Monday, July 6, 2015

the Japanese garden in Pune- Pu la Deshpande park

In Pune one Sunday morning bright,
I found myself feeling quite all right,
In The Pu-la park of Yin and yang,
As the ‘Koyal’ on a tree sang.

Having lived in Pune for the better part of almost 2 decades, we found ourselves being amazed by the gorgeously manicured gardens of the Pune Okayama friendship Garden just a few days back. A sprawling garden over 10 acres, is fashioned after the 300 year old Okayama garden in Japan, and now also goes by the affectionate name of Pu-La Deshpande park, named after Pune’ s favourite Marathi writer. 

Japanese gardens are designed to bring forth the spiritual and the philosophical ideas, through depiction of nature in all it’s contrasts and complexities.  The Japanese have always had a spiritual connection with their land and the spirits that are one with nature, which explains why they prefer to incorporate natural materials in their gardens. Traditional Japanese gardens can be categorized into three types: tsukiyama (hill gardens), karesansui (dry gardens) and chaniwa gardens (tea gardens). 

The Pu la Japanese park on sinhagad road is a beautiful stroll park, which unfolds like a painted scroll as you walk along the path. A concept known as ‘concealment’ or  miegakure, literally 'hide and reveal.')in Japanese is used. Features are hidden behind hills, trees groves or bamboo, walls or structures, to be discovered when the visitor follows the winding path.
The garden also follows the Japanese architecture of asymmetry.nothing lies in straight lines, and yet is perfectly planned and positioned to guide the line of sight over the hills, around the streams, and by little rest houses interspersed between the trees.

Japanese gardens always have water, either a pond or stream, or, in the dry rock garden, represented by white sand. In Buddhist symbolism, water and stone are the yin and yang, two opposites that complement and complete each other.

The Pune Okayama park had a miniature water cascade between grassy and rock filled ponds, smooth rock filled streams of water meandered their way through the park, leading to a large pond in the middle of the park. The irregular structure of the pond, the rocks placements, and even the bridges over the streams were so picturesque and yet steeped in Japanese symbolism.suggesting spontaineity, and yet careful placement.

Tea houses or rest places are plentiful, and so are park benches allowing for walkers and visitors to rest awhile or even meditate..

Bridges first appeared in the Japanese garden during the Heian period. The bridge symbolized the path to paradise and immortality.

Nothing in a Japanese garden is natural or left to chance; each plant is chosen according to aesthetic principles, either to hide undesirable sights, to serve as a backdrop to certain garden features, or to create a picturesque scene, like a landscape painting or postcard. What I loved about the pu la park were the dense foliage which trimmed the entire boundary of the garden, blocking out any sights of buidings or slums, the city life faded behind a green curtain of serenity.

The use of fish, particularly nishi goi (colored carp), or goldfish as a decorative element in gardens was borrowed from the Chinese garden. Goldfish were developed in China more than a thousand years ago by selectively breeding Prussian carp for color mutations.

Pu la deshpande park or the Pune Okayama friendship park is a beautiful testimony to how we can learn and incorporate from different cultures. We went at 7 in the morning ( a time when they don’t even charge the entry fee) and found the place filled with families, elderly couples, young enthusiastic walkers, and photography enthusiasts. A short 10 minute walk is all it takes to walk the whole path, but the more you see, the more you experience the depth of the philosophies behind the park.
Timings: 6 to 10 30 am, and 4 to 8 pm. Entry fee: rupees 5.
Parking available in the park premises. 

another place which is a symbol of Pune's whole hearted acceptance of different cultures are the udipi joints on FC Road. the iconic eateries such as Vaishali and Savera which remain packed even as we walked in at 8 30 post our morning walk in the Pu la deshpande garden. in the heartland of old world puneris when so many are trying to shout the "aamchi pune, aamchi bhasha, aamche jevan..." my pune, my land, my language, my food... the regulars are seen enjoying south Indian filter Kaafi, idlis drowned in sambar, rawa masala dosas. 


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