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The Calcutta Botanical Gardens, A Paradise For Nature Lovers

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Calcutta Botanical Gardens
Image credit : Wikipedia

The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, also known as the Calcutta Botanical Garden, is located in West Bengal. Its earlier names were the Royal Botanic Garden and the Indian Botanic Garden. It is under the BSI (Botanical Survey of India) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests

 This sprawling garden one of the must-visit places in West Bengal for nature lovers. There is a wide range of plants that inhabit different types of birds. So, if you have a passion for photography, you’ll fall in love with this place. 

History of the Calcutta Botanical Garden:

The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden was founded by Colonel Alexander Kyd in 1786. He was an army officer working under the British East India Company. He created this garden to identify and grow different plants special of commercial value. Sir George King designed the interiors of the garden. William Roxburgh filled the area with plants brought from all parts of India and developed extensive barium over the years. 

So, prior to India’s independence, the British people referred to the garden as the East India Company’s Garden. Recently, in 2009, it got its name as the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in honor of the great scientist.

The Great Banyan Tree: a rare beauty

One of the most famous landmarks of the Botanical Garden that attracts tourists from all corners of the world is the Great Banyan Tree. Reckoned to be the world’s largest tree, it has a circumference of 330 meters approximately. It spreads gloriously over four acres of land, making it as large as a small forest. Though there is no official age record of the Great Banyan, its estimated age is at least 250 years. References to this gigantic tree have been found in travelogues dating back to the early 19th century, thus validating our statement.

After being hit by two great devastating cyclones in the years 1864 and 1867, the main trunk of the Great Banyan got fungus-infected and had to be cut out in 1952. But, because of its thousands of aerial roots, the tree did not cease to thrive and expand. The aerial roots originating from the branches and reaching the ground makes it look like a beautiful canopy of banyan trees. Such is the beauty of this tree that it inspired Brain Aldiss to write a novel, Hothouse, based on it. 

Major attractions of the Calcutta Botanic Garden:

The Calcutta Botanical Garden is the abode of 12,000 perennial plants and thousands of dried out plant species collected from all over the world. Other than the enormous Banyan tree, the garden is adorned with several other beautiful plants brought from Java, Sicily, Brazil, Malaysia, Sumatra, Nepal and other places: 

  • There are mango trees, Cuban Palms, banyan trees, tamarind trees, Bougainvillea, Citrus, Jasmine, Ferns, Hibiscus, the mad tree, mahogany trees, orchids, muli-haired bamboos, creepers, and multiple kinds of cacti. There are also unique floricultural, arboriculture, and aquatic plants.
  • Some exotic species of plants that you can spot here are Bread Fruit Tree, Giant Water Lilies, the Shivalinga Tree, Double coconut, and Krishnabot. 
  • Another interesting fact is that the famous tea cultivated extensively in Darjeeling and Assam was initially developed in the Botanical Gardens. 
  • There is a serpentine lake for tourists to enjoy boating. 
  • The ancient library of the Botanical Garden has an impressive collection. 
Animals that you can spot inside the Calcutta Botanic Garden: 

You can also spot different types of animals inside the Calcutta Botanical Garden premises. Some of them include the Indian Fox, jackals, and the Indian mongoose. A great variety of snakes also inhabit the gardens. 

Which is the ideal time to visit the Calcutta Botanic Garden? 

As the weather of Kolkata is extremely humid in summer and monsoon, winter is the best time to explore the city. So, plan your visit to the Botanical Garden between November and March. 

Conclusion: 

If you are in the city, you must pay a visit to this eco-friendly venue. The entry fee is only Rs 10 for Indian citizens and it remains open from 10 am to 7 pm. Daily walkers of the locality go for a yearly membership available at Rs 200 only. A one-day-trip with friends or family would be enough to explore the gardens. 

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Independent Travel & Ecology: What You Need To know

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independent travel
Image Credit : Justin Cleaver (Wildlife Photographer)

For most people, independent travel is more than just a fun activity or a holiday. It is a life-changing activity or experience. Whether you are taking off around the world after retirement, taking a gap year, or simply heading off on your mid-20s career break, independent travel offers you the opportunity to take a break from your ‘normal’ work life, travel around the world, and get unforgettable experiences. Also, traveling independently teaches you a lot about different parts of the world and yourself. 

What’s independent travel?

independent travel
Justin Cleave

It is any trip that you organize by yourself. That means you must book a hotel (accommodation), plan your itinerary, transport, and other aspects of your trip. The concept revolves around traveling on a shoe-string, spending nights in hostels, and choosing experiences over luxury. Independent travel requires you to be more of a traveler and less of a tourist.

Tourist vs. traveler

independent travel
Mckenzie Kersen 

Most people use these words interchangeably. It might sound like a negligible distinction, but these two words signify a unique approach. The term ‘tourist’ often refers to a person visiting a specific area or region only for a short period before going back to their everyday life. It also relates to people who visit some destinations just to see exciting things without getting emotionally involved.

On the other hand, travelers spend a lot of time on the road and have less of a fixed objective in terms of timing and destinations. They can travel for an extended period, spend time gaining new experiences, and don’t rush to return to their everyday life. That means traveling is all about am exciting journey while tourism is all about seeing new things.

Travelers are more likely to stay in a single destination for a long time, perhaps working there. Some travelers end up settling in some of the regions they visit. Generally, the definition of a traveler emphasizes the journey rather than the excitement and pleasure associated with visiting new destinations.

The best places for independent travel

The world is your oyster, and in numerous ways, it is. Your choice of destination is influenced by many factors. Therefore, it’s important that you consider the following factors to ensure that you get the most out of your independent travel.

The objective

What do you plan to do? This might sound like an obvious question. But it’s the right one, to begin with. What experiences are you seeking? Do you desire to connect with like-minded travelers? Are you ready to spend quite some time away traveling and working?

Time

Do you have enough time to travel? Well, there is little point in heading to Fiji if you have a 5-day holiday. This is because you will spend a lot of time to get to your destination and have little time to explore it.

Therefore, it’s worth working out the travel periods between your desired destination early enough. This will ensure you have enough time to see around and gain memorable experiences when you get to your destination.

Financial resources

How much money have you saved for your travel activities? Once you have decided on the specific experiences you seek and created a travel plan, it’s time you consider the financial aspect of your travel activities. Money is the single most significant constraint on most plans. It is worth working out a budget before you start booking flights.

Safety

How safe is your preferred travel destination? Well, it might sound like most questions asked by mums. However, nothing can ruin your trip more than getting robbed, beaten up, or being kidnapped. Therefore, you should make sure that you are traveling to a safe region.

Independent travel is more than just a fun activity

Traveling independently opens your mind to new and exciting possibilities. Indeed, it helps you learn more about how the planet, get lifetime memories, and have a lot of fun. Just think about planning a long trip to Africa to learn more about social change through experiencing the journey and discovering what we have all lost touch with.

Kenzie Kersen, a 24-year-old American model looking to promote a positive message about eco-tourism, wildlife conservation, and other aspects of the environment. In partnership with Justin Cleaver, a reputable wildlife and fashion photographer from South African to produce an eBook in SA that will be a mix of cool fashion photography (all on film) and wildlife photography (also on film). The reason for incorporating fashion photography and a social media campaign into this story is again to pull the interest of the young generation.

Justin Cleaver

These are some of the important initiatives that send a positive message about eco-tourism, independent travel, and the importance of environmental conservation to the world. Times are changing and planet earth needs our care. It’s time we start sending a positive message to the world like Kenzie and Justin are doing.

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Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

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Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Image Credit : newsroom24x7

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (also known as MoEFCC) was formed in 1985. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. The current Union Minister of MoEFCC is Prakash Javadekar. As the name suggests, MoEFCC is a nodal agency responsible for the accomplishment of policies related to the environment, forests, and climate change.

Duties of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change:

  1. Prevention and control of pollution
  2. Conservation and survey of flora
  3. Conservation and survey of fauna
  4. Conservation and survey of forests
  5. Conservation and survey of wildlife
  6. Afforestation and regeneration of degraded areas
  7. Protection of the environment
  8. Ensuring the welfare of animals

These above-mentioned duties of the MoEFCC are well supported by a set of legislative and regulatory measures, aimed towards the conservation of the environment. Besides the legislative measures below mentioned are some policies that also guide the Ministry’s work.

Policies that guide MoEFCC’s work: The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development:

This policy entails the guidelines that will help to weave environmental thoughtfulness into the fabric of not just our nation, but in our development process as well. It also examines the nation’s development plans so that they are aligned with our environmental perspective. The policy explains the magnitude of our environmental problems and lists our strategies and action plans, some of them include:

A) Population control

B) Conservation of natural resources

C) Prevention of air and noise pollution

National Forest Policy:

The National Forest Policy of 1988 was launched was to ensure environmental stability and maintain the ecological balance of the country. Basic objectives of the National Forest Policy include:

A) Restoration of the ecological balance by massive afforestation, especially on the unproductive lands and preservation of the existing forests of our nation.

B) Conservation of the natural heritage by preserving flora and fauna.

C) Encourage efficient utilization of forest produced products and maximize substitution of wood.

D) Check for soil erosion.

E) Check the extension of sand-dunes in the desert areas of Rajasthan.

F) Meet the requirements of fuel-wood, fodder, minor forest produce, and small timber of the rural population.

Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution:

This policy was introduced due to an increasing trend in environmental pollution. Air quality in the major cities of our country has deteriorated! Levels of nitrogen dioxide are increasing in urban cities with growing vehicle emissions. Water is polluted by four kinds of substances: organic waste, waste generated from industrial processes, chemical agents for fertilizers, and pesticides for crop protection and from degraded deposits. The goal of this policy is to control and prevent pollution with the combination of command methods, voluntary regulations, financial measures, and awareness promotion.  It further includes – waste minimization, reuses or recycle, improvement of water quality, natural resource accounting, institutional and human resource development, and many more.

National Environment Policy:

This policy aims at mainstreaming environmental concerns into all developmental activities. Few objectives of this policy are mentioned below:

A) Conservation of critical environmental resources.

B) Integration of environmental, social and economic development.

C) Ensure poor communities, which are dependable on environmental resources for their livelihoods, have access to these resources.

D) Judicious use of the environmental resources.

The MoEFCC also serves as the nodal agency in the country for:

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
  • South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)

The Ministry is also trusted with the following multilateral bodies for matters of the environment:

  • Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
  • Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP)
  • South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC)
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Sum and Substance:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is accountable for scheduling, promoting, coordinating, and managing all the environmental projects and programs. The Ministry is liable for the conservation of biodiversity, lakes, rivers, trees, forests, wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals and the prevention of pollution in order to control the climate change in the country. The motto of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is sustainable development and enhancement of human well-being.

Nature Talkies declaration: This content is written by the contributor. If you have any suggestion or want to update more information or report us then contact at info@naturetalkies.com  

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Giant Sequoia or Sierra Redwoods: The Most Massive Trees On The Earth

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Giant Sequoia
Image credit : Pixabay (nmnm)

The Giant Sequoia, the tallest trees on the plant, fills everybody with wonder. That a living thing can be so old and enormous is something unbelievable. Commonly known as Sierra redwoods, the largest tree of this family has the capacity to hold as many people as a stadium can accommodate.

History of Sierra Redwoods:

There was a time when redwoods grew all over the Northern Hemisphere. The most ancient redwood fossils unearthed are more than 200 million years old, belonging to the Jurassic Age. At present, there are 75 groves of Giant Sequoia scattered along Sierra Nevada’s western slopes, over 14,400 hectares of the landmass.

Why is a Giant Sequoia tree so huge?

The secret behind giant sequoia’s large size is its long life. They grow so huge because they live the longest. Also, they need a lot of water to thrive. The Sierra snowpack provides the trees with plenty of water as it melts in summer months. As they require well-drained soil, it is harmful to walk around their base as walking compacts the base soil around the roots.

However, giant sequoia trees are quite capable of protecting themselves against natural threats. They are too great to be blown over by the strong wind. The thick bark, rich in tannins, shields them against insect damage and fires.

The strong defense mechanism of Giant Sequoias against forest fires:

Giant sequoias are immune to forest fires due to several factors. Their fire resistant barks save them in times of forest fires. Their cones open after fires, thus facilitating the process of reproduction. So, whereas forest fires threaten the lives of other trees, they benefit from fires.

The larger trees are more resistant to damages caused by fire because of their thick, protective bark and elevated crown. But, as they live for centuries, repeated fire may damage the vascular cambium by penetrating the bark. Most of the larger giant sequoia trees have fire scars

Where can we find Giant Sequoia trees?

All the giant sequoia groves that have developed naturally are situated in the moist and un-glaciated valleys and ridges of the western slope of  Nevada range, present in California, in the United States. The altitude of the area is between 1,500 meters and 2,400 meters above sea level.

The northernmost grove, present in the Tahoe National Forest, is known as the Placer County Grove. The Deer Creek Grove, situated in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, is the southernmost grove.

The tallest Giant Sequoia tree:

General Sherman tree is at present the tallest among the Giant Sequoias inhabiting the earth. Situated in the Sequoia National Park in California’s Tulare County, it has an impressive height of 275 feet. So, it is as tall as a building of 26 stories. However, giant sequoias are capable of reaching a height of 310 feet.

General Grant, Lincoln, The President, Stagg, Genesis, Boole, Franklin, and King Arthur are among the largest giant sequoias.

How fast can giant sequoias grow?

The Giant Sequoia is the world’s fastest-growing conifer. Under favorable circumstances, they usually have 4 feet of vertical growth in their third year. The average growth rate for younger trees is 5 feet or 1.5 meters per year. In an ideal situation, with each year their growth rate increases steadily. So, in 40 years or less, a redwood tree can reach a height of 100 feet.

Some incredible facts about Sierra Redwood trees:

  • Giant sequoias are the largest living organisms on the earth.
  • Giant sequoia trees never cease growing as long as they live.
  • A Sierra Redwood tree can live as long as 3000 years.
  • They reproduce once every 20 years and need forest fires to open their cones.
  • There are 75 groves of giant sequoia left on our planet.

Conservation of Giant Sequoia trees:

There are several governmental laws to protect the giant sequoia trees. The National Park Service devotes much planning and thought to the conservation of these national as well as worldly assets. Road routes in the area are selected with great care. As giant sequoia trees have roots close to the earth’s surface, excessive trampling is not allowed near the trunks. There are barriers surrounding the famous trees that thousands of tourists visit every year, from all parts of the world.

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