Neralu 2014

Through games and drama, stories and art, music and dance, yoga and films, and even a conversation with trees, we celebrated trees in every way we could think of. Two days, thousands of people and the love from thousands of trees 🙂

© Bhargav Shandilya

Everybody loves trees and needs trees. They’ve just forgotten. NERALU hopes to serve as a reminder and help reconnect people with trees

Sandesh Kadur, noted wildlife photographer and film-maker

Trees form an important and irreplaceable component of cities. For many organisms, they constitute a habitat where they make a living, find food, build nests etc. They help bring in a sense of balance in our rapidly urbanizing habitat. The NERALU Tree Festival was an excellent way to draw people out and admire and learn of the trees and our urban natural heritage.

S Karthikeyan, naturalist and author of ‘Discover Avenue Trees’

Neralu, Bengaluru’s first tree festival, was organised on 8th and 9th February, 2014 at Bal Bhavan, Cubbon Park and Venkatappa Art Gallery, with a footfall of nearly 4000 over these two days. Neralu was entirely crowd-funded. Both, donors and organisers came from different walks of life – artists, academicians, activists, students, nature enthusiasts and photographers amongst others, with one thing in common – our passion for Bengaluru’s trees.

The highlights of the festival were the activities – guided tree walks, film screenings, performances, community events, talks, workshops, art installations and more. Tree walks alone had more than 500 individual registrations, and were conducted in Cubbon Park. Then there were storytelling sessions, theatre performances, activities and games for children, workshops on tree phenology, urban planning, curated infographics of trees at the venue, audio narratives, photography exhibition and a performance workshop.

Our Hug-A-Tree campaign was covered by mainstream media and became a raging success. Together, we all re-discovered the simple joy of hugging a tree.

© Niranj Vaidyanathan

Several noted ecologists, artists and activists including Dr SG Neginhal, S Karthikeyan, Harini Nagendra, Suresh Jayaram, Vijay Thiruvady, Krishna MB, Sandesh Kadur, Shobha Menon and Vinay Sreenivasa shared their perspective of urban nature heritage through various talks and discussions. A film hut was setup, to screen documentaries on trees and urban nature through the day. An exhibition featuring Rumale Channabasavaiah’s beautiful paintings of flowering avenue trees was held over 5 days at Venkatappa Art Gallery.

The evening finales were grand performances by Soliga Pusumaale Kalasangha (BR Hills) and Bhoomi Thayi Balaga, who effortlessly imbibe folklore around trees and nature in their lives.

The Neralu 2014 image gallery is here.

The festival wouldn’t have been a success without the unrelenting support of Bangaloreans who volunteered in large numbers. Over 80 donors and 100 volunteers contributed and worked towards making the dream of this tree festival come true.