We started at the statue of Shivaji, the Maratha king who defeated the Mughals. He is a major hero of Maharashtra, the province where I'm living. Many buildings are named for him, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport in Mumbai, and you can also find many paintings and statues.
In Alice Garden, paths wind through the trees, ornamental hedges, and flowers. Alice Richman, the daughter of a British governor, died of cholera at the age of 25, in 1882. One legend tells that her ghost wanders the gardens after midnight riding a white horse, and it brings good luck to see her. Today couples sit around her grave.
The pool in the middle of the garden has little black fish, and several kinds of birds feed on them. I don't recognize most of the plants, trees, and birds here, and even the familiar ones have unfamiliar colours... but the insects are basically the same! I'm always surprised and delighted to see cows wandering the campus.
The tree which fascinates me most is the banyan tree; a holy tree which grows all over the city. This one is particularly large, and the "trees" around it are actually its roots!
The tree drops roots from its branches, which start out in thin clumps, but eventually grow and thicken until they embed themselves into the ground. The Buddha gave his first sermon beneath a banyan tree.
In another part of the campus a pond in a deep crater had an abandoned building at the centre. It appeared as if there once was a bridge or platform leading out to it. Even the photo I took of the cliff flattens out the steepness and height. The path behind it is also blocked off, but we continued past the path to a sport field, where students were practising baseball, volleyball, and field hockey drills.
The main building is beautiful arches, metal- and stonework, with a garden behind it. They are doing major renovations right now, so I couldn't get any detailed photos, and I actually upset a security guard who thought that I was taking photos to draw negative attention to the work. That made me think about why I take photos: because I see something beautiful perhaps in a colour or shape, even if the subject is old or dirty or broken. Beauty isn't difficult to find in the main university building.
This week I went to temple to pay my respects to Devi Chattushringi Mata, but I don't have any photos this time. The Navitri festival to the goddess will be smaller this year because of H1N1 (unfortunately the virus became more widespread after Ganapati), but mandirs are still springing up around the city.