early morning © 2016 . All rights reserved.

Sacred Plants

The famous botanic gardens are six miles from Calcutta, but the whole drive is full of interest and wonderful vegetation. A German was director of the gardens in Dr. King’s absence, and went heart and soul into my work of hunting up the Sacred Plants. He put me into the hands of a learned baboo who said “it pleased him much that I should take so much trouble about the flowers that Siva loved,” and he told me many things about them. One plant, the “Bah,” a famous cure for dysentery, he said he never passed without bowing to, and always put a leaf in his pocket every morning, then nothing could happen to him,- he must be safe, as Siva loved all who were near these trees. He also told me that when he felt old age coming he should go to Benares and die there, and so be quite sure of going to heaven.

The flowers I was in search of were still out of bloom, so I left Calcutta again the next morning at 7.30.

Recollections of a Happy Life, Marianne North

Early morning walk in the Botanical Gardens, Calcutta, in search of Marianne, January 2016.