Sentinel of Green Heritage

Jul 01, 2014 | Vol 6, Issue 3

The efforts of V. Mohammed Koya's true love for nature are to be appreciated and emulated. Mohammed Koya is the owner and planter of the VMK Botanical Garden in Kozhikode (Kerala, India) which features more than 300 rare varieties of trees.

Bygone are the days when the man looked to mother earth as a source of inspiration, enjoying the greenery and the wilderness,  enthralling oneself in the rains and the breeze, basking in the glory of the morning sun and feeling at home amidst nature. Today everything on earth is viewed with the business mindset. It is in this background that the efforts of V. Mohammed Koya's true love for nature are to be appreciated and emulated.  Mohammed Koya is the owner and planter of the VMK Botanical Garden in Kozhikode (Kozhikode, India) which features more than 300 rare varieties of trees.

Mohammed Koya's love for nature initiated him into planting trees in the 30 cent land that he inherited from his ancestors. The tree cover and the variety grew over the years and within a period of 12 years he extended tree plantations to an area of around 3 acres. Developed with great care, the special attraction for this garden is the thematic aspect maintained in the garden. The garden features many trees and plants which are mentioned in our mythology and classic literature. At present VMK Botanical Garden is endorsed with more than 300 varieties of trees including some rare and endangered species from Western Ghats.

The theme garden

Here the trees are showcased as the memoir of our past and heritage. Each tree has a story line. The garden has trees featured in the classics of Indian and world literature. Signages are erected to explain the significance of each tree. Trees mentioned in the works of Victor Hugo, Rabindranath Tagore, Malayalam poets like   Kumaran Asan and Ayyappa Paniker are visual treats. The Subabul tree mentioned in Khalil Gibran's work, Chestnut tree in Gabriel Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude,   Mangosteen, mentioned by Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer and Neermathalam by late poet Kamala Das are some of the other trees displayed here. Trees described in the holy texts, Mahabharatha, Ramayana, Quran and Bible also have found place in this garden. His secular mind to embrace the goodness of all religions and his voracious reading penchant is exemplified through this. Many medicinal tree species and trees with different usages in the traditional life also find place in this garden.

Mohammed Koya mentions that it was an immense hard work to collect the seeds and saplings and had travelled a lot for collecting them from far and wide. Now many people even from abroad are gifting tree saplings as they know this is the safest place to grow that tree.  The garden endows a wide variety of Bamboos, medicinal trees like Cinchona, Ficus, Kadamba etc. There are some species in the garden which are not been identified even by the Botanists from known institutions. The trees become the perching ground of birds and butterflies and a whole ecosystem flourishes. The walk across the forest one undertakes is highly refreshing, informational and it reminds us of the importance of trees, in a world where even Oxygen is slowly becoming a consumer product.

A businessman by profession and owner of Alikunhi Jewellery, Koduvally Mohammed Koya finds time in the early morning to nurture his plants. Arose as a  beautiful idea of combining the nature loving and reading habit, Mohammed Koya could manifest his dream into reality of developing a forest ecosystem by developing the only private botanical garden of Kerala. As no one else from his family is interested in his activity, he is a bit worried about the future of this garden; still he is searching for new varieties of tree saplings.

Location/access: The garden is situated in Madavoor Panchayat in Kozhikode District just 20 Kms away from Calicut city. There are two access points from NH212 Calicut-Wayanad road to the garden. Take diversion from Padanilam junction and travel 2 Kms OR take diversion from Koduvally bus stand junction and travel 3 Kms.(Kerala, India)

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Mohammed Koya, mob: +91- 9847910355

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