Mysore’s Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden is the largest of its kind in India. With an exquisite collection of over 450 lovingly tended bonsai trees collected from all over the world including countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, West Indies, etc, a visit to the garden truly is a transcendental experience. Set in an oriental garden, the trees are a juxtaposition of the grand opposites of old and small.
Located in the tranquil, ethereal surrounding of the Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashrama in Mysore, India, the gardens have been tended and maintained by volunteers willing to donate their time and effort for the upkeep of the natural beauty.
The story of the bonsai
The word bonsai originated from “bon” which means a low tray or low pot and “sai” which means plants or saplings. A Japanese art form that miniaturizes trees by growing them in containers, the practice of bonsai has caught on in areas across the world. Chinese and Vietnamese traditions also have practices similar to bonsai. Dating back to over a thousand years, the practice is well in grained and passed on from generation to generation.
There are natural bonsai plants that are wild and not cultivated. These specimens are rarely ever found and are expensive as they have to be collected and carefully transplanted so as to survive. Bonsai trees are mentioned in early Hindu scriptures as well. There is a mention of a miniature forest in the pages of the Ramayana. The Kishkindha vana or forest was developed by the maternal uncle of King Sugriva according to the scripture. Kishkindha, the mythical namesake of the garden is the name of a mountain and the word also denotes a narrow space or a compact area.
The story of the garden
Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamy possesses an endless love for greenery and Mother Nature. The greenery in the garden has been variously attributed to the continuing love that pervades the ashram. A trained and dedicated volunteer base is largely responsible for tending and maintaining the garden for nearly three decades now. The ashram opened its doors in 1966 to horticulture with a planting of robust coconut trees around the western boundary of the location.
In his own words, His Holiness Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji spoke about the larger connotations of the word bonsai. He said, “Bonsai is a rare human Endeavor that has held me in awe and introspecting (sic) over years. In the miniature plant lives a grand life. It reflects the cosmic creation, the play of celestial paradoxesnear (sic), yet far, more, yet less, known, yet unknown, Small yet Big.”
Apart from the bonsai garden, the ashram compound has so much more to offer for the willing visitor. An entrance fee grants access to different arenas within the compound. The fees however, seem to be a small price to pay for witnessing the boundless beauty contained within the walls of the ashram.
How to Reach Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden, Mysore
The nearest international airport to reach the garden will be the Bangalore international airport. Located approximately 143 kilometers away from Mysore, the drive between Bangalore and Mysore can be quite scenic and enjoyable.
The closest railway station is the Mysore railway station. With trains shuttling between major stops across the Southern India, Mysore is well connected to numerous other major cities and towns. Autos and taxis are readily available from the train station.
Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden
Avadhoota Datta Peetham,
Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashrama,
Datta Nagar, Mysore – 570025