Did you know Mumbai has cherry blossoms? We didn’t either! Read on to know where you can find these gorgeous trees in full bloom. By Bayar Jain
If going to Japan – or even Northeast India for that matter – to witness pretty pink cherry blossoms in full bloom is on your bucket list, then yearn no more! The city of dreams, Mumbai, has got its own gorgeous stretch of Pink Trumpet trees itching to woo you. The Municipal Corporation has planted these trees between the Vikhroli and Ghatkopar stretch of the Eastern Express Highway. Usually in their full bloom from December to April, these trees require low maintenance to sustain. However, in Mumbai, as temperatures start to rise, these pink flowers fear the risk of wilting soon.
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Native to the Caribbean islands of South America and Swan Islands of Honduras, these fast-growing trees – scientifically known as Tabebuia heterophylla – grow up to 20 to 30 feet in height. While the flowers themselves have a white throat with yellow stripes, the barks are usually grey and fissured. Usually grown in short clusters along the end of a branch, these semi-deciduous trees need very little water to flourish. Their bright pink persona has earned them with the right of becoming a preferred ornamental tree in the tropical world.
However, breathtaking beauty aside, the tree also has medicinal properties. The inner bark of the tree can be used to cure flu, or for easing smoker’s cough. In order to reap these benefits, one simply has to dry the inner bark, shred it, and boil it to make a brownish tea called Taheebo.
Apart from Mumbai, cherry blossoms can also be found in other parts of the country, most notably in Shillong. Here, an International Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year. Usually celebrated in the autumn flowering months in November, this festival also brings together the various foods, wines, and crafts of the region under one roof. Last year, in the 4th edition of the festival, several Korean events like K-pop concerts and Korean cuisine stalls were also organised in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre India.