Even as Bangalore’s once-admired reputation as the Garden City fades, six Bangloreans plan to host a tree festival in February, to rekindle the citizenry’s appreciation of the environment.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Deepak Srinivasan, one of the organisers, who is an artist and faculty member at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, explained that the aim of the festival, titled ‘Neralu’ (shade) is to bring Bangaloreans closer to the environment, especially trees, which were the true heritage of the City.
The Garden City has lost much green cover over the last decade to development and infrastructure projects. The organisers hope that the festival will allow Bangaloreans and the migratory population to understand and connect with what has been lost and what is remaining. The festival will be held in Cubbon Park on February 8 and 9.
“Earlier people were connected to the trees and they identified themselves with them,” Srinivasan added. “For instance, in places like Malleswaram, people had a sense of ownership of the trees and they are attached to them. Many landscapes and landmarks of Bangalore were earlier associated with trees, such as Halasuru (Jackfruit Garden) or Hulimavu (Mango and Tamarind Garden).”
He added that some of these sentiments have now been lost as Bangalore has come to house an increasingly large migratory population, which has no interest or connection with the trees. “To make this section of people aware and appreciate the beauty of Bangalore, ‘Neralu is’ being held,” he added. “It will also help in understanding and appreciating exotic tree species, which form around 70 per cent of Bangalore’s tree population.”
According to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), there is no exact figure to reveal how many trees there are in Bangalore. What is known, however, is that over 3,000 old and new trees were axed to make way for various development and infrastructure projects, last year alone.