The finest part of Mumbai was just under our nose and we never paid heed to its beauty,” commented Rtn Karthik
Sha, RC Bombay Seacoast. He was referring to the Heritage Walk recently organised by the National Society of Friends of the Trees (FoT) and the Rotary Clubs of Bombay Seacoast and Mumbai Queen’s Necklace, D 3140.
About 100 FoT members and Rotarians took part in the walk that was inaugurated by PDG Ajay Gupta. “I walked for almost three hours, lost in the beauty of nature and the heritage buildings of the British era,” he said.
The walk was flagged off at Horniman Circle and “participants were amazed by the (Lignum vitae) tree inside the 190-years-old St Thomas Cathedral. “There was a Sunday mass at the time we entered the cathedral which made our experience even more delightful,” adds the PDG. “At Flora Fountain the star apple tree (Chrysophyllum cainito), enchanted the spectators with its golden leaves,” said Rtn Ashok Kothari, RC Bombay Seacoast.
District Chairman, Rotary Nature Trails, D 3140, Kothari recalls “a tiny Coppersmith Barbet, greeting the tree lovers with its ‘tak-tak’ noise. Not many people get to see a bird build its nest,” he said. Tree of Heaven, Amherstia nobilis, also known as the Pride of Burma, and covered with crimson flowers, at the Mumbai University garden was the main attraction of the trail.
“The sun’s rays filtered through the multicoloured stained glass windows of the university’s Convocation Hall and left the spectators in awe,” he adds. The focus was also on the Mahogany tree, Swietenia mahogany, planted by explorer and discoverer of the origin of River Nile, David Livingstone, in 1865.
Bharatbhai Chovatia, FoT Vice President, urged Rotarians to join the Tree Movement and save the trees of Mumbai. Horticulturists and botanists C?S Lattoo, V?R Ogle and Annasaheb Rode explained various facets of the trees along the heritage trail.
Dr Kothari, who is also the General Secretary of the National Society of the Friends of the Trees, says, “Rotary has given my love for nature a whole new meaning. Educating people on the importance of trees and living close to nature … what more can I ask for? ”
Rtn Virendra Widge said that this was an excellent opportunity to explore and learn. “The Mumbai University’s Convocation Hall that remains closed was opened after a long time and it had me living through the past,” says Widge who is a past student of the University.
Thanks to the good response, these Rotarians plan to make this an annual event.