Biodiversity, a term used to describe the vast variety of life we see around us. Arogyashram started with the cultivation of linaloe plants for extraction of its oil, over the past six decades several plants were introduced.
However, it was the focused efforts of Sri B.V. Venkatesha Murthy in the last fifteen years that introduced many medicinal plant species used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. This not only satisfied his academic pursuits and interest of botany, but also served as a carbon sink for the town of Nanjangud. Planted over approximately 11 acres, unintendedly, as these species of plants developed and started flowering, they attracted a variety of birds, butterflies, and bees.
As each season passed a good amount of leaf fall enriched the soil and increased the humus layer by layer. The soil and vegetation also became a natural haven for worms and a variety of insects. The natural terrain of the land provided for some wet pockets that created a comfortable environment for frogs to breed, we have heard and seen a few varieties including the Mysore frog. Rodents too quickly started finding their homes in the garden as in soil that was easy to burrow and can keep them safe from their predators the reptiles.
At present we have about 350 species of plants with medicinal value growing in Arogyashram, a wide variety of insects (about 299) have been photographed and we are in the process of identifying and categorizing them into, Bees, Wasps, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Spiders amongst others. Over the past 10 years we have seen an increase in the avian visitors too, avid bird watchers who have visited our premises have noted 60 different species so far.
David Attenborough, the noted naturalist and fantastic storyteller responsible for most visual content of the biodiversity on earth says. “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.”
We are witness to the difference that a small initiative can make to conserving or cultivating biodiversity, just by adding plant species of different habits to the existing Mexican linaloe trees, we created a spectacular environment that displays a magical balance between plant, predator, and prey. It is truly a humbling experience, to understand how tiny insects build a home, protect themselves with all the engineering and common sense that we thought only we humans understand. Genetic memory may be an easy explanation to it, but somewhere in the past, it must have been developed by punish and reward experience mechanisms.
Another popular Indian Naturalist Smt. Vandana Shiva has said “Cultivating and conserving diversity is no luxury in our times: it is a survival imperative.”
Finally, as said by Kofi Annan Former Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“The preservation of biodiversity is not just a job for governments. International and non-governmental organisations, the private sector and each and every individual have a role to play in changing entrenched outlooks and ending destructive patterns of behaviour.”
The Sadvaidyasala Private Limited and Sri Dhanvantari Arogyashram Trust together certainly have started to do our bit to conserve biodiversity and our space hopefully can help not only for providing a healthy environment to people to recover but also serve as a good education tool or model to students of Biodiversity, Ayurveda, and just anyone interested in Nature.
We extend a warm welcome to everyone reading this to visit this small yet unique effort in trying to conserve nature amidst a growing township and providing priceless oxygen to the residents of Nanjangud.
Flora of Arogyashrama
About 340 plant species have been listed on the campus. The plants range from annual, biennials, perennials covering habits of herbs, shrubs, stragglers, Climbers and trees. Click below to browse the 348 species.
Fauna of Arogyashrama
299 identified varieties of insects that include many types of butterflies and arachnids, bees and wasps, crickets, mantis and grasshoppers, ants and termites amongst others and 61 types of birds have been seen. The land now serves as a conservatory for species preservation and we wish for this to only grow.
Immerse in the wonder!
Chairman, B. V. Venkatesha Murthy authored ‘Plants in Arogyashram and their Healing Powders’ in 2012, the book, detailing 214 medicinal plant species growing in the premises. He then continued to add more species of plants and documented them too. The greenery in Arogyashram tempted bird watchers and one amongst them Kiran Srinivas Bagade, documented the avian visitors and Prabha with her keen eye for miniature creatures has photographed many a species of insects.
‘Biodiversity in Microhabitats’ lists and categorises the Fauna & Flora of the 10+ aces of Arogyashram. With this book we hope to inspire people in appreciating the creations of nature, also help educate children and students interested in medicinal plants. We urge all interested to visit our small yet biodiverse garden.