being stolen. These statues are works of art and valuable public property. In my opinion the JDA  is  justified in guarding them. Maybe they ought  to  have them insured for what they are,works of art, and to put the onus of their safety on the insurance company.The cost  will be justified too  as works of art appreciate over time.

The Peacock sculpture, Chatri & the mandanas painted on the flyover.

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Photographing Monuments Of Jaipur

The Young, The Old And The Ancient.

Light plays a big role in making a photo stand out. Golden hours are the sunrise and the sunset.When shooting monuments you have to know where the sun will be at a given time.

It is a good idea to start the day at the Amber Fort because the rising sun illuminates the Fort and you can have early morning darshan at the  Silla Mata Temple.You can not take pictures around the temple and the palaces will open later on.You should concentrate on the exterior of the Fort only. If you want you can take pictures or make a video   riding an elephant to the top of the hillock. One tourist tweeted from her smart phone while riding an elephant up to the Amber Palace. She wanted to be the first to do so.

Now you have a choice either you can wait for the Amber Palace to open to photograph the interiors and then visit the Jaigarh Fort for taking pictures of the Jaigarh Fort and the Cannons and to take pictures of Jaipur and Amber fort from the Jaigarh Fort OR you can head back to Jaipur and take pictures of the Jal Mahal Palace in the Man Sagar Lake against the rising sun and take pictures of  the facade of Hawamahal bathed in the early morning sun light.

Later on around noon you can take photos of the Jantar Mantar, Isar Lat  & the  City Palace. If the spirit moves you you can climb the Victory Tower after paying a small fee and take pictures of the Nahargarh Fort from there.

On your way to the Nahargarh you can take pictures of Jal Mahal from high up.

If you do not mind heights you can even book an early morning hot air balloon ride  to take pictures of the city from high up.

Sisodia Rani ka Bagh has to be captured in your camera in the morning. In the evening you will be shooting the palace against the light. Central Park is nice in the evening.The facade of the B.M.Birla Conference venue on the Statue Circle  is best shot in the setting sun. The founder of Jaipur’s  Statue stands tall at the Statue Circle.You can take its picture also now.

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Open Air Theatres in Jaipur

Amber Palace-A Birds Eye View

Besides the soon to be open Garden Theatre located between OTS and the Karpoor Chand Kulish Smriti Ban on JLN Marg  there are about six other open air theatres in Jaipur.

1.Behind Rabindra Manch in the Ram Niwas Garden

2.In the Jawahar Kala Kendra on JLN Marg.

3.Near the Nahargarh Fort.

4.In the Rajasthan University Campus.

5.Central Park  behind the Birla Planetarium is often used for the monthly fixtures of the Music In The Park .

6.Kesar Kyari near the Amber Fort is the venue for the light and sound show on Jaipur.

White Peacock Sculpture

The Garden Open Theatre has a seating capacity of 600 persons, a stage of the size  56′ X 28′, a projector room for screening film shows , a cafeteria and a rain water harvesting system. It is being built on 10 acres  of land and the  cost of the project after budget over run is  about 3.5 Crore Rupees. The Theatre will be decorated with sculptures made by Raj Kumar Pandit. He has been commissioned with the task of  making models of White Peacocks and Butterflies. It has also  been proposed to open a butterfly garden in the theatre campus on the style of Singapore butterfly gardens, come March 2010. When the garden is fully commissioned there will be about 50,000 flowers and various  fruit trees like pomegranate,banana etc and the garden will cover an area of 7 acres. Plants are also being brought in from Kolkata and Hyderabad. Besides being a butterfly preserve it is also going to be a place where one can educate one self about  the various  species of  butterflies. This preserve will be a welcome addition  as one more feather in the cap of the  city of Jaipur.

A picture taken in the Karpoor Chand Kulish Simriti Ban

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Some Flower And Plant Nurseries In Jaipur

Flower

Living in Rajasthan one can miss having  pretty flowers around you considering the water shortage and lack of space for gardens in the cities and the amount of work  required for cultivating flowers for a short span of time. That is why the recent Guldaudi   Show held in the Rajasthan University nursery was such a success,  I suppose. After the show was over the chrysanthemum plants in full bloom were sold to the public. Instant gratification so to speak.

There are so few public places where you can see various species of flowers in full bloom. One  solution is to buy some flower plants subject to the various constraints, under which we are all forced to  live, from the local nursery for whatever garden space one has.

These are some of the nurseries of Jaipur.

Pushpawali, Raja Park, 2620704

Anand Nursery,Lal Kothi, 2743474

Jawa Farm, Jamdoli,  2680629

Khejari Nursery ,Queen’s Road, 3242377

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A Flower For Your Desktop

A Flower For Your Desktop

An image of a flower from Karpoor Chand Kulish Smriti Ban, Jaipur, for your computer desktop background.

13th Birding Fair at Jaipur’s Man Sagar Lake to Promote ‘River Restoration’

That is a great age to start !

A young man in Jaipur welcoming some migratory visitors to Jaipur

In a continuing effort to conserve Jaipur’s Man Sagar lake and try to develop it as a Mini Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, and to offer better and diverse biodiversity for peoples’ welfare, the 13th annual Birding Fair will be held on 2nd and 3rd February 2010. It will be devoted to ‘River Restoration’ to enable decision makers realize how important the role of rivers is.

Two British experts will lead the 13th Birding Fair, Mr. Robert Oates, Director of The Thames River Restoration Trust, and Mr. Jim Lyons, Technical Specialist for Fish Science at UK’s The Environment Agency. Mr. Robert has been at the Man Sagar Lake some years ago and this time would like to observe how far Man Sagar has progressed towards restoration. These two gentlemen had a meeting with Mr. Harsh Vardhan, organizer of the Birding Fair, during August 2009 in Britain to discuss how the Jaipur event could be linked with lake and river conservation initiatives overseas.

Mr. Oates heads the Thames River restoration and would like to share his experiences at a lecture in Jaipur on 2nd February to let decision makers realize the importance of lakes for peoples’ welfare. Mr. Jim would like to check the fish species at this lake and suggest how to manage their population so that they may try and improve water quality and their presence can increase the migratory bird population as well. Two bird watchers from Britain will also join them on this visit to the Fair.

The Birding Fair is a citizen’s initiative. It was started in 1997 through cooperation of the British Bird Watching Fair which is held annually in August at Anglian Water in Rutland (Oakham, Leics), Dr. Tim Appleton and Mr. Martin Davies, the two main organizers of the British Fair, are appreciative of the Jaipur event.

The Fair is organized by Tourism & wildlife Society of India (TWSI), a non government and non profit organization in service of nature conservation since 1979. It receives support from WWF – India, Bombay Natural History Society, INTACH, Schools, Teachers, government departments like Tourism, Forest, Jaipur Development Authority, banks etc.

The Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd (JMRPL) is actively associated with the Fair for past some years as it has major stake at this lake owing to its commitment to develop a tourism related multi-faceted facility over vacant land south of the water body. This company, led by Mr. N.R. Kothari, a renowned jeweler of Jaipur, has initiated series of measures to control flow of sewerage of the city in to this lake to improve water quality. Introduction of aquatic vegetation in the lake, removing plastic waste, bypassing the main drain and treatment of polluted storm water are some of the main initiatives being made by this company. It is refreshing to realize that a jeweler is serious about cleaning up this heritage lake.

Outcome of such measures is loud and clear. Water quality of Man Sagar has improved and foul odor, which would not allow a visitor to stand by the main road until a few years ago, has totally disappeared. More betterment is being attempted by JMRPL which has devised constructed-wetlands to enable sewerage water flow through vegetation to get it treated. It is going to be a two-pronged strategy. Firstly to treat sewerage received from the city, through vegetation and release the treated water in to the lake. Secondly, pump out lake water (from another end) and flow it in the same process, treating it again. The entire process does not look as simple as described here: aquatic eco systems are complex to sustain.

Larger number of birds have started arriving again at Man Sagar. More than 180 species of birds have been registered in and around this lake round the year. The number looks high as the forest habitat near by supports many birds. Happy augury is that the migratory birds have found this water body, again, as their winter home: shovellers, and pintails with good number of common teals outnumber other migratory ducks. Waders are numerous at the water edges. Divers are reporting back: pochards, grebes etc. Flamingos are becoming annual guests. Painted Storks and Spoonbills, rare here earlier, have reappeared.

Three earthen islands are being dressed up with appropriate acaia trees, wild grass and shrubs to assume the shape of ‘mound plantations’ as exist at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur. They are poised to become breeding-centers (heronries) for resident bird species; when it will happen, hopefully soon, the lake will attain its long cherished objective.

The fish management is under way towards appropriate balance to be struck at this lake. Once it is completed, more fish eating birds will make this place as their breeding ground. The number of breeding birds is on rise which is a positive sign.

Despite JMRPL’s major thrust made at this lake (it has so far spent about Rs 15 crores which is about Great Britain Pounds 2 million), lot more needs to be attended to at this scenic water body by the Government of Rajasthan, which has its headquarters located a few kilometers away from the lake. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (RTDC) is the nodal agency to monitor certain aspects of this lake while Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) is in charge of the land development, which includes areas around the lake. The Department of Forest has charge of the well wooded hills which constitute water shed of the lake. Department of Irrigation appears having minor say in water management in face of JDA’s over all control. Department of Fisheries is yet to step in to remove and reintroduce fish as per a definite plan. The sewerage treatment plant is with another agency. The Department of Tourism (DoT) takes care of promotional aspects of tourism here. The Ministry of Environment & Forest, based in New Delhi, has its indirect say at this water body, having disbursed huge amount to JDA for restoring this water body.

Man Sagar Lake is going to add a new feather in city’s cap through the various initiatives taken by the many organizations involved in its development as a world class site.

The writer of this guestpost, Mr.Harshvardhan, is a famous bird enthusiast based in Jaipur and organizer of the 13th edition of the birding Fair to be held in February in 2010.He may be contacted at birdfair@birdfair.org .

Ground Water Level in Jaipur

Monsoon has finally arrived in Jaipur and concerned citizens and concerned Rajasthan Government are pursuing the Green Rajasthan Project of planting saplings in all major cities of Rajasthan on war footing to ensure that there is a cover of green to invite the rains and to give shade in the scorching months of Rajasthani summers.

One problem comes to mind though, falling water table.You have to drill 250 feet to get water in some area of Jaipur.One wonders when the trees will start dying because  the water table has fallen out of reach of the roots of trees.It is not an idle or irresponsible thought.In some areas of surrounding Jaipur thriving Mango Orchards have died because the water fell below reach of the root systems of the mango trees.

It is time to make a hard decision trees or grass & plants.Orchards or gardens.How long can you go on wasting good potable water on gardens. There are some 670 parks in Jaipur. Imagine the consumption of fresh water.

Besides saving the ground water by limiting its use it  will also have to be recharged with the rain water by harvesting the same. JNU in Delhi has solved its water problems successfully by rain water harvesting and other initiatives.

It is a given, that in India nothing goes to waste.Even the rain water which flows away.But it is needed more in the ground so that the trees can live.

A Deer Park In Jaipur

 

Chital

Spring Fight At The Dear Park In Jaipur

The Forest Department’s Ashok Vihar Deer Park, is spread on a parcel of  land two and a half hectares in area. It is located in the heart of the city,in the C-Scheme Colony. It is not a big park but it has given good cheer to many a local child  and  children visiting Jaipur.Recently due to lack of space in the Park  and insufficient fodder and ever increasing numbers of chitals  a dozen deers were realesed in the Jhalana Forest Area and some were sent to the Kaila Devi Forest Park in Karauli. Though the Forest Department looks after the Park the food for the deer comes from the Jaipur Zoo.Far from the crowds and ever present traffic  this is one more place for a peaceful morning walk in Jaipur.

 

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