Lalbagh Botanical Garden
The Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore is of royal origin and was started initially as a private garden in an area of 40 acres by Hyder Ali, one of the most famous rulers of old Mysore in 1760. Initially designed in Mughal style, on the model of an extensive garden at Sira in Tumkur near Bangalore, this garden was further developed by Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan and subsequently by the British and Indian doyens of horticulture by extension of area and addition of a number of plant species. Of them, Major Waugh, Dr. Wallich, William Munroe, Sir Mark Cubbon, Dr. Cleghorn, William New, A. Blck, John Cameron, Krumbeigal, Rao Bahadur H.C. Javaraya, K. Nanjappa and Dr. M.H. Marigowda, as the Superintendents of the garden, have made noteworthy contributions to the development of Lalbagh.
Lalbagh is currently under the aegis of the Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka. The Directorate is housed amidst the splendid environs of the botanical garden. Lalbagh was given the status of a Government Botanical Garden in 1856, and since then, it has been an internationally renowned centre for scientific study of plants and botanical artwork and also conservation of plants. Formal and informal styles dominate the garden in perfect harmony, which is a testimony to the beauty of nature. Today, the garden is a lush green paradise with an area of 240 acres in the heart of the city.
Lalbagh, for its unique achievement in nurturing the concept of horticulture and aiding the development of horticulture, has earned a pride of place among the gardens of the world and it has come to be regarded as one of the best gardens in the East for its layout, maintenance, scientific treasure and scenic beauty. It is the place of legends and beauty, a place of rarity and wonder, a place of paradise and landmarks. It is an important genetic resource centre for introduction, acclimatization and maintenance of plants; it envisages documentation of the variations available in plants of ornamental and economic value. It is an important centre of dissemination of scientific, technical and popular information on plants including offering of regular courses. It aids the development of horticulture in the state. It is a valuable adjunct to botanic study in educational institutions, a vital lung space of Bangalore, a place of beauty that provides healthy recreation to the public and it provides a venue for people to get close to plants and nature.
The garden with well-laid out roads, paths, open spaces, shade and a good collection of many types of plant species attracts a large number of visitors. Lalbagh is well protected with stone walls as enclosures and it has four approach gates. The main gate is at the North facing towards Subbaiah circle, the West gate is towards Basavanagudi, the South gate is towards Jayanagar and the East gate is towards the Double Road.
The botanical garden is enriched with numerous native and exotic flora of wide ranging diversity, use and interest. This has been achieved by way of introduction; acclimatization and multiplication of plants obtained from various parts of the world since its inception in 1760. Today, nearly 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants are found in Lalbagh. The collection of the plants has made it a veritable treasure house of plants.
Some of the exotic species introduced from different parts of the world include Agathis sp., Amherstia nobilis, Araucaria sp., Averrhoa bilimbi, Bambusa sp., Bixa orellana, Brownea grandiceps, Castanospermum australe, Cola acuminata, Corypha umbraculifera, Couroupita guianensis, Cupressus sp., Eriobotrya japonica, Magnolia sp., Swietenia mahagoni etc. Indigeneous species such as Artocarpus heterophyllus, Bombax ceiba, Butea monosperma, Cassia fistula , Dillenia indica, Ficus sp., Lagerstromia speciosa, Michelia champaca, Mesua ferrea etc., can be seen. In addition, a number of ornamental and economic plant species both of exotic and indigenous origin can be found in Lalbagh.
Locations of Interest
Of the many artistic structures in Lalbagh, the Glass House is the most famous. In the necklace of Bangalore’s gardens, Lalbagh is a pendant and in the centre of this pendant is the glass house in the form of a diamond. It was built in 1889 during the administration of Sri John Cameron to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales. Designed on the lines of the Crystal Palace of England, it was intended for acclimatizing the exotic plant specimens. Today, as the jewel of Lalbagh, it is the centre stage for holding the famous biannual flower shows.
The Bandstand, Lecture Hall, Lalbagh House, Pigeon House, Statue of Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar, the Directorate Building, Lalbagh West Gate Guard Room, the Museum and Cottage which now house some of the department offices, main gate of Lalbagh (Cameron gate), Deer Paddock, Aquarium building, Aviary and Kempegowda Tower are other artistic structures that can be seen in Lalbagh. Lalbagh lake is an important location of interest.
Lalbagh is an important centre of dissemination of knowledge of plants having ornamental, environmental and economic value. Regular training courses on fruit and vegetable processing, mushroom cultivation and ornamental gardening and horticulture are offered to the public by the Department of Horticulture. The Dr. M.H. Marigowda National Horticulture Library is a reference library with a good collection of books on horticulture and allied subjects.
Location and access
Lalbagh Botanical Garden is located in the heart of the city, about 4 km from the State Legislature – the Vidhana Soudha. Most parts of the garden is surrounded by different blocks of the beautiful residential layout – Jayanagar. The city buses plying to Jayanagar and localities beyond Jayanagar stop at one or other approach gates of Lalbagh. The garden is accessible through four gates. Vehicles are allowed only through the East gate towards the Double Road. There is ample parking space on entering through this gate. Vehicular movement inside the garden is restricted. Access to the Directorate of Horticulture and related offices is through the main gate. HOPCOMS, MHS and BNCS offices are easily accessible through the Double Road gate.
Lalbagh remains open daily from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. throughout the year.
All major buildings and important locations in the garden are accessible through well laid out roads and pathways.
Scheduled courses on Horticulture, Post Harvest Technology and Mushroom cultivation are offered to the public by the Department of Horticulture at Lalbagh. Besides these a 10 month Horticulture training programme is organized every year for the rural youth. The Mysore Horticultural Society too organizes courses on Ikebana and Bonsai. All programmes are publicized well in advance in newspapers/respective offices.
Biannual flower shows are organized every year in January and August on the occasion of the Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations respectively. Details can be had from the Directorate of Horticulture or the Mysore Horticultural Society Office.
The garden is an institution of botanical and environmental importance, a treasure house of our state and nation, an important lung space of Bangalore –it is the duty of every one of us to protect it from deterioration and to keep it clean. Videography is prohibited.