In one of the afternoons of my month long time in Pushkar of Rajasthan, we three people, 2 visitors and the owner (named Pradhan alias Ramu) of the Ramues cafe and Shankar Palace where I was staying in, were having the discussion on some random subjects. In that bright and hot sunny day of the summers, we all were restfully seated on the chairs placed under the shadow of the trees which were planted in the roofless central ground of the Shankar Palace.
During our train of thoughts, Ramu reached to a point where he asserted that his place was that divinely blessed site where even the trees dropped the neckbands of Shiva, the Cobra snakes, on the ground. At first, I assumed that Ramu had just used an idiom to express that his place was among the special places of the holy valley of Pushkar. Before I could take my assumptions to any next level, he pointed towards the very small sized countless fresh green and dry brown leaflets which were uniformly scattered all over the ground. Those miniatures were the shed products of the trees we were seated below. Ramu picked up one of the leaflets, had a meticulous look over that and then showed and handed over to us. That structure, which was not longer than 2-3 centimetre, was in the shape of a hooded snake, with a prominent hood and neck and a small body and tail. There was a Shiva temple in the premises of the Shankar Palace and I used to see him worshipping in that sacred place in the morning time. Inside the temple, there was a Shiva-lingam which was shaded above by the hood of a metallic cobra. In an interesting manner, Ramu beautifully connected the green cobras, which were flying from the trees above, with the one that encircles the Shiva. We randomly picked many of those small leaflets from the ground and each one of them was exactly in the shape of a hooded serpent.
When I looked up at the crown, I realised that the cobra tree was not unfamiliar to me. I had seen many of them in the city where I had spent most of the part of my life. In fact, that tree, which sometimes commonly called Ashoka tree, is very common in many of the parks and Gardens in India. After having a close look at one of the trees from the roof of the Shankar Palace, I discovered that the Cobra shaped structures were actually the shed petals of the flowers. Later with the help of a friend, the tree was identified, most probably, as Polyalthia longifolia. Although I was familiar with the tree, I had never had any look on the flower and hooded shed petals before.
We are blessed to expand our imaginations in any direction and sometimes the travelling shows the perspectives which we tend to ignore otherwise.