There are three of them. Survivors among the many that probably marked the periphery of Akkithimanahalli Tank in Richmond Town. The oldest living natives from the locality, who are closing in on a century, remember these rain trees (Albizia saman/ Samanea saman) of their growing years, not much different from the way they are today. So it would be safe to assume that these giants at the Rhenius Street-Langford Road junction at Nanjappa Circle (where a circle does not actually now exist) could have been planted more than 150 years ago.
The rain tree is not really “Indian”, but originally from Latin/ Central America. Still, it has grown to become an intrinsic part of Bangalore’s heritage. It is called Bhagaya mara in Kannada.
Definitely fortunate to have survived the local municipality’s (BBMP) road widening and development, one of the trees is well protected in the traffic island that holds Dr Ambedkar’s statue, maintained by the Dr BR Ambedkar Kannada Sangha. It also has provided a fertile base between its branches, for a banyan to take root.
Under the trees is where one can find a tempo to hire, not to mention tender coconut and sugarcane juice to quench one’s thirst after a game at KSHA’s hockey stadium.
Despite having several of their branches cut for convenience over the years, the trees’ broad canopy and close foliage provide the perfect camouflage for the nests of raptor birds like kites. In the darkness of these trees only the birds’ movement makes one aware of their watchful eyes from several feet above.
On the other side of the erstwhile Akkithimanahalli Tank, there are still several rain trees on the periphery. This is Richmond Town’s only public playground, where cricket under the trees continues to be the favourite sport, and multiple matches take place simultaneously.
Mature rain trees are said to be good absorbents of carbon dioxide, so this is one place where one can rest assured that the air is as fresh as it can get!
Pics taken on 28th December 2014