Green on Ghats, Galis and Streets of Kasi

Kasi is a very densely populated city. Green areas are very rare, hence valuable, both from ecological and social perspectives. Ghatscape, the most scenic and the most natural and artificial place (both at the same time) in the city has its rare share of green. In all the images of the gallery here, the trees are above the maximum annual flood line. The age of the trees is a clear indicator that flood water has not crossed the expected maximum line for a long time now. The last time was in 1978: I remember having witnessed it vaguely as I could see boats on both Harishchandra Ghat and Shivala Road, but I am not 100% sure of the accuracy of my reminiscence.

From the perspective of ecology, the general low density of vegetation on ghats is not good. Aesthetically too, more green would definitely enhance the overall appearance. The embankments may all be lined with trees wherever there are no houses touching them. Houses on the ghats may be encouraged to grow plants in pots in their verandahs and on their terraces and rooftops.

In muhallas, one may come across an old neem, peepal or banyan tree, very occasionally. Generally gods have taken their various seats under these trees. Therefore, they have become sacred and hence, are protected. On busy fluvidromes, one sights the trees at some places. There are some compounds: temple, garden, school, pumping station etc. where one may still find trees in the city. Planting and protecting trees is not a very regular or popular activity in my city, as I have observed. The proportion of green in the city to the yellow/brown of stone walls and the white/yellow etc. of brick walls is very low.

Planting trees in galis is well nigh impossible, as the galis are so densely populated that their construction has no space for any insertion. Streets may have some scope, but very less. Creating more garden or planted areas is something my mind yearns for and sees no possibility of, in near future. In Bangalore I had seen many such gardens in various localities and lots of trees: even in the densely populated city centre. Once more, the verandahs, terraces and chabutras may have some scope for turning green.


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