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Coral Jasmine

A safari into the forest during a visit to Kabini seems to be a must. In fact, for most people, this urge is what lures them here.  To witness an elephant, a tiger or a leopard in the wilderness is often the primary objective of the trip. No doubt the whole experience can be very exciting.

But outside of the safari time, particularly in the evenings, a leisurely stroll on the campus can be very enjoyable too. The campus is well wooded and the evening air is clean and crisp. Allow your nose - yes, your nose - to lead you and enjoy a different experience!

When you are on a walk, make it a point to walk the path connecting the North block and the Viceroy bungalow. At the junction of this and the path connecting the East block and the Maharaja bungalow is a tree which will make its presence known even before you are near it.  

Once under the tree you will be treated to a pleasant, albeit heady, aroma. Spend a minute enjoying this and find yourself refreshed.

If you walk up to the same tree in the morning you will learn more about it. You will find several flowers fallen on the ground underneath. Yes, the white jasmine-like flower with an orange stalk looks very familiar! 

Indeed, it is the Paarijaata that enthralled you with its aroma. This small-sized tree blooms in the night and by day break sheds its flowers. As should be expected, it is pollinated by insects that are active in the night. 

The Paarijaata, known as the Coral Jasmine, is also botanically referred to as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis which literally means ‘night-flowering sad tree'. This name perhaps comes from one of the many myths about this tree. This native tree also has a lot of medicinal value. Extracts from the tree are used to cure inflammation, fever, skin ailments to name a few. You may do well to read about these before you are headed to Kabini next. And, while there don't forget to take a walk to befriend the ‘night flowering sad tree' and soak in its company.


Karthikeyan S. is the Chief Naturalist at Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd.

I didn't know the name for our age-old "paarijaata" or "pavazha malli"'s been one of my favourite plants, with so much mythology also associated with it.
Posted on 11/19/13 4:10 PM.
Lovely write up about a usually neglected, though beautiful tree. I grew up with one shedding its flowers into our compound every morning, and it was my job to collect as many as possible for my mom's puja emoticon
Posted on 11/19/13 6:20 PM.
Wow..your post brings back such memories of childhood..pavaya malli..we used to have almost a kutti grove at home in Madras and all of us kids used to hang around there to feel the fragrance..My cousins and I used to make a jasmine malai with needle and thread and give it to the elders for puja..I was probably around 7-8 years old then..
Posted on 11/19/13 6:53 PM.
Saandip Nandagudi
Nicely documented.. Its one of favourite & top most preferred flower offerings to god even though if its fallen to ground.. We had this tree at home & aroma is spellbound emoticon
Posted on 11/19/13 7:50 PM.
Excellent one... reminds me of the nostalgic memories of the paarijaat tree in our backyard.. me and my siblings used to collect the flowers in the morning emoticon when I was studying in school (quite long ago) emoticon
Posted on 11/20/13 3:06 AM.
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