Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Visit to the Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden - Pune

I was motivated enough by my enterprising niece Pooja who is very unlike most of her generation. She wants to go around and see the sights in Pune where she is studying and not inhabit the coffee shops as most seem to do. She is also most content to keep a healthy distance between her and her mobile phone which she ignores to the point of being rude (if her phone was the sensitive kind). She got a head start, this student of Architecture, and had seen a tribal museum the day before. Since I did not see any of these sights that she had on her list I decided to tag along and we managed to see on day one the Japanese garden named after the famous Marathi writer and scholar P. L. Deshpande.
Pooja, the chief architect of the visit to the Japanese Garden 

Located on the Sinhagad road the park also known as Okayama Friendship Park (it is based on the Korakuen Garden in the city of Okayama) , and or Japanese Garden,  is pretty small, spread over 10 acres they say, and very well maintained. You can possibly go around at a brisk pace in fifteen minutes if you choose to stride along as most morning walkers. It has well manicured lawns, little streams of water flowing by in such shallow pools filled with round pebbles, little bamboo bridges, bamboo seats, a tiny and elegant waterfall, a small lake with two ducks and red colored fish, a high point which gives a view of the park all around. It has tall trees all along the periphery and bushes and trees that were pruned into fine shapes. Save the slums creeping up the mountain side behind the park, it is a fine sight and a pleasing, elegant park. There were joggers, walkers and sight seers like us who were getting in everyone's way. But again the path was sensibly designed to be broad enough.
Anjali and the waterfall

Two things struck me as being really creative or rather 'sensitive' is probably the right word. Reminds me of an old saying by someone - "We create nothing. We merely plagiarise nature." The undulating landscape of the land was left as it is. The highs and lows, the rolls and the dunes were used to create and elevate the effect. In contrast the space next to the park was being flattened by excavators and other heavy machinery and one can see and feel the violence in that creation. This park merely added a few things, some water, some plants and let mother earth lie peacefully. One can feel that peace here as one walks around.
Another perspective

The second thing that strikes you is how only natural material has been used. Bamboo mostly. For the bridges, the walkways, the fencing for the lawns (bamboo sticks merely bent over so effectively into semi circular fencing that they seem more effective than any sign that threatens people with dire consequences for stepping on the lawns), everything is from nature. No plastic, no concrete.
True spirit of friendship - Three generations in peace and happiness 

You can watch the ducks, the fishes, sit and watch the water flow in the streams, the waterfalls. There is a lushness, a compactness, a discipline that permeates the garden and that seeps into your soul. A very alien feeling for most Indians. Do visit if you get an opportunity!       


Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Anonymous said...

Pu la deshpande garden… It was built in inspiration of 300-year-old Okayama's KĊraku-en Garden thus known as Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden.…but have more security staff than the plants. The Most hilarious board outside the garden “Do not click pictures without permission” .Had horrifying experience when I visited this garden last week. Seen all the people clicking pictures by mobile phone but If you click a picture with your digital camera/DSLR..the security people start whistling and shouting as if you are planting a bomb in the garden. Are they aware of the fact that nowadays camera mobiles are more powerful than the digital ones? What is the problem behind clicking photos of this beautiful garden?????In the era of satellite where you can sit in any remote village and check satellite pictures of White House. These people are preventing amateur photographers to click pictures of lovely garden….What the hell. In fact if we publish pictures on the social websites it would definitely attract more visitors.. Another concern is “The Lawn” in the garden..Did Japanese company who helped to form the garden gave stringent instructions to the people “”DO NOT Allow Anyone to touch the just step into lawn and you see 10-20 security guys running towards you and shouting at you…Is it made of GOLD,SILVER or Platinum?????….There is no play area for the kids..You just come ..see the garden…and go home.,Kids get so bored...You will be certainly become deaf if you stay in this garden for more than 1 hour as you just listen whistle.. whistle and whistle…Half of the time is spent to think whether this security guy is shouting at you or other people…I don’t think this is a garden where people spend their relax time, kids play round and photographers click pictures of lovely view..Change the name please.. Disheartened to see the treatment given in the garden named after the man who was loved by the entire Maharashtrian community

Harimohan said...

Anon. I agree with you on almost all counts. Some of these things make no sense at all.

Unknown said...

Nice post with beautiful pictures of the visit to Pu La Garden. Its a very soothing place which contains natural flow of water from canal which is been spread across the garden. Do visit Pu La Deshpande garden to experience a simple mindfulness that brings clarity and peace of mind.