India’s Republic Day falls on January 26th each year. It celebrations the signing of the Declaration of Independence and their proposed split from the British Empire. Note: it’s not the same as their actual Independence day. Basically, it’s the day they said “We’ve had enough,” and began their quest to be recognized as a separate nation. Other fun fact: Republic Day is one of only three national holidays in India. Yes, I said three. Despite the weekly festivals, only three days are recognized holidays by every single state. The vast majority of holidays are celebrated regionally (can you imagine if California didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving??) so many festivals in Bangalore aren’t a big deal in New Delhi and vice versa. The other two holidays which garner national observance are Gandhi’s birthday on October 2nd and Independence Day on August 15th.
2016 marked the 67th Republic Day, which was primarily celebrated in the capital city of New Delhi with parades and, of course, lots of fireworks. Each year they invite a guest of honor, usually a head-of-state or high level government official from an alliance country. Last year, they invited US President Obama, making him the first US President to receive an invite. This year France’s President Francios Hollande was in attendance, making him the 5th Frenchie to receive the honor.
Bangalore didn’t have too many celebrations (nor many firecrackers, thank goodness – I still haven’t quite recovered from Diwali) but they did have their annual Republic Day Flower Show in Lal Bagh Gardens. This year’s show paid tribute to the 150th birthday of Gustav Krumbiegel – a renowned horticulturist and architect who is primarily responsible for planning the streets of Bangalore. Personally, after living here for six months, I’m not quite sure that the person responsible for the city planning of Bangalore would be at the top of my list to honor (think: Boston’s anti-grid system with 10x the traffic) but oh well. I’m sure he had good intentions.
The flower show provided me with both excellent people watching and flower displays which left me quite confused about what the designer was trying to convey – which was quite entertaining. Veena and I went a few days early to check it out and beat the crowds. We had a nice morning run inside the garden grounds and then made our way to the Glass House where the main showing took place. Check out some of my favorite photos below 🙂
The highlight of the show for me was this lovely creature. We dubbed her as “Bertha” and were so delighted at her existence in the center of the show. Locals flocked to take selfies and seemed to appreciate her for a whole different set of reasons than Veena and I. My only question was: Why?
Second to Bertha was this creepy-looking baby. Again, it garnered a different type of appreciation from these ladies than from me. I would like to know what this designer was trying to convey when creating this baby head among the flowers.
Bertha’s guard, perhaps? This fellow was stationed outside of the glass house, and I can only imagine that he is patrolling the red-flowered seas to make sure no unworthy suitors come to court young Bertha. Or, potentially he is on the lookout for her hairdresser, who I would guess is not welcome back.
This is the replica of Gustav Krumbiegel’s home. Nice, but it doesn’t hold a candle to my friend, Bertha.
This lovely totem pole sat next to the baby face…again, I’m not quite sure what they were going for. Also, the green material they put outside of the Glass house makes all of the photos appear to have a strange Instagram filter.
Some of the more typical, flower show photos.