Conceptual Gardens of Kuppam
Balavana: “Forest of the Prodigies”
Conceived and initiated by Dr. A.N Yellappa Reddy, the Balavana (a term coined to describe the spiritual significance of flowers in the garden) was introduced to the hills of the Kuppam campus in 2009. The objective of the Balavana is to create a pure and refreshing natural environment so as to serve as a physical manifestation of the divine nature of the souls of Dhruva, Prahlada and Nachiketa (three great children in Indian mythology).
The natural processes of birth, life and death, as embodied by the accomplishments of these three prodigies, are reflected in the plant life nurtured in the Balavana, hence the moniker “Forest of the Prodigies”. Thus, through the diverse plant life manifested in the garden, Agastya aims to provide visitors with a glimpse of Earth in her most resplendent form.
Garden of Gayathri
The Garden of Gayathri, dedicated to the Sun God, is landscaped on a sloped area close to the Balavana. Distinct and filled to the brim are Plumerias, more commonly known as Temple Trees. Planted in seven distinctive rows, each row consists of one colour in the rainbow spectrum, except for the “green row” that has been replaced by the green-flowered Madanmast – chosen because of its fragrant greenish flowers that fade to yellow with age.
An early morning visit to the Garden of Gayathri is a soothing and relaxing activity that any individual visiting the campus should not miss. Watching the first rays of sunlight touch the Plumerias leaves one with a sense of tranquillity that soothes the soul and is even said to cure certain diseases.
The planting of Temple Trees in the VIBGYOR pattern also serves as an interesting Physics lesson provided by Mother Nature herself. When the sun shines down on the trees, they reflect the seven rainbow colours due to the difference in velocity and wavelengths of different light rays. Visitors leave the garden not only refreshed and rejuvenated but also learning a theory or two from the plants.
Imagine a gigantic man-made family of human figures resting on the slopes of a hillock. From a distance, these figures look like mere white bricks encircling plain grass plots. Up-close, however, one will be amazed to discover that these giants are actually a potpourri of medicinal Ayurveda plants and herbs, with each plant planted on the figure corresponding to the actual part of the human body that the plant heals (read more here).
This awe-inspiring mural attracts daily busloads of children who visit to learn about the medicinal plants in the maturing garden and enjoy its serenity. At Agastya’s Kuppam campus, visitors are kept busy because there is simply so much to explore and discover!
Situated near the entrance of the Kuppam campus is the statue of Sage Agastya and an expansive garden covering up to 50-metre from the centre of the statue. The garden, segmented into 18 different sections (which are named after the 18 Siddhars, including Agastya), contains a variety of Siddha medicinal plants, each with specific healing properties. This is the Siddhavana and as its name suggests, is solely dedicated to the traditional medical system of Siddha.
Siddha medicine is said to revitalize and rejuvenate dysfunctional organs that cause diseases and it does so by balancing the ratio of vata, pitta, and kapha in the body. Should this balance be disturbed, Siddha medicine, in the form of flowers, leaves, fruits, and roots, is used to cure and restore this equilibrium.
So, the next time you visit Kuppam, be sure to visit the Siddhavana. These plants are not just any ordinary shrubs, herbs or trees, they are medicinal plants firmly rooted in 2,500 years of Indian traditional herbology!