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Eye-Popping Flowers, Jasmine Scent, and Rushing Waterfall Featured In Phipps' Tropical India Exhibit

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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens' new "Tropical India" exhibit opens Saturday, February 4, with a series of kickoff events including a henna station, Indian food, and dance performers.

It includes flowers such as citrus cooler and grapette orchids and richly scented robust jasmine. Lush greens surround a streambed. Recordings of birds from an Asian jungle pervade the exhibit.

To develop "Tropical India," assistant curator of horticulture Ben Dunigan and Interpretive Specialist Jordyn Melino journeyed to southern India, traveling by boat, train, and even elephant to spice markets and plantations, national parks, botanical gardens, palaces, and tea factories.

They also invited input with people from the local Indian community to acquire colorful fabrics that they included in the exhibit.

"What made this exhibit more interesting is the amount of community involvement in the design process," Melino said. "Pittsburgh has a very large Indian community… We created a task force and invited key members from the Indian community, gathered a lot of their valuable input and integrated it into the exhibit."