miscellany - A shelter for winged beauties

Last Updated 10 August 2015, 18:47 IST

Situated amidst the lush green surroundings of the Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashram in Mysuru is Shuka Vana, a rehabilitation centre for birds, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day.

With an aim to conserve the rare, endangered species of birds and rehabilitate sick and injured birds, Shuka Vana beautifully portrays the interrelationship between plants and animals. It provides veterinary care to many young, orphaned and injured birds. The centre features varied habitats — from a beautiful garden to temporary ponds, artificial waterfalls to enclosed aviaries. It is also host to an
impressive variety of fauna and flora. Here, you can find the most colourful variety of exotic birds. You can see the beauty of their plumage and also appreciate the magnificence of their flight. 

The centre comprises two different sections — the outer and the inner one. The outer section houses a garden that has a wonderful collection of plants and trees used in ayurvedic medicines. Within the sprawling premises of the outer sections, there are sub-sections such as the Dari Vana and the Rida Vana.

These sections house some breeds of pigeons, doves, finches, cockatiels, English budgerigar and many colourful species of parrots. Don’t forget to look at the pearl cinnamon cockatiel and albino and yellow-cheeked cockatiels, that have been bred in captivity and have emerged in fascinating colours, quite different from those observed in nature.

The inner section of Shuka Vana is a distinctive aviary, where one gets the
opportunity to look at numerous varieties of cockatoos, macaws, parakeets, conures, eclectus, emus, parrots, pheasants, mandarin ducks and so on. These birds are natives of Australia, Eastern Asia, Canada, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Switzerland and America.

One of the most fascinating things about this centre is that you can find parrots symbolising planets, zodiac signs and musical notes as well.

Another significant feature of Shuka Vana is the Akala Mrityu Moksha Stupa. Made of terracotta, this structure was constructed as a memorial for the departed souls. It symbolises the struggle of the soul that has been trapped in distress due to untimely and unnatural death of the being. The subtle significance of the Stupa lies in helping the troubled souls from bonded existence.

With extensive aviaries and raptor enclosures, Shuka Vana is an ideal place for birds. The management and staff of the centre are a group of dedicated conservationists committed to the preservation of these rare and exotic species of birds. The goal is to restore the health and free the precious creatures to let them enjoy their life in a natural environment. In fact, many veterinary doctors have volunteered to look after the sick birds here.

The photography section of Shuka Vana is undoubtedly the most popular part of the centre. Here, visitors are allowed to stand inside the enclosures and observe from a close point. What more, you can also have pictures clicked with many colourful birds perched on your head, shoulders and arms. Apart from all these attractions, Shuka Vana also has a Nadi Vana section that displays and sells delightful souvenirs.

Birds are vital to our existence. In the greater interest of protecting nature, we need more centres like Shuka Vana, which ensures the best and the most friendly treatment to the avian species.

(Published 10 August 2015, 17:38 IST)

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