Wednesday, 04 Jul, 1.21 am

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World's first 'reflection art garden' in Mysuru

When sisters and sand artists M N Gowri and M N Neelambika saw a waterlogged spot on the KRS Road in Belagola, an idea struck them. Hard work and dedication transformed a deserted land in the village into a stunning landscape with water bodies, gardens, along with art and light show.

Jal Bagh, the world's first 'reflection art garden' was opened recently in Belagola near Mysuru. The three-acre land has numerous artworks like miniature display models of Mysuru Palace, Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam, animal structures, etc, having their reflection on water when lit up. The sisters' earlier venture is 'Mysuru Sand Museum'.

The alluring structures at the garden are crafted on various forms like Light-art, Totem-art, Mashrabiya-art, Mesh-art, Glass-art, Rope-art, Glow-art, Net-art, Paper-art, Hay-art, Clay-art, Radium-art and Vertical Garden Structure. The artworks are blended with Lighting-art, an interaction of light with different architectural spaces. Coloured vertical pots have been arranged with mapping to form the Mysuru Palace, KRS Dam, Blue Morpho Butterfly, etc.

One can recall the significance of monumental carving, at the sight of Totem poles in Jal Bagh, a type of Northeast Coast art, carved with figures symbolising the commemoration of ancestors, cultural beliefs that recount legends, lineages, or notable events. Another attraction is the structure that involves Mashrabiya-art, a hybrid, decorative and functional architectural element that merges in the form and function of an Islamic window screen with a conventional jalhousie.

A model of a snake is made of metal and wire mesh sculpting, a unique metal art technique to make contemporary art.

The turtle made of Rope art helps in explaining geometrical properties of helical structures and depicts how the art accounts for the early art of rope-making. Topiary-art, a horticultural practice of training perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees and shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, was adopted for the model of Ludo dice. The structure of fish, Net-art, using recycled fishing nets, raises awareness of the ill-effects of abandoned fishing nets on marine life. Kettle is Paper-art, involving recycled paper.

Aquatic plants like water lettuce (pistia) and water lily, climbing plants, vivid rose varieties, and other flowering plants add beauty to the environment. The garden includes water games like boating and zoro ball, bird and butterfly watching, desi games for kids like ludo, snake and ladder, kids play area, plant nursery, fish feeding, etc. The rare vintage moped may attract nostalgic people. Speaking to DH, Gowri said, a garden with the reflection of art-forms in water is the first of its kind in the world. "The natural environment in Jal Bagh attracts birds, butterflies, frogs, crabs, turtles, etc. Rare varieties of dragonflies are sighted here. A good number of birds from Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary are visitors to Jal Bagh. The pictorial representation of diverse animals and plant species, folk stories, etc will educate children," she added.

"Art can be used to convey ideas. Jal Bagh tries to create awareness and consciousness on preserving nature. We plan to include more artworks and a wide variety of domestic animals like horses and lovebirds, in addition to the present collection of ducks and fish," said Neelambika.

Regarding the employees in Jal Bagh, she said, all our 15 employees are women and their choice is a mark of women empowerment.

The garden is open from 9 am to 9 pm with a fee of Rs 20 for children and Rs 40 for adults.

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