The Rain Trees of Nanjappa Circle

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.

Rain trees

Rain trees 2

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.

Rain trees 3
The Dr Ambedkar statue traffic island
Banyan on rain tree
Banyan on rain tree

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.

Rain tree tempo stand
Rain tree tempo stand and thirst quenching spot
Rain trees 4
Beyond the rain trees, in the background, KSHA’s hockey stadium and Divyashree Chambers, both built on Akkithimanahalli Tank

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.

Nest in rain tree
A kite’s nest

Kite in rain tree

IMG_1236-001

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.

Rain trees at the Akkithimanahalli maidan
Rain trees at the Akkithimanahalli maidan

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

2 thoughts on “The Rain Trees of Nanjappa Circle

  1. arun January 4, 2015 / 10:40 am

    Thanks for this lovely post. I counted the rain trees around the erstwhile Akkithimanahalli tank. There are 21 standing.

    Like

  2. Arathi Manay January 4, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    Thanks much Arun, both for taking the time to leave a comment and for counting. The perimeter of the tank was quite large, some part now occupied by roads (apart from the buildings, hockey ground and playground) and it is good to know that there are still 21. One can only imagine what it would have been like if the tank still existed.

    Like

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