The po­etry of trees

Mint ST - - FIRST -

A new book cel­e­brates the trees of Mumbai’s his­toric botan­i­cal gar­den

If there were 3,000 trees in a par­tic­u­lar spot, what would you do? Samira Rathod’s sim­ple an­swer would be: en­joy them. And what if these trees had come from all over the world? Rathod’s an­swer: pro­tect them.

A Mumbai-based ar­chi­tect noted for her res­i­den­tial projects, Rathod is the founder of SPADE, a pub­li­ca­tion ded­i­cated to In­dian ar­chi­tec­ture. SPADE has pub­lished a new book Mu­seum Of Trees (₹1,500) af­ter four years of study­ing Ji­ja­mata Udyaan, that opened in 1861 and was for­merly known as Rani Baug (Queen’s Gar­dens). “Along with By­culla Zoo and the Bhau Daji Lad Mu­seum, Rani Baug is sym­bolic of col­lect­ing—an­i­mals, ob­jects and plants. Sev­eral rare trees, sourced from the colonies, were planted here by the Bri­tish in an at­tempt to make a plea­sure gar­den for them­selves,” says Rathod.

The 200-pager is re­plete with hand-drawn maps, il­lus­tra­tions and pho­to­graphs. Rathod says the book goes be­yond ba­sic botan­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. “We want to con­vey the po­etry of these trees,” says Rathod. As Ji­ja­mata Udyaan’s nat­u­ral her­itage con­tends for space with the ever-ex­pand­ing zoo, Rathod hopes peo­ple can still en­joy the gar­den through the book.

To or­der the book, write to [email protected]

—Benita Fer­nando

A map of Ji­ja­mata Udyaan’s trees from the book.

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