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November 18, 2017

Mango tree planted by Tipu Sultan 250 yrs ago falls; to be turned into artistic site

Suprabha Joshi

Bengaluru, Nov 18: “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a sadaqah (charitable gift) for him,” said Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) nearly one-and-a-half-thousand-years ago. Inspired by this message, Karnataka’s 18th century legendary ruler Tipu Sultan pioneered the systematic tree planting in and around Bengaluru and Mysuru and laid the foundation for Lalbagh.

Believe it or not! At least some of trees planted by Tipu Sultan around 250 years ago in this region continue to provide shade, fruits and oxygen to people and other creatures even today! One of the mango trees planted by Tipu in Lal Bagh Botanical Garden recently hit the ground ending its two and half century long selfless service. This humongous fallen tree will not be just loaded off the premises but turned into an artistic site.

The decision to conserve the site is due to the tree's historical importance. According to the horticulture department officials, the tree fell around 15 days back. Six aged Eucalyptus trees also fell during the same time period in Lalbagh.

"Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali had planted three mango trees in the garden. Now only one remains near the Glass House," said M R Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director, Gardens, Lalbagh. 

"We are in discussion with artists for restoration ideas. This will be a first for Lal Bagh. Since trees were planted by Tipu and Hyder Ali, they have a historic value, we do not want to clear it (the fallen tree trunk and the site)," he added.

However, A N Yellappa Reddy, Horticulture Department, an expert committee member, said that the proposal was still in nascent stage and needs time to get a detailed picture.

Tree samples are being sent to Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, for carbon dating. This is the first time that such a study will be conducted for a Bengaluru city tree. It is a second such study on trees in Karnataka. The first was a sacred tamarind groove of Nallur in Devanahalli, Bengaluru Rural district.

The wood sample will undergo a chemical analysis for details of the rainfall pattern over the years, the change in carbon content in the atmosphere, fossil fuel details, periods of intense rainfall and its origin point. Details of drought periods and best seasons that Bengaluru had experienced would also be ascertained through the carbon dating study, Reddy explained.

It would take three months to complete the study. It will be a unique study for Lalbagh and for researchers, Reddy said.

Mango tree planted by Tipu Sultan 250 yrs ago falls; to be turned into artistic site

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