A ‘sarv dharma vatika’ consisting of trees associated with a mix of religions — Hinduism, Islam and Christianity among others — and a Jurassic garden with diverse range of living plant families of the Jurassic period are part of a biodiversity park that was opened for public in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani by the forest department.
Spread over 18 acres of land, the biodiversity park also boasts of 40 unique sections having 479 rare plant species, ‘living fossils’ and a soil museum displaying the earth from tropical to subtropical, temperature and alpine zones.
“Various environmental concepts and conservation issues including global warming, forest rivers, species extinction, internal communication of plants and recent developments like spread of virus from animals to human beings are explained at the interpretation centre inside the park,” said Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator, forest research wing.
Giving details of the project executed by him, Chaturvedi said this biodiversity park also has spiritual significance as it has ‘sarv dharma vatika’ showcasing the trees species associated with Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhishm and Jainism and quotes from holy books of these religions.
The park also has ‘nav graha vatika’, ‘nakshatra vatika’, ‘Buddha vatika’ (depicting 13 tree species having important role at various stages in the life of Buddha) and Jurassic park having a range of living plant families — Cycads, Ginkgo biloba, Conifers, Ferns, Mosses, Algae, which existed in the Jurassic period – are being conserved in this section, the official said.
It also has ‘Manav Vatika’ depicting various live plant medicinal species for different human organs and ‘medicinal plant extracts’ section showing extracts and relevant parts used in the treatment of various diseases of famous 36 medicinal plant species of Uttarakhand including root of tryaman, Jatamasi, Kuth and bark of Thuner and Arjun, among others.
“Plant species like snake plant, aloe vera, spider plant, ivy etc. used in controlling indoor air pollution are also at display in the park,” Chaturvedi said.
He said a miniature rock garden, vertical garden, creative models from waste material and wall painting by school children related to environment, forest, birds and wild life are also part of this unique project.
“A state-of-the-art weather station giving reading of all nine weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity and wind speed has also been installed inside the park,” Chaturvedi said.
He said ‘Arboretum’ housing 101 species of trees and, 21 shrubs including Kapoor, Tejpatta, Shikhakai, Amla, Baheda, Reetha, Chironji and Neem and the ‘Cycad area’ showing six species of living fossils is also available for people to see them.
Haldwani is situated at an idyllic spot between the hilly terrain of the Kumaon region and the Indo-Gangetic plains. It was a popular trading point of Kumaon at a time. The city, known as the Gateway of Kumaon, has the biggest food, vegetable, and grain market in the region. The place has been named after ‘Haldu’ or Haldina Cordifolia, a tree which was once found in abundance here.
— with agency inputs