City Season - Jacaranda Blooms, Around Town

City Season – Jacaranda Blooms, Around Town

Happy blues.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

On Saturday morning, Lithuanian ambassador Diana Mickevičienė was strolling in the little park close to her residence in Vasant Vihar, and found the trees clothed in purple flowers. The lanes too were densely carpeted with the same flowers, though on the ground they looked more like blue to her. A fellow park regular declared it to be neelmohar, the jacaranda. Owner of a leaves-filled copy of Pradip Krishen’s classic book Trees of Delhi, the ambassador wasn’t convinced. She snapped photos of the park’s dream-like sublime scenes and shared them on X, asking, “What is this tree?” Finally, she called up her “trees teacher” Debika Lahiri, who identified it as Moulmein rosewood.

That said, Jacaranda, let’s call it jac, does happen to be presently in bloom. Some miles east from Vasant Vihar, within the Humayun tomb complex, crammed with very many leafy green trees, stands a tree entirely clothed in blue. It seems to be a jac in bloom. While Humayun’s sandstone mausoleum came up in 1570, this tree from Brazil arrived at our shores much later in 1841, and was in fact first planted in distant Calcutta.

Whatever, jac’s brief Delhi bloom is like a bridge connecting the city’s two grandest blooms. It surfaces shortly after the semal tree is done with the springtime blossoming of pulpy red flowers, and shortly before the summertime blossoming of the Amaltas tree’s golden-yellow flowers. You may spot the blossoming jacs these days in Lodhi Gardens, Buddha Jayanti Park and Nehru Park. A cluster stands at Qadsia Bagh in north Delhi. Many of us might also be familiar with the well-known jac at India Habitat Center, for citizens gather there regularly—but that jacaranda is the name of a conference hall. (Gurugram similarly has Jacaranda Marg, in DLF Phase 2. Ghaziabad has Jacaranda Road, in Indirapuram. Greater Noida has Jacaranda Estate. Faridabad has Jacaranda Street.)

This cloudy afternoon, a black bird is sitting motionless atop a leafless tree facing the aforementioned jac’s feel-good blues. See left photo. Moments later, along a lane adjacent to the same blue jac, passes a blue rickshaw. See right photo.