Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kolkata (Oh, Calcutta!) Excursion

Yes, you are correct. This isn't about Bhutan, but I've been travelling  fairly often lately, mainly to Bangalore and Kolkata (aka Calcutta) in India, and recently went for a quick walk through the Kolkata Botanic Gardens, so I will claim that this is still "landscape" related!

Kolkata is extremely hot, humid and gritty. I find the weather very uncomfortable and can only spend a couple of days there before feeling the need to move further south to more temperate, cleaner and greener Bangalore.

The Botanic Gardens in Kolkata have some very unusual plants, including one that is unique...according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest Banyan tree. It covers an area of 1.5 hectares (almost 4 acres), and is more than 250 years old.

For those who don't know the growth habit of Ficus benghalensis, the trees send down aerial roots from their branches, which hit the ground , grow roots of their own, turn into other trees and spread accordingly. Often the original parent tree dies, but its progeny keep growing. So the images you see that look like a group of trees, are in fact just one. Trust me on this! And for anybody who knows what originally took me to India back in March 2010, the Banyan holds great personal significance...

There are also pics of giant water-lily pads (1.5 metres across), a mongoose looking for snakes to eat, various pretty flowers and trees, and a gratuitous shot of a container ship on the River Ganga (Ganges).

Unfortunately, the camera suffered from humidity as much as I did, so they're not all shots of the highest quality, but I'm sure you'll get the picture...(see what I did there?)