About Pune-Okayama Friendship GardenTucked away from the bustling city, lies a surreal place in Pune, Pune Okayama Friendship Garden that looks refreshingly green everywhere around as far as your eyes can see! Spread across 10 acres of land, This garden is inspired by a 300-year-old Japanese Korakuen garden that was developed by Ikeda Royal family in Okayama, Japan.
This is the biggest Japanese garden in the world outside Japan and has also been featured in many Bollywood movies. The garden has become a key attraction in Pune and is also referred to as Pu. La. Deshpande Garden, in fond memory of Pu. La. Deshpande, a renowned Marathi writer.
The Japanese believe that "to have something, there also has to be nothing". This Yin and Yang philosophy of having light and darkness, stillness and motion, soft and hard, warm and cold is depicted in the garden through the composition of natural elements like fire, harmony, line, spirit, world, and water. The Japanese consider gardens as spiritual places to meditate and seek one’s inner self and the Pune Okayama Garden stands perfectly in line with this ideology.
The verdant lawns and the soothing ambience revitalizes one’s senses and kindles their spiritual call. One can experience unexplained happiness and contentment just as they step into the garden!
The garden has beautiful natural landscapes and man-made add-ons that make it look so spectacular. The canal running through the garden is filled with colourful fish and the moon bridge over the canal is a great location to spot the bright orange coloured fish swimming around.
The attractions within the garden include a waterfall, a pond, lanterns, artificial hillocks, and a forest. The landscape of the garden is diverse and as one walks through the serene pathways listening to the rumbling sound of the stream and the chirping of the birds, one can witness the change in the garden landscape. There are Pergolas around this huge garden, where one can sit, relax, and enjoy the tranquillity engulfing this place.
The park is maintained extremely well and visitors are not allowed to picnic or stroll through the lawn. The tall, thick trees and the numerous varieties of flowering plants at Pune Okayama Garden are undeniably an exhilarating respite to the sore eyes!
Biodiversity of Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden:
Flora: The interesting part of the Pune Okayama garden is that it is adorned with trees and flowering plants that are actually present in its counterpart in Japan. The prominent trees at the park are Plums, Pines, Willows and Japanese Camellias, specifically Tsubaki and Sazanka. Evergreen trees are the prime choices here and hence, the Pune Okayama Garden is seen in shades of lush green all through the year; irrespective of the climate.
Aquatic life: Ponds, waterfalls, and canals are the homes to a number of brightly coloured fish and Koi Fish.
Fauna: Many other birds and ducks are also found in huge numbers along the water bodies. To explore more about the rich biodiversity of the garden, one can book for guided tours around the park.
Significance of Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden:Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden has a significant role in portraying the beautiful relationship between India(Pune) and Japan(Okayama). The Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden gives the people of India an insight into the Japanese ways of gardening, their culture and their tradition. This sprawling garden depicts the intricate ideology of an authentic Japanese Garden. The garden is designed based on the Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist ways of creation and hence, the Indian visitors to the garden can get a deep insight into the spiritual values of Japan.
There are several interesting species of plants in the gardens like Japanese Camellias, specifically Tsubaki and Sazanka. This garden is a perfect replica of a traditional Japanese garden with all the basic elements like stone lanterns, statues, water basins, koi fish in water bodies and the typical Japanese moon bridge.
The garden brims with Yin and Yang philosophy and the verdant lawns here give a strong spiritual aura to the place. There is a striking balance(Sumi) between ‘proportions’ and ‘space’ that is seamlessly included in the garden’s architecture as per the Japanese traditions. Visitors can feel the vibes of meditating in a peaceful Japanese environment; while being right in Pune.
Architecture and Layout of Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden:
The Pune Okayama Friendship Garden sprawls over 10 acres of land through diverse landscapes. It is completely based on traditional Japanese gardening principles and concepts. The Pune Okayama Friendship Garden follows the "Sumi" design principle which emphasizes on the balance between the proportions and spaces.
The Water element is an integral part of any Japanese garden which is also taken care of in the Pune Okayama Friendship Garden.
There is a natural canal running through the garden where colourful Koi Fish are bred. There is also a bridge at the centre of the garden, over which, one can enjoy a casual stroll witnessing the amazing beauty of the garden.
The hills and the pond within the garden represent the 'shin' (formal) architecture styles and the peasant huts and mountain retreats found within the garden represent the 'so' (informal) architecture styles.
The garden also has artificially built mountains called 'Kasan' that are made of ceramic, wood or irregularly shaped stones.
The layout of the garden includes long walking paths to enjoy viewing the changing landscapes. There are also pagoda styled resting places all through the garden where you can sit and bask in the hypnotical beauty of the place.
How to Reach Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden
Several state government buses ply between Pune airport and Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden in regular intervals and the usual fare is about INR 19 - INR 50.You can also book a taxi at the airport to Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden and its fare usually ranges between INR 300 - INR 450.
Best Time to Visit Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden
The best time to visit the Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden is during the cooler months from October to March. The park is open only in the mornings and early evenings during which you can enjoy the natural bounty and the pleasant weather.
Other Essential Information About Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden
Location: Sinhgad Rd, Pune Okayama Friendship Garden, Dattawadi, Pune, Maharashtra
Timings: 6.30 AM - 10.30 AM and 4.00 PM - 8.00 PM Mon-Sun
Price: INR 5.00 for adults and children above 3 years. Children below 3 years have entry fees.
Rules and Regulations of Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden:
Tourists to Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden are expected to adhere to the following rules and regulations of the garden to maintain its sheen for years to come.
-Visitors are strictly prohibited from walking on the lawns.
-No outside food is allowed inside the garden. However, there are many stalls in the garden where you can buy and eat food.
-Keep the garden neat and tidy. Do not litter the water bottles and covers of snacks items that you enjoy munching on.
-Maintain the cleanliness of the washrooms.
-Cameras are allowed inside the garden. Ensure to take prior permission to click pictures.
Tips for Visiting Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden:
-The park is open only from 6.30 AM - 10.30 AM and then again from 4.00 PM - 8.00 PM. Between 10.30 AM and 4.00 PM, the park remains shut. Hence, plan your trip to the garden accordingly.
-If you are travelling with kids, do not miss taking them to the children's play area within the park.
-Book guided tours (online or at the ticket counter) to know more about the history of the park and its rich biodiversity.
-Paid parking is available outside the garden.
-If you are travelling during the summer months, carry sun protectors like hats, umbrellas, and sunscreen lotion to protect your skin from the scorching sun.