Thursday, January 10, 2019

Nature Walk 20-Jan-2019

Our first event of the year is here!

Take a nature walk around the lake with an avid birder and biologist Kaustubh Rau and see what birds and insects call their home.

When - 20th January 2019 (Sunday) from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Where -  Puttenahalli Lake
For - Adults and children (children below 8 yrs need to be accompanied by an adult)
What to bring - Your own binoculars, water bottles, caps

This is a FREE event, but you need to register the name(s) as we have limited seats available.

To Register - Send a mail to or with your name and apartment community name.

About Kaustubh Rau
Kaustubh Rau works as an educator with young people and enjoys learning about the natural world with them. Currently he teaches in the biology program at Azim Premji University.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019's first Gardening Day - a report

The first family gardening on Saturday 5th January was a great start to 2019. 

It was a glorious winter morning at the lake. The sun shone brightly on the trees and the water, one could see only sparkles everywhere!

Schools of fish could be spotted at various points making the cormorants a happy lot. A Spot-billed Pelican which has been visiting the lake regularly of late, came around to enjoy the sun and the lake much to the delight of our "Family Gardeners."

Trees like the White Silk Cotton and Ball Badminton are flowering. The deciduous Mahogany is still fully barren but the Thespesia is growing new leaves after shedding all their old ones on our avenue side!

They had provided enough work for the volunteers today - 5 adults, 4 children and 2 young adults. They all raked the fallen leaves and collected them for composting. When this was done, some of them set to trimming the hedges while others watered the plants. No one noticed how the hour and half went by!

One of the first time participants, a 5 year old introduced her aunt who had brought her because, as she said, her mom and dad are at home. Dad was watching television.

Keeping a straight face, I told her to get her dad to bring her the next time. 

She said, "He doesn't listen to anyone. He is a naughty boy."

Childhood is like no other phase in one's life because it is filled with wonder and curiosity. Nurture it!  Join us with your children in our next Family Fun Gardening Day on Saturday 2nd February.

Event Coordinator, PNLIT

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Year That Was - PNLIT Highlights of 2018

The transition from one day to another is, well, as predictable as the marching of time. And yet, the shift from 31st Dec. to 1st Jan has something magical about it. It spells new hope, a fresh beginning. We hope our resolutions for the new year will bear fruit and wish that yours would come true as well. 

Here's a quick flashback on our highs and lows of 2018. 

Jan: T.S.Srinivasa’s “Discover Garden Climbers” was released by naturalist Vijay Thiruvady followed by an absorbing discussion on climbers, shrubs, grasses and more in a lively Q & A. Mr. Thiruvady and Mr. Srinivasa inaugurated the naming of the trees in our lake by hanging a board on a Badminton Ball (Parkia biglandulosa) and a Big-leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla).  We are putting up the name boards on other species. 

Srinivasa and Thiruvady, Jan 2018

Feb: The northern side entrance to the lake was finally made secure with a fence and gates. A grant from VMWare enabled us to undertake this installation which had been pending since 2009 when BBMP marked the boundary of the lake. 

Mar: Heavy pre-monsoon rain on the 15th led to sewage gushing into the lake from three sources. BWSSB did stop the inflow but by then the quantum of sewage was too high and the fish began to die. By the end of the week, almost all of the fish were gone. It was a traumatic experience which made us to look into aerating the water. This has become vital because the problem of sewage continues if sporadically. We have taken this up with the Chairman, BWSSB and hope they will find a permanent solution to overflowing underground drains polluting our lake. 

Fish kill, Mar 2018

Our morale received a boost with getting CSR fund from Axis Bank to meet our operational expenses for 2018-19. Such a relief! 

Saahas, our new partner to manage the waste on the lake premises and in the surroundings, began their sensitisation programme and dry waste collection. 

Apr:   Our gardeners laid pipes from the valve chambers along the walking track to water the hedge and plants on the revetment. We used the last of a grant from Deloitte Shared Services India Pvt. Ltd. given in 2015-16 to lay this pipeline and procure ground cover plants for the slope.

Watering line, Apr 2018

May: Our lake is often mistaken for its namesake in Yelahanka or with Sarakki Lake. To end this confusion we added "Puttakere," as it used to be referred to earlier. A large sized board proudly announcing "Puttenahalli Puttakere" was put up at the northern side entrance.

Name board, May 2018

June: We revived the Family Gardening day. Held on the 1st Saturday of the month, adults and children have been working with great enthusiasm. It is open to everyone. Please bring your family too!

Family gardening, June 2018 onwards

PNLIT gardener Jayanna fashioned a fountain aerator by extending the pipeline down the slope into a perforated circular tube resting on a floating platform frame. It works well. Our gardeners are enthused to innovate more!

Jayanna's fountain, Jun 2018

July: Another different event that was greatly appreciated - Yellamma and Other Stories: Stories and musical conversations on Goddess Yellamma. Held in collaboration with the Urban Folk Project, an initiative to archive folk art forms in Karnataka. 

Urban Folk Project event, Jul 2018

Aug.: Led by Mr. Sridhar Pabbisetty of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, a team of 20 Indian Economic Service officers from New Delhi visited the lake. 

Sept.: In a joint exercise with our knowledge partner, Earthwatch Institute India, part of an international environmental organisation, a Sustainability Training Programme was held for employees of HSBC. Scientists from IISc. conducted the programme. 

We signed an agreement with SMS Labs Services Pvt Ltd. to monitor the quality of the water on a monthly basis. Our heartfelt gratitude to the BMS College of Engineering who had been testing the water in their lab since June 2016. With several independent researchers and organisations coming over to collect samples and conduct their own tests, we felt it was necessary to have our own benchmark. SMS Labs Services Pvt Ltd. is an NABL certified laboratory. 

Oct.: One of our residents, Mr. Rakesh Kasba did a trial run of a self-designed "Duckweed Extractor."  With the duckweed greatly reduced in the lake, we need to explore whether it can be used to remove any other floating waste. 

A video series titled Eco-India by went live. The first episode on Bengaluru lakes includes ours. At the time of writing, it has been viewed 2,50,693 times! 

Nov.: Continuing our effort to aerate the water, we placed an order for a fountain with Alpha Powers, Coimbatore using a part of the Axis Bank grant. Special thanks to Mr. Raghavendra Shanbhag, a regular visitor to the lake for his help with this project. 

Our Children's Day celebration was made memorable by young singer, Anjana Padmanabhan, winner of Indian Idol Jr. Season One and a drum jam led by Ashirwad Achrekar and his 14 year old son, Arnav.  

Children's Day, Nov 2018

Earthwatch Institute India brought out a beautiful coffee table brochure on the Puttenahalli Lake revival story 

Dec. PNLIT Chairperson, Usha Rajagopalan was invited to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-Tata Partners’ Meet on 'Building Climate Resilience for Doubling Farmers Income: Innovations in Land, Water, Energy and Ecosystems' held at Anand from 4th to 6th. She gave the Keynote address at a session on 'Warriors for India's Urban Lakes.'  In her speech, Usha had highlighted the assistance PNLIT received from BBMP (Lakes), other government agencies, our CSR partners and from the neighbourhood. With your continued support, we will reach more milestones in 2019.

Striated Heron, Dec 2018

Warmest greetings to you and your family from all of us at PNLIT!

The PNLIT Team

Photo credits: PNLIT Shutterbugs

Monday, December 3, 2018

December Family Gardening Day

Report by Susheela Urs, the PNLIT Manager on the 1st Dec Family Gardening Day at Puttenahalli Lake

Ms Vijayalakshmi, a regular to our Family Gardening Day was the first one to come on this lovely bright Saturday morning. As soon as she came, she started working with all her enthusiasm. She is interested in every job and will give a hand to each one.

Slowly other parents and grandparents came in with their younger ones and we had 6 adults and 5 kids trimming the hedges, manuring plant beds, raking dry leaves and planting Rhoeo saplings. We also had 4 youngsters from TERN who came to learn more about the lake and stayed till 12.30 p.m. giving a helping hand. They planted Rhoeo plants along the curb/kerb on tree beds and manured them.

Overall it was a very satisfying day at the lake.  

More pictures taken by Susheela may be seen here.
We look forward to seeing more families joining in the gardening day in the new year!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

All new - flower, winter migrant, booklet

We weren't actually accumulating the news but all these happened together. As November came to a close we received our booklet (with little text and loads of photographs) on the evolution of Puttenahalli Lake; a couple of days ago we spotted the first flowers of the Passion Flower and yesterday morning  Madhurima, our bird census recorder, spotted a new winter migrant, a Striated Heron at the lake. We are unable to choose which one is more exciting hence sharing all three with you! The pictures may not do complete justice to the original but take a look. 

The PNLIT booklet is courtesy Earthwatch Institute India, our partner to bring citizen science and experiential learning to lake conservation. It is a beautifully brought out though in limited edition. The booklet may be seen here.
The Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) has many petals arranged in a ring hence referred to as "Kaurav Pandav."  It is growing on the pergola, giving company (future competition?) to the Clock Vine (Thunbergia coccinea)

Passion Flower (Pics: Nupur Jain)

Clock Vine (Pic: Prakash Ananthpur)

The Striated Heron is a rarity in an urban lake like ours according to our in-house birder S.K. Srinivas. He himself has not seen it and is hoping to spot it today.  According to online info on the bird, it is also called Green Heron because of the iridescent colour of its back. It is said to be a creative fisher that uses a bait such as a leaf or a small twig which it flicks on the water. The curious fish  becomes food for the heron.  

Striated Heron (Pic: Madhurima Das)

We do hope Srinivas, Madhurima or indeed anyone of you reading this mail will go to the lake, spot the heron and photograph the bird baiting the fish. And send us the photograph/video. :-)

Madhurima also sent another photograph which simply had to be shared - a Little cormorant landing on the head of a Kingfisher. Tsk .... tsk ....! Birds are no less than human kids. 

Cormorant on Kingfisher (Pic: Madhurima Das)

A happy Sunday to all. 


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Anjana and Arnav bring out the "child" in all of us

Those of you who missed the Children's Day Celebration at the Puttenahalli Lake on 17th Nov. really did miss something! Anjana Padmanabhan, the winner of Indian Idol Jr. 2013 is a pleasure to listen to. What a voice, what singing! She is a professional performer at this young age! 

Anjana (Pic: Jaishree)

The drum jam led by Ashirwad Achrekar and his 14 year old son, Arnav, was packed with energy. And boy! Did the audience revel in it!

Arnav and Ashirwad (Pic: Jaishree)

What was particularly heartwarming to us was the number of new faces in the audience. It seemed that the community was coming together to celebrate children's day at the lake. 

The audience (Pic: Jaishree)

Our sincere thanks to Anjana, Arnav and Ashirwad, and to Jaishree Govind and S.K. Srinivas who took the photographs and videos. 

Here are two reports on the event from our volunteers. 


From N. Raj

"Saturday Evening ...Gazebo of Puttenahalli lake tucked amidst concrete jungle of the city.. people of all age groups having gala time for the wonderful music so much that all the living creatures resonated with lots of joy.. the flora and fauna danced to the tunes of the music .. 

Age is just a number as everyone were dancing to the tune.. (a few dance through their heart)

It had singing to dancing to drumjam to keep up the fun . The photographers would have had a gala time as they didn't to say 'say cheese" as almost everyone was smiling and joyful to their heart content!!" 

Drumming (Pic: SK Srinivas)


From: Nandhini Sriraaman 

Where Melody embraced Rhythm

It was an absolutely thrilling children's day celebration at the lake filled with high energy performances and participation from children of all ages. 😜 It was a good turnout with more than 100 people turning up. The performers for the day were Anjana Padmanabhan and Ashirwad accompanied by his son, Arnav. 

As always with a PNLIT programme, it started on time with the first Indian Idol Junior winner,  Anjana Padmanabhan taking the viewers on an amazing Bollywood musical journey that started off with a beautiful melody from Taare zameen par.  The journey traversed through AR Rahman's first song 'Choti si aasha' to 'Nannare' to 'Nagada sang dhol', drawing the kids and adults to shake their legs to these peppy numbers and twisting to 'zoobi doobi'. Anjana also managed to keep the audience engaged with a Sing-along medley of famous Bollywood songs from yesteryears for the young at heart.

Anjana (Pic extracted from Jaishree's video)

Both Anjana and Ashirwad shared their musical journey motivating the participants. Ashirwad then performed on the Djembe while his son played the drums. This was a spontaneous drum jam that kept all the viewers tap their feet to the rhythm.

It was dusk when Anjana started Round 2 of her performances with a few more Bollywood numbers with Bum bum bole from Taare zameen par being the finale. She brought so much energy to the song that kids and elders formed a long train, came down and danced their way back between the audience. There was a lot of joy with everyone displaying the widest smiles they could have and just enjoying the moment.

Train (Pic: extracted from Jaishree's video) 

The whole lake came to life when the most awaited part of the event, the Drum Circle was formed with more that 50 djembes, tambourines and sticks all of them following Ashirwad's instructions playing in the same rhythm. The group was filled with high level of energies keeping up with the beats. The sounds of all the instruments were reverberating and resonating as the sky turned dark. The children couldn't have enough if it. The simple change of pace and variations with so many different activities kept the kids completely engaged and attentive throughout, thanks to Ashirwad. 

Drumming (Pic: SK Srinivas)

Overall, an evening well spent at the lovely Puttenahalli Lake bringing in a lot of life and energy a perfect way to celebrate Children's Day! 

Photos taken by S.K. Srinivas

Photos taken by Jaishree Govind
Video taken by Jaishree Govind 

Anjana video 

Arnav and Ashirwad (Drum Jam) video

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

PNLIT celebrates Children's Day on 17th Nov 4-6 p.m.

Celebrate Childrens Day with Indian Idol Junior Anjana Padmanabhan Drum Circle Facilitator Ashirwad

17th Nov 2018, 4 p.m - 6 p.m.
Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake

All are welcome
Kindly assemble by 3:45 p.m.

For registering your name, send an email to 
Sapana ( or 
Divya (

If you have your own percussion instruments then do bring them for the Drum Circle.

About the artists:

Anjana Padmanabhan (15 years) began to learn singing at the age of 7 and when she was 10, won the title of Indian Idol Junior, Season 1.  Her repertoire ranges from Hindustani, Carnatic to light music. This class 10 student resides in our neighbourhood, at Brigade Gardenia. A much in demand performer will be singing at our lake for the first time.

Ashirwad is an engineer by profession and musician at heart. He has been teaching tabla/djembe since last 6years. He is also a Life-Coach, a Family Counsellor and a Drum Circle facilitator! He will be leading the Drum Circle during this event.
Know more about Drum Circle -

PNLIT Event Co-ordinator

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lake stories

Once in a while our best laid plans go awry at the lake. For instance, from the time the lake was getting rejuvenated in early 2010, we had reserved a prime space for a Red-Silk Cotton tree (Bombax ceiba). It is deciduous but the flowers more than make up for the absence of leaves. The beautiful bright red flowers attract birds in hordes. They visit not just for the nectar but also for the water that collects in the cup like flower. But it seemed impossible to get a sapling. Finally, Mr. Ramachandran, a regular visitor to the lake got us a packet of seeds from the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun!  

In our enthusiasm, we planted the seeds directly in the soil instead of soaking them first. Out of 10 or 15, two sprouted. We planted one ceremoniously in the reserved site and waited for it to grow and flower. It did but what do you know, the flowers were white! It was a Ceiba pentandra  and not Bombax ceiba

By the time it flowered, it had already become a young giant. Apparently, the Kapok tree can grow up to 150 ft! Fortunately, the space should be enough. Let it grow and flower all it wants. We've shifted our hope to another silk cotton we'd planted some years ago. It is yet to flower. To be on the  safer side, Mr. Ramachandran got another batch of seeds, this time insisting on Bombax ceiba. For want of space, we have kept the seeds safe. 

White silk cotton, Jan 2018

Space constraint for trees led us to think of planting vines. Climbers on the fence, we knew, would invariably flower outside and not share their glory within the premises. We decided to put up a pergola. Out of three designs, we chose one by Mayapraxis. Grants from  Misys and VMWare gave us a pergola that, by the looks of it, will outlast even the youngest among us, trustees. 

We needed three species of climbers which Nupur and I chose and planted in Feb. 2018. Her favourite was Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata, "Kaurav Pandav") while mine was Indian Clock vine (Thunbergia mysorensis). Our mutual preference was for Clematis terniflora (Sweet autumn clematis). To my delight, the Clock vine quickly climbed and began to spread. Exactly as we had imagined, the flowers drooped from the height but they were red and small, not shell like maroon and yellow! It was Thunbergia all right but coccinea not mysorensis!

Thunbergia mysorensis, Oct 2018

We recover from these googlies quickly because, well, one beauty is replaced with another. It is not so easy to reconcile with shocks humans give us. Recently a gentleman telephoned and posed question after another. The only one for which I had no answer was this: "But why do you want birds at the lake?"

Best regards

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Eco India video - Bangalore's lakes being transformed

Eco India is a collaboration between and Deutsche Welle news channel.

Starting this week, Eco India brings you stories of innovations from across India and Europe, and the people who make them possible. The top story this week looks at how citizens in Bangalore are coming together to replenish and revive the city's lakes. Puttenahalli Lake is featured in this episode.

click here for youtube 

Many thanks to's researcher Aditi Rajagopal for the interest in Puttenahalli Lake, and to photographer Omkar Phatak who makes all the lakes look spectacular.

Deutsche Welle broadcast this shortened episode yesterday, and it can be seen here.

The full episode can be seen on youtube here.