The oldest extant greenery is found in the Nallur Amaroy Thopu which is a Devarakadu (sacred grove) planted around 1000 A.D near Devannahalli. I will conveniently commence my talk by elaborating on this Devarakadu set up in the time of the Cholas.
Subsequently, in Gundutopus (village wood lots) and in settlements around the lakes in Bangalore, indigenous trees were planted extensively for multiple uses by the villagers. This was particularly so during Kempegowda’s time who created a network of lakes (keres) across the terrain of Bangalore and surrounding areas.
All ruling dynasties after Kempegowda created their own favoured gardens, thopus and public spaces with appropriately chosen plants. This peaked with exotic plants being introduced by Tipu Sultan followed by the British. The plants varied from ornamental plants, flowering shrubs and creepers and exotic trees accessed from different parts of the world; commercially valuable plants and trees for multiple uses, railway sleepers, etc., and for charcoal. In addition, starting from Kempegowda we have a record of Huvinathopu or flower gardens for furnishing flowers to temples and for festive occasions.
Today we find that over 75% of the trees in Bangalore are exotics from outside India.
About the Speaker:
Vijay Thiruvady has always been interested in various aspects of nature and more specifically horticulture. He conducts Green Heritage Walks in Lalbagh, Imperial Colonial Walks in Cubbon Park and Military Heritage Walks at the MEG&C, and participates in the various activities of Bangalore Environment Trust as a Trustee. These have included the publishing of books on Lalbagh, Heritage Trees in the vicinity of Bangalore and a book on Devarakadus and Gundutopus in and around Bangalore.
Thiruvady spent his early years in Delhi. His academic interests were pursued at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and School of Architecture, Ahmedabad. When in Delhi, he had exposure to the world of nature and environment through association with a number of distinguished people in the field and institutions.
Thiruvady has given talks on Bangalore, its environment and history at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore International Centre, Bangalore Club, National Gallery of Modern Art, and Azim Premji University.