On World Environment Day (June 5), as some organised cycle to work campaigns, others planted a few saplings. The city organisation, Green Umbrella, went a step further to do something special for the environment. With the support of the Thane Municipal Corporation, it took the first step in setting up a Nakshatra Van (garden) at Kalwa Visarjan Ghat Garden, Kalwa (W).
So, what makes this garden different? All the saplings planted here are in accordance with the 27 Nakshatras in the Hindu calendar (according to Indian astrology, each Nakshatra is associated with a particular tree) and the 12 Zodiac signs. This is probably the first time that such a concept is being promoted in Mumbai. A similar Nakshatra Van already exists in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Banyan, Pimpal, Vad and Jambul are some of the varieties under the 27 Nakshatras. Each one of them has myriad medicinal, aesthetic and economic value. “The trees here are all indigenous varieties. They suit the local environment and provide food and shelter to local fauna,” says Vikram Yende, founder of Green Umbrella, adding that they also absorb toxic gases to an extent and have a higher resistance to pollution.
Yende advocates the planting of indigenous plant varieties over foreign trees like the Gulmohar and other flowering species that cannot acclimatise to our environment. He says this is the main reason why so many trees fall during the monsoon. Yende says, “This plot belongs to the Thane Municipal and they offered it to us to help promote these indigenous varieties.”
The garden currently is home to saplings. However, in a few years, residents in the area should be able to spend some quality time under trees that represent their Zodiac signs. Now isn’t that an interesting way of going green?