SHIVAMOGGA: At a time when there is a hue and cry over deforestation in Malnad region, a small-time businessman has managed to turn his one-acre into a forest with more than 35 varieties of trees. Interestingly, it is open to visitors. Nagesh, a caterer, bought the land in Abbalagere village, about 6km from Shivamogga on the way to Shikaripur and planned to develop the land into a forest which he has named ‘Eshwara Vana’. Talking to TNSE, he said, “My idea was to develop a forest and I planted about 350 saplings of trees found in our Malnad forest region.”
He sets aside a portion of his profits for nurturing the Eshwara Vana that was established on World Environment Day, June 5, 2016. “As rains have receded over the last few decades, Malnad region is turning into ‘bayalu seeme’ (plains). The depletion of forest has turned the region into a barren land. Hence, it is our responsibility to improve the green cover. This is a tiny effort towards development of forests,” said Nagesh.
Nagesh visits Eshwara Vana thrice a week to water the plants. The forest has a small house, toilets and water facility. While solar power is used for fencing, electricity is used for drip irrigation of the plants.
Eshwara Vana open to all Nagesh invites everyone to visit the forest and spend time there. Visitors can have food and also offer puja to the Shiva Linga installed there. “Visitors can contact the guard and spend time there.
If they wish to water the plants or offer puja, they can. My only request is ensure cleanliness and not to throw plastic or waste,” said Nagesh. A board has been put up by the side of the road. Travellers going towards Shikaripur can take a short break at the Eshwara Vana. “Nagesh has become a model to others. He is the first person to join us when we go for watering the plants in the city,” said his friend Janardhan Pai. Those interested can contact Nagesh on 98442-82504.