Din ka raja aur uski praja

(English:The Day-king and his retinue)

I really like having plants with perfumed flowers around where I live. I plant them whenever we move into a new house. When we moved into ‘Casa Grande’ as my brother and his family refer to the quaint old-fashioned bungalow that we are presently staying in, I had the same sentiments.

(My wife reminds me, that by ‘planting’, I actually mean getting someone else to plant them .)

My father-in-law, the quintessential and ever-obliging gardener, brought two perfumed bushes and a creeper so as to indulge his son-in-law.

The Clematis creeper grew profusely, flowered in all seasons and doused passers-by in clouds of perfume. The Raat ki rani (Night queen, to those who know not Hindi) (Cestrum nocturnum) wafted gentle fragrance into my son’s bed room. But the Din ka raja (Day king) (Cestrum diurnum) though growing tall did not quite live upto the reputation of its nocturnal relative, planted barely twenty feet away.

It was not his fault really. Cestrum diurnum flowers in the rains in India and yours truly was quite ignorant of this. The rains brought flowers but no visitors. I was disappointed.

'Din ka raja' flowers in front of 'Casa Grande' in the rains!

'Din ka raja' flowers in front of 'Casa Grande' in the rains!

One overcast day, around ten in the morning, there was a break in the clouds, and some shafts of golden yellow sunshine poured through. All at once there was a riot of  insect life, buzzing all around the flowers.

The most colourful were the Common Jays (Graphium doson). I had seen them very often in my garden fliting up and down the Mast trees (Polyalthia longifolia). Common Jays are common in CME whereas there are very few records, if any, in neighbouring Pune. It is a electric blue butterfly which can easily be mistaken by beginners as the Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon).

Common Jay - most colourful of all!

Common Jay - most colourful of all!

There were many Common Gulls (Cepora nerissa) around. The bushes just swerved with them. But were they flighty? I hardly had time to focus before they were off. Add to that, their folding their wings.

Common Gull and a wasp!

Common Gull and a wasp!

Another visitor – the Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace).

Blue Tiger suspended but sipping!

Blue Tiger suspended but sipping!

Besides the butterflies, there were wasp, flies and bees too.

This looked like a fly through the viewfinder till blown up on a computer for identification. It turned out to be the head of a Common Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona), the green wings had seemingly merged in the background.

Not a fly. Common Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona).

Not a fly. Common Emigrant.

Besides this were Lycaenids or blues, Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis) and the Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon).

My cup runneth over….

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10 Comments on “Din ka raja aur uski praja”


  1. Oh yeah! The Din ka Raja and the Raat-ki-rani are emigrants. Originally of West Indies origin and brought to India by the British in the nineteenth century, these bushes are widely grown as screens and borders in India.

  2. flowergirl Says:

    Don’t know about the rajas and ranis, but the butterflies are delightful!

    There seems to be so much serendipity in my life now – I am working on a little presentation on pollinators (incl butterflies), for school awareness here in Madras, and wherever I turn I see butterflies – in the real and virtual worlds!

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Hi Flowergirl,

      Please feel free to use any of my images under Creative Commons or GFDL as you wish. You can also use the images in Wikimedia Commons and the script ex Wikipedia. They are also CC/GFDL; you will need to ascertain the exact license from what you choose to use.

      I’m forwarding a copy to Mr Nandan Kalbag, my father-in-law. I’m sure he will be happy to help out re botanical information.

      Why dont you put up your presentation on the net under a free license after its ready?

      Warm regards,

      Ashwin Baindur


  3. Lovely pics! The butterflies are delightful!

    I am a nature enthuciast myself… and enjoyed this post immensely…

  4. Meenakshi Says:

    This is good- I must scout around for the Din ka Raja. I currently use Pentas in all its colours for butterflies. Garden usually has Blue Mormon, occasioal visits from Southern Birdwing, Tamil Yeoman and a lot of Four Rings. There was a persistent Blue Crow around – seems his life is over. Beautiful pics posted, many thanks for this posting…

  5. manohar Says:

    How very interesting! Your experience must be most satisfying… Do you know any low-lying plants (not bushes) which grow in relative shade, where one can hope to find visitors like you have?
    Love to you and family, Manoharmam

  6. Moumita Says:

    Woww, a natural blog. Probably the last time I saw such images were in my village. Your blog reminded me of my native home.

    Wish to see more.

  7. rocksea Says:

    we used to have a raat-ki-rani at home.

    thanks for the common jay photograph! yes initially i got confused with the blue-bottle and was looking back n forth with the available pictures.


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