Saturday, January 7, 2017

Spend a day with trees and flowers in Sagar Upvan at Colaba

Kids can chill in the vast open space
Kids can chill in the vast open space

Imagine large tracts of verdant and undulating land, and tall trees; so tall that when your eye tracks them to their tops, all you can see is their green heads and the sky.

Every time I had attempted to head to BPT Garden, or Sagar Upavan as it has been rechristened, something or the other would come up, thwarting our visit - until last week. When my kids and I finally find our way to Colaba, we seem to know we had arrived, even before our GPS signals, gazing at the thick border of trees that flank the walls of the garden.

plants with name plates, BPT Garden (Sagar Upvan), Colaba

I'm in love with the place as soon as we enter. It instantly gives you the feeling of space and is degrees cooler than the outside, thanks to the sea bordering it as well as a thicket of trees all over. At the entrance of the park is a poster of the birds who visit the park or have made home here. We walked past glorious Hibiscus bushes on to the lawns covering the golf course-style landscaped hillocks. This well-kept garden has some very interesting species of trees such as Kala Palash (Ougeinia oojeinensis), Black Pearl (Harpullia zanquebarica) and the Branching Palm (Hyphaene dichotoma). And, hidden among these tall stalwarts, is also a wonderful collection of diverse flowering plants as well as nectarine shrubs.

There are walkers and joggers exercising in the outer periphery of the park. Butterflies flutter taking in the last warmth of the setting sun. We head to the centre where an extensive rounded green space, dotted with children playing, beckons.

There's enough space to play all kinds of games and groups of children and families are here with badminton rackets, cricket gear and ball. We gravitate towards the sea side and admire the fading tide. Perhaps because of the sea, we spot a few Egrets walking complacently, until my 11-year-old daughter Vani decides to chase them.

We walk through and spot a bamboo grove. There are magnificent trees and a fragrant Naag Champa under the canopies of which, families with kids or groups of young adults spend some quiet time. There is something truely peaceful about the park. After a lazy while, we moved on to the uphill rockery, passing assorted succulents. In one area, there is a collection of cacti to look at.

We meander along, stopping to look at trees or play with each other in the fading light. Because there is dense foliage and enough shade, Sagar Upavan is a great place to head to even in summer months where the outdoors are a killer.

Where: Sagar Upvan (BPT Garden), near BEST Depot, Sassoon Docks, Colaba.
Best for: Boys and girls of all age groups.
How to reach: Alight at CST or Churchgate and hail a cab to the venue.
Timings: All days, 6 am to 11 am, 4.30 pm to 8 pm.
Budget: Rs 2 (entry fee); Rs 10 (if carrying a camera)
Food: No
Water: Available
Rest Room facilities: Yes
Where else to go:
Horniman Circle Garden, Gateway of India and a boat ride; also visit the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.

What’s Good: Ideal as a nature haven; soothing space
What’s Not So Good: Don’t expect entertainment here. There are no props or play equipment.

from travel

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