Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden

During the New Year holidays, hubby and I had been to India about which I have posted several posts earlier (here and here in March, here and here in May, and here and here in June). On 4th January, we visited Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden in Pune. I have delayed writing about our trip to this garden for almost six months now. This is mostly because I was a bit busy and a lot lazy.

Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden is located on Sinhagad Road in Dattavadi, Pune. The garden is known by various names like Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden/Park, Okayama Friendship Garden/Park, and Okayama Garden/Park. Pu La Deshpande was a famous writer of Marathi literature and history. After his death in 2000, Pune Municipal Corporation decided to name a garden after him. During those days, a Japanese delegation under the Association of Friends of Japan visited Pune to promote business and cultural relations between Japan and India. The Japanese delegation proposed that a garden similar to the exquisite Korakuen Garden in Okayama be built in Pune too. Consequently, the Japanese Garden was built and was named after Pu La Deshpande. The garden is a symbol of friendship between India and Japan and was opened to public in February 2006.

The Japanese Garden in Pune is spread over an area of 40470 square meters. It is based on the 300-years-old Korakuen Garden of Okayama City in Japan. The garden in Pune is magnificent and has manicured lawns, arranged rock patterns, streams of water flowing by, small bamboo bridges, bamboo seats with shades, ponds having many beautiful colored fishes, and a small waterfall. Various trees are present all along periphery of the garden. Evergreen plants that are easy to maintain and easy to prune into shapes are used in the garden. In addition pine trees, which express longevity and happiness, are also present in abundance. Bamboo is extensively used for bridges, walkways, and for fencing the lawns. Water is the chief design element of the garden. The garden also has several decorative stone lanterns of various shapes. The landscape makes the design of the garden so magnificent. This garden in Pune represents the culture and intricate ideologies of an authentic Japanese garden.

Hubby and I visited the Japanese Garden in Pune at about 4 pm on 4th January. Near the entrance area of the garden, we saw a ticket counter where we purchased two tickets as admission fee to enter the garden. I paid just 10 Rupees, while hubby being a foreigner, had to pay 50 Rupees as admission fee.
Hubby standing near the entrance gate of Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden premises

Hubby reading the details about the garden

Hubby standing near a stone monument located at the entrance of the garden

We followed the excursion route and experienced the garden landscape as a dynamic event with sequential views. We walked along the pathway and enjoyed the elegant naturalism and charm of the garden. During the initial stages of our stroll, we saw streams of water flowing by, and many bushes and shrubs pruned into fine oval shapes. The garden is meticulously planned.
I am walking along the pathway inside the garden

A stream of water and pruned bushes

Hubby standing in the garden

Flowing water

We walked along the pathway for a few minutes, and saw a big pond in the center of the garden. There is a small arched wooden pedestrian bridge with bamboo railing over this pond. Standing on the bridge, we enjoyed excellent views of the garden. We saw many colorful Koi fishes in the pond. We loved the coolness, tranquility, and peaceful atmosphere of the garden.
Pond located in the center of the garden

The pond, the pathway, and the wooden bridge

Hubby viewing of the beautifully landscaped garden located to his right side while standing on the wooden bridge over the pond

Yet another view of the garden as seen from the wooden bridge over the pond

A stone lantern located on a mini island in the pond

I am standing on the wooden bridge with bamboo railing

Several Koi fishes in the pond

The fishes are so colorful

The pond and the beautifully landscaped garden as viewed to our left side while standing on the wooden bridge over the pond

We continued walking along the pathway, and next saw a wooden pavilion with wooden seats. A few people were sitting and just relaxing and enjoying the views. Beyond the pavilion, we saw a mini cascading waterfall. We loved the melody created by the water falling from different heights. It revitalized our senses and rejuvenated our spirits.
The pathway and the wooden pavilion

I am standing next to the mini cascading waterfall

Hubby standing next to the waterfall

Next, we walked towards a small hill inside the garden. This hill is just a raised area located in the back portion of the garden. Standing on the hill, we got a wonderful bird’s eye view of the entire garden which looked so beautiful. The well-maintained lush green lawns, the pond, the waterfall, oval shrubs and trees, hills, and carved rocks looked so peaceful and recreated the spirit of Zen. We took several photos of the garden from the top of the hill.
I am walking towards the small hill seen in the background of the photo

Fantastic view of the garden right in front of us as seen from the top of the hill

View of the garden to our right side

View of the garden to our left side

The garden and I

Hubby and the garden

We and the garden

Afterwards we continued walking along the pathway and reached another elegantly landscaped area of the garden. Here we got a wonderful view of a stream of water flowing by, carved stones, a stone lantern, oval shrubs and plants, and a small arched wooden bridge with bamboo railing. The simultaneous use of wood, stone, and water made the place feel so cool and serene. In addition, the trees, shrubs, grass, ferns, and bamboos made the area so green and peaceful.
Elegantly landscaped area of the garden

Wonderful view of the stream, stones, a stone lantern, and pruned shrubs and plants

Hubby enjoying the exotic view of the garden

At this point, we finished the tour of the garden, which was really nice. Although the Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden is not a vivid imitation of Korakuen Garden due to the contrast in climatic conditions of the two countries, it does represent the culture and ideologies of an authentic Japanese garden. However, there are two points which hubby found rather strange. First point was that since it is a Japanese Garden, he naively assumed that the people will stay on the pathways and just appreciate the beauty and serenity of the garden as done in any typical garden in Japan. But he was shocked to see that many people went off the marked pathways and were touching the shrubs and stone carvings, walking on the green lawns, entering the waterfall and streams, or just screaming and shouting around. I guess the differences in the cultures of the two countries are bound to give rise to such issues. Another point that hubby (even I) found extremely strange was that while taking photos with mobile phone cameras was ok, normal cameras were not allowed inside the garden. So all the photos in this post are clicked using our mobile phone camera!

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