We are almost at the end of the April 2015 AtoZ Blogging Challenge and the letter X is almost always eXtra challenging!! I am writing about gardens in Pune and I think the tedkis (hills) of Pune some of which have reserve forests on the top are truly unique to this city. These tekdis offer all of the adjectives in the title of this post:
eXtraordinary: Pune is blessed with two rivers and importantly also has many hills located right inside the city limits. They can justly be called as the lungs of the city! We have the Vetal Tekdi (which is the highest), Hanuman Tekdi (which has the Gokhale Smarak Stambh), Parvati temple which is atop the Parvati hill, the Parvati Pachgaon forest area, the Tukai Tekdi and Durga Tekdi. The changing landscape over the seasons is a visual treat!
eXcellent: the hills are excellent places to exercise – for a walk, jog or even train for long treks in the Himalayas. In fact, March and April are months when one commonly sees many walking up and down the hills with huge backpacks, as they gear up for their outings in June or July… The tekdis are also home to some indigenous tree species that are either uncommon or are simply not seen in the city. Some of the trees are Ganer (Cochlospermum religiosum ), Bartondi (Morinda pubescens), Salai (Boswellia serrata), many species of the Capparis Genus. Regular walkers very commonly sight Peacocks on their morning walks on the Vetal tekdi as also a variety of birds… What bliss…
Flower of Watakaka volubilis
eXtreme: They are an example of extremes of human intervention. Some hillocks have been almost flattened as they have been razed to make way for buildings and concrete jungles all under the name of development. Simultaneously, other hills have been ‘saved’ by peoples movements and resistance to the same ‘development’. There are umpteen examples of organisations who have taken up ‘greening’ of the hills or who spend their Sunday mornings cleaning up the waste or folks who daily take up some water to water new plantations!
Morning walkers fill up such bottles and carry them up to water saplings to help them survive the harsh summer heat
The most surprising part of these tekdis is that despite their obvious presence, a large number of people are simply unaware of this wonderful natural beauty. I know of people who have lived over five decades in Pune and still have not gone to any of the our tekdis…
The tekdis should be a must-visit place in the itinerary of every nature lover visiting Pune. Cheers!