My city is blessed to have many hills right within the city limits. Many have flat land at the top and one can walk for a long distance even upto 10 kms (depending on your route). This is especially amazing because this walk gives a feeling of being ‘above’ the city yet a part of it. In the city yet a feeling of being outside.
The hill overlooks Baner and Pashan and one can see the city skyline stretching as far as the eye can see
Any one who has been to these tekdis (hills) will totally agree with me. I had not visited the Baner Tukai tekdi and eagerly took up an opportunity to visit it.
Like most tekdis in Pune, this one too suffered from deforestation and must have been really bare. It has been the ceaseless and untiring efforts of Dr Garudkar and the Clean Earth Movement that is showing its fruits now. Here is a link to their website.The group has been active since 2006.
The almost flat top is perfect for long walks
The Baneshwar caves are located at the foot of the hill. As one ascends the steps one is immediately struck by the extent of the city’s growth, the spread of concrete jungle almost into the hills. Yet, look up and one can see the green flat top of the tekdi as it meanders away into the distance. Get off the steps and follow the foot trails to enjoy the greenery. The tekdi spans a vast area hence has been ‘divided’ into different sectors named after forests of Maharashtra. The naming is purely for the sake of convenience of the activists working there.
These caves are located at the foot of the hill and have a Shiva temple
The ‘map’ of the hill area
The activists have built such tanks to store water for the trees.
are some highlights of the Baner Tukai tekdi. If you happen to live in
the area, do join the group and help nurture the trees, and keep the
‘lungs’ of the city healthy and green!
This Bibba tree was flowering (Semecarpus anacardium)
Sagargota (Caesalpinia bonduc) inflorescence- the tree is armed with thorns on all parts
Shivan (Gmelina arborea) was seen growing at many sites.
Besides these, many other tree species had been planted and seemed to be pretty healthy. Some which I identified were several Ficus species, Neem, Arjun, Laxmi Taru (Simarouba glauca), varieties of Bauhinia, Prajakta, Awala, Waval.
The flowers that grabbed all our attention despite their small size (and by small I mean half a finger nail) were the seasonal herbs. They were in full bloom and created yellow and purple carpets on the hill side, almost reminiscent of the Kas Pathar. We saw Hyptis suaveolens (with Tulsi-like-fragrant leaves), Sida species, Trichodesma sp, Sopubia sp, Alysicarpus sp, Stryka sp, Sonchus sp and many many more that we could not identify. There were some lichens too!