Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Spring Song of Delhi - Part I

March 2018

Times are changing and so is Delhi’s weather. This was a different winter; a winter that never felt like the Dilli ki Sardi you knew. It was so mild that your favourite muffler or long scarf did not come out and the rajai stayed in the box. The blankets took care of whatever cold the winter offered. Usually January and February see showers that make the cold air fresh and crispy. Nope, this time there were no showers either to wash the trees of their soot and dust or to make Delhi a little more liveable. The sad, dark leaves unable to breath weighed down heavily from the branches and you continued to breath the vile air. It seems Delhi will soon lose its winters and it will be one long hot season blazing through the year.

There was just one bright spot and that too short-lived. Spring arrived and the air cleaned up. Blue skies finally appeared. While last year NDMC did a spectacular job with the flowers and the roundabouts, this year, just like the winters they too seem to have sleep-walked. The roundabouts seem sadly uninviting and the flowers looked uninterested. 

The trees of Delhi have come to your rescue. The short Spring thankfully makes the trees drop their dusty leaves. Silk Cottons, the old faithfuls of Delhi burst into sparkling reds, peepal leaves take all hues possible before turning into the most delicious green you will ever see. White Kachnars bejewel the blue skies. Shahtoot and Sheesham turn gloriously green. Bougainvillea explodes into molten red lava. The Rosy Trumpet Tree makes the skies blush pink.

The sights are refreshing. While driving, now you need to keep one eye on the road ahead and another on the trees above. 

Here is a look:  

Rain Daisies or African Daisies

Pansies of All Colours
You are seeing Tulips for the first time in Delhi - Nehru Park

And the first time you are seeing Sarson Ke Phool (Mustard) on Delhi roundabouts! Are they?

This is the Flower Park in Nehru Park. At least this part did not disappoint; it was as flowery as last year. However, it seems the NDMC gave a miss to its annual flower show when different flowers and their owners are awarded prizes. 

Notice the trees in the background. A week later they will paint the horizon yellow!

A bed of red Petunias

Dahlia Flowered Zinnias

They look like marigolds but are actually dahlias. It is a different variety which is smaller and more compact and they bloom after the bigger ones have wilted and can withstand hot weather

Soon these flowers will turn into Dussheri Mangoes

Peepal trees are so ubiquitous in the Indian landscape that they are almost visible even when we stand below them on hot afternoons. They are unglamorous as they go about doing their job quietly.  Come spring and it is like you can stand in front and actually see leaves change colour every few minutes. The leaves turn red, copper and few other hues that you can't name. And then almost as if on cue, they turn green. A green so delicious and pretty that all you can do is stand by the road and stare even as passing motorists stare at you

Matching Matching -  Spring is beautiful in monochrome too - Yellow-Footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera) sitting amongst the oh so delicious looking green leaves of Peepal (Ficus religosa), Along the wide boulevards of Noida, UP

Drum Stick or Sonjna (Moringa oleifera) Trees in full glory

The luminiscent Pilkhan under blue skies - Probably the prettiest sky gazing that you will ever experience over Delhi
Pilkhan - Ficus virens
The new leaves are reddish and copper colour. With the increasing and decreasing intensity of sunlight they seem to change colour every few minutes
Pilkhan - What a magnificent sight - Lodhi Colony is the only government housing colony built during British times, so this beautiful tree right here is a colonial legacy besides the ones in Lutyens Delhi

Is this the prettiest damn Pilkhan in Delhi - Gupta ji is just surprised that someone would actually stop and notice the tree and then walk under the tree taking photographs. He follows you around amazed.
The Gandhi cap wearing Gupta ji leads a blessed life. He lives on Jorbagh Road, just a short walking distance from his office in Mausam Bhawan on Lodhi Road. So even as Delhi heats up more every summer, Gupta ji still does not have a cooler. We step inside his Government quarter to see the still same British time ceiling fan. And then you feel it. While outside its already warming up, inside it is cool, almost cold. They will keep using blankets for some more time. The high roof is one reason – yes Lodhi Colony is the only British time government colony in Delhi.
The reason is outside in all its spring crowning glory. A grand old Pilkhan spreads its branches over the entire courtyard. The new leaves twinkle in the afternoon sun. Gupta ji eyes twinkle as he explains how reflection and refraction is colouring the leaves in all those hues. His wife and kids have come out and look at him and you with some incredulity.
Munching on home-made Gunjias, we make our way to Lodhi Gardens. We are going tree spotting.

Bougainvillea Hanami in Lodhi Gardens

The cascading shower of flowers fill the entire place with a special red and pink ambience lifting the mood and placing it up there where everything is gossamer and floaty.

The entire city is camping below the two bougainvilleas. There is a birthday party happening, a couple is making hundred poses for their pre-wedding shoot (they all should be banned from public places for causing serious harm to sensibilities of innocent people like you), a portrait shoot is going on. Every bench, inch and spot is taken.

The Green Wave

Indian Coral Tree or Tiger Claw (Erythrina variegata)

Jungli Badam or Wild Indian Almond (Sterculia foetida)

In its annual restoration exercise, Spring studs stars on the dome of Sheesh Gumbad in Lodhi Gardens - More Pilkhan Delights

The old favourite Neem
Caribbean Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia aurea) - In another week the trees will turn into a brilliant show of yellow

Pink Poui or Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea)

Also known as Basant ki Rani - equally beautiful name

Some red Bottle Brush, some violet Bougainvillea, some more red Silk Cotton

Can't get enough of Pilkhan

Finally sunset at Lotus Temple
Today's Spring day is perhaps the loveliest so far - skies have turned blue, leaves change colour every moment, the crunch of fallen leaves under the feet feels heavenly, birds chirp happily in the branches. In the evening, clouds and the setting sun add dash of purple and pink to the skies. The cool breeze makes the nights magical as you walk through the royal palms in the colony park. Legs walk to a special rhythm. Smile is playing on your face. A single day has added months to your life. Delhi knows how to keep our romance alive. You don't want this beautiful day of spring to ever end.  

Related Posts on this Blog

Delhi's Star Spangled Spring

Delhi 'Holi'Day 2018
Delhi 'Holi'Day 2016
Delhi 'Holi'Day 2015
Floss Silk Flowers

Blooming Walls of Lodhi Colony  

Love in the Times of Amaltas

Photography Locations
  • Nehru Park
  • Sunder Nursery
  • Lodhi Gardens
  • Lodhi Colony
  • New Delhi Roundabouts
  • Noida Roads
  • Lotus Temple
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