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.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Family Gardening Day at the Lake - 6th October

The overcast weather kept most of the interested volunteers away from the lake last Saturday, which was our monthly Family Gardening Day. But it did not deter Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, a young at heart senior citizen residing in the neighbourhood. She came on time and worked through the drizzle till 11 a.m.!

Here is what she has to say.
"I went home feeling refreshed and relaxed. Picking up dead leaves, digging the soil, trimming hedges and just gazing at the turning colours of the lake on a rainy day are great stress busters! I would recommend this for all the senior citizens here. It's a cure for all old age ailments."  

Thank you so much dear Vijayalakshmi. We wish to see you again and again! 

And to those who couldn't make it, do join us on 3rd November, the next Family Gardening Day at the Lake. 

PNLIT Event Coordinator

Friday, October 5, 2018

Puttenahalli Lake - then and now; Bengaluru Bird Day, 6th October

Quite often we tend to forget how our Puttenahalli Lake looked. I remembered while browsing through old photographs for a presentation. 

4th July 2010

5th October 2018

On behalf of PNLIT, I have been invited to give a talk on our conservation efforts tomorrow, 6th October, at the Bengaluru Bird Day 2018. See how the lake has transformed in eight years. 

My topic is "Batting for Birds at Puttenahalli Puttakere"   
Please visit to see the detailed schedule.  
All are welcome.

Best regards

Monday, October 1, 2018

Lake updates

We are happy to tell you that we have signed an agreement with SMS Labs Services Private Ltd., to monitor the quality of the water in our lake. The New Indian Express carried a report on this in today's newspaper. Here's the link:

BMS College of Engineering had been kind enough to test the water samples in their lab from June 2016.  Of late, several organisations and individuals have been approaching us for permission to conduct their own tests. We encourage them to do so even though we are not sure of the facilities available in their laboratories. In order to have our own benchmark we decided to get a monthly  monitoring done by one which is certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

Our heartfelt thanks to BMSCE. We look forward to more collaborative work with them in the future.

The photograph of the Oriental Darter with a fish in its beak in the New Indian Express article was taken by Prakash Ananthapur. He also spotted and photographed a Glossy Ibis at the lake on 27th September. This bird, though resident in India, is not a frequent visitor to our lake. It was first seen in February 2017. Here's hoping it will come around more often, with family and friends!


Glossy Ibis (Pic: Prakash Ananthapur) 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Cloud of Trash @ Puttenahalli Lake

For the last seven years Pratham Books has been conducting 'One Day, One Story', an annual storytelling campaign that celebrates International Literacy Day on 8th September every year. 
PNLIT has been part of this campaign for the last five years!

This year the selected book was A Cloud of Trash written by Karanjeet Kaur and illustrated by Bhavana Vipparthi. Theatre practitioner and filmmaker Surabhi Herur narrated and enacted this story much to the joy of 25 young children and their parents and grandparents who had assembled at the lake.

Here is what Ms. Vijayalakshmi Kutty, who attended the storytelling session, had to say:
Who doesn't like a good story? The young to the elderly love to hear a well-told tale. The story telling session had young children enraptured with a modern tale about an everyday problem - garbage. Recited with flair, vigour and vivacity, by theatre savvy, Surabhi Herur, the session had the children intellectually, emotionally and physically engaged at every stage, to explore an existential problem and together find solutions for it. A Cloud of Trash tells the story of a young girl with a burdensome cloud of garbage floating above her head at every moment. And that is the worrisome  story of our cities today which has to be told to our young ones. Surabhi brought the engaging session to a close with a collective,symbolic pledge to keep our environment clean.

Here are some moments captured beautifully by Vishnupriya Hathwar and Deepa Mohan.

Thank you,

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Workshops for parents - 23rd and 30th Sep

Workshops for parents facilitated by Vishnupriya Hathwar. All proceeds will go to Vishnupriya's organization The Humanity Express.

Details of the workshops

1) Parents of children 8-10, Sept 23, 2018
@ puttenahalli lake, Morning 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

2) Parents of children 11-14, Sept 30, 2018
@ puttenahalli lake, Morning 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Content of the workshops 
1. Introduction to integrated learning methods for parents
2. Learning and teaching begins at home
3. Learning and teaching within nature
4. Subject integration and details
5. Outdoor activities / trips

Workshop fees Rs 200/-

Do join us! For registration call Vishnupriya Hathwar @+91 9448451921

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A bird in distress rescued at the lake

Some mornings begin with a bang. Today was one - literally with calls on two mobiles and the landline at the same time. 

The news was bad. A  Great Cormorant was caught in a line or wire at the lake. It was dangling from its feet from the dead tree we'd planted as a perch. Where did this line/wire come from? This perch is the favourite of birds that are always landing and taking off. But this was no time to think of who did what and when. I called Seenappa, the gardener, who lived closest to the lake. He was on his way to his village. Between the other two gardeners, Jayanna lived closer but even that was too far away. I told him to come over anyway and requested the next caller to contact the slum residents on the lake bund and seek their help. 

Nupur began to receive the distress calls as well. She ran to the lake while I stayed back coordinating with Jayanna and reassuring callers that help is on the way. 

Cormorant in distress

Finally, about 45 minutes later, one of the slum guys, Raju, brought the bird to the land and with two others, cut the nylon thread and freed it. The Great Cormorant flew down the slope, into the water and swam away. 

Pics and video by Sapana, Ravi and Raghav. Youtube video compiled by Rakshith Jakati.

It turned out that some boys had been caught fishing last Sat. While escaping, they had flung the line on the tree. The feet of the bird got entangled in the wire but it was lucky enough to escape the sharp curved hook. 

Fishing line which trapped the cormorant (Pic Nupur Jain)

As terrible as this was, we were surprised and delighted at the number of calls we received. It showed the sensitivity of the callers, residents in the locality and regular walkers at the lake. Several of them waited till the bird was rescued. Our heartfelt thanks to all of them, to Raju and the two others who freed the bird. We do not want another bird ensnared but do hope the number of people who care for the lake increases! 


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Report - September Family Gardening Day at the Lake

The family gardening session was very productive this morning. Fourteen residents from the neighbourhood (7 children and 7 adults) deweeded the sidewalk area and sheared the hedges.

Ritvik (Christ college student) did a great job in pruning the hedges uniformly for more than an hour and wanted to keep going beyond 11 a.m.It felt wonderful to have a young adult like him contributing his Saturday morning to nature.

Everyone enjoyed the bright morning watching Greater Cormorants (4 of them!) take off and land on the water. Guest appearances were made by a tiny snail, a skink, small beetles,spiders and other insects much to the delight of the little ones.

Vishu (RVCE student) who has been volunteering with PNLIT since he was in 7th Standard delighted the little ones more with the close up shots of the Greater Cormorants taken on his DLSR camera.

In our next Family Gardening Day (Oct 6th) hope to see more of you.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Celebrate International Literacy Day with PNLIT at Puttenahalli Lake

'One Day, One Story' the annual storytelling campaign of Pratham Books that celebrates International Literacy Day is back! And like the past few years, PNLIT is a part of this program.

This year's chosen book is A Cloud of Trash (written by Karanjeet Kaur, and illustrated by Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi). It’s a story about a little girl called Cheekoo, who has a cloud of trash hanging over her head. This makes her very, very unhappy. Slowly she realizes what she needs to do to get rid of this trash!

Join in an interactive storytelling session by Surabhi Herur to follow Cheekoo's story.

Venue - Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake
Date & Time - September 8th (Saturday4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kindly assemble by 3:45 p.m.
Age group - 5 years and above
Entry is FREE

About the Artist
Surabhi Jyotirmayee Herur is a theatre practitioner, filmmaker, facilitator and acting coach. With over fifty projects in drama and film, including hundreds of theatrical shows and many critically acclaimed performances to her credit, her expertise in the field comes from a keen observation of human behaviour and the diversity of experience that a career spanning the gamut of various forms of art and literature brings.

Looking forward to seeing you at the lake.