Bengaluru, Sep 10, 2022: The British royal family’s Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to India in 1961 had planted a sapling of a Christmas tree in Bengaluru’s iconic Lal Bagh. After over 60 years, the tree stands 60 feet tall at the garden.
On February 21, 1961, Queen Elizabeth visited several places in Bengaluru, including Lal Bagh. The Queen then stayed at Nandi Hills, 60 km from Bengaluru. She received a grand welcome from then governor and Mysuru state king Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. He was also accompanied by then chief minister B D Jatti and several other officials.
She arrived at the HAL airport and was taken in an open car where public on both sides of the road were standing to catch the glimpse of the Queen. She was also felicitated by the Bible Society of India. As Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip paid a visit to the auxiliary, they were presented with a copy of the Bible in Hindi.
A Gandhian, 77-year-old Vemagal Somashekar, who was just 16-year-old then, recalled that there was a lot of hype around Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Bengaluru. “The roads which Elizabeth took were newly asphalted and some roads were widened. When she went to Nandi Hills, a good road was constructed for her. On MG Road, there was a huge crowd. The entire city was curious about Elizabeth’s lifestyle and the way she looked,” he said. The Queen also took a ride on the Ambedkar Veedhi on which the Vidhana Soudha is located.
“The roads that Queen Elizabeth took were filled with public on both sides. She took MG Road and a few other roads to reach Lal Bagh. The Queen was moving in an open car and waved at the people waiting for her. The vehicle stopped at every junction so that she could wave hands at the people,” Somashekar said.
She then visited Lal Bagh where she planted a Christmas tree (cook pine) to commemorate her visit to the iconic garden built by Mysuru ruler Hyder Ali in 1760. Jagadeesh M, joint director (parks and garden), horticulture department, said it has been recorded that Queen Elizabeth enjoyed her visit to Lal Bagh and also planted a sapling. He added, “The Christmas tree she planted has grown at least 60 feet in the last 61 years. A little away, another Christmas tree planted by Pakistan Freedom fighter Abdul Ghaffar Khan and a Saraca Asoca tree planted by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during separate visits can be found.”
“Then director of horticulture department M H Marigowda had accompanied Queen Elizabeth when she planted the tree and it is recorded in Lal Bagh’s history,” said Jagadeesh.
Queen Elizabeth also paid a visit to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Institute of Engineers.
Courtesy: Indian Express