Where a hundred flowers bloom

With thousands of trees across the City having been felled to make way for the Metro, new roads and localities, Bangalore is in danger of losing its sobriquet of ‘Garden City’. However, there is still hope, thanks to efforts to spread awareness on saving greenery. Take Vagdevi Vilas Education Institute whose premises is full of many varieties of trees and flowers. Students there have two classes weekly on environment with a demonstration in their own premises.

Students here have practical classes on flowers, plants and medicinal value of some varieties. What’s more, the premises is home to insects such as butterflies, bees, grasshoppers and many others. There are over 150 kinds of different flowers, including yellow bell, bird of paradise, bougainvillea, euphorbia milli, lantana, rose and thunberia laurifolia. There are over 300 trees including fruit-bearing ones such as apple, jack fruit, mango, papaya and badam. Bell bamboo, banni, tulsi also find a place in the campus.   

Shashank, an eighth standard student, remarks, “We feel we live in a farm of flowers. Different flowers in the campus make our Institute look beautiful. All these trees and flowers make it easy for us to understand the importance of nature.” K Harish, President of Vagdevi Vilas School & former scientist at ISRO says, “Students here get a practical understanding of what’s in their textbooks. This also improves their curiosity to know more about nature and environment. This is a platform for students who want to get into the field of botany.”Also, the Institute employs rainwater harvesting techniques. The tanks in the campus can store three lakh litres of water at a time. There are as many as ten percolation pits, which helps conserve rain water.

Shilpa C Hiremath

Glory of Halebeedu

The annual ‘Mastakabhisheka’ of Shanthinatha Tirthankara basadi (held in January) draws devotees from far and wide to Halebeedu, a small town with temples, basadis and archaeological sites of the Hoysala period. About 30 km from Hassan and located near the famous tourist spot Belur (15 km), Halebeedu was the capital of the Hoysala kingdom during the 11th century. Originally Dorasamudra, named after the king Dora, a feudatory ruler, Halebeedu remained the capital of Hoysalas  till the mid-14th century. Apart from the most visited Hoysaleshwara and Shanthaleshwara temples are ancient basadis dedicated to Bhagavan Vijay Parshvanatha, Shanthinatha and Mallinatha tirthankaras. As per archaeological inscriptions, the main basadi, housing the 20-ft-tall exquisitely sculpted idol of Parshvanatha Tirthankara, was built in 1133 AD.

The basadis of Shanthinatha and Mallinatha were built in the early 13th century during the reign of King Ballala II, who also built here the Kedareshwara temple marked for its elegant images and scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata seen in hundreds on the temple’s outer walls. The main tourist attraction and monuments of religious and historical importance of Halebeedu, the twin temples of Hoysaleshwara and Shanthaleshwara, were built in the second decade of the 12th century by Kethumalla, a minister under the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. The twin temples get their name from the king and his queen Shanthala.  

S V Upendra Charya