The West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) is setting up a Japanese garden that will come up on 3.5 acres of land and will be situated next to the central lake at Eco Park, said Debashis Sen, chairman, HIDCO.
Sen said two months would be required to complete the project. The Japanese forest will be the first of its kind in the state. The project has been taken up to commemorate the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore’s first visit to Japan over 100 years ago. He left for Japan from Kolkata Port on May 3 with CF Andrews, Pearson and artist Mukul Dey. The team spent two days (May 7-9) in Rangoon and on May 7 Tagore celebrated his birthday by dedicating Balaka to Pearson. They reached Cobe on May 29. A dinner was hosted in his honour on May 31. He was the guest of painter Taikkan and Okakura.
Tagore’s speeches “The Nation” and “The Spirit of Japan” criticising imperialism was not liked by the Japan government.
Sen said there would be a large gate with ticketing kiosks and a huge rain shelter canopy. The walkway will be decorated with numerous garden elements of Shinto, lanterns and small and large Buddha sculptures, walking stone and many others. Various types of bamboo plants will be planted in an organic manner to replicate the forests.
Lanterns in stone and weathered sculptures will be arranged to give the area a natural and aesthetic look. Small smiling Buddha sculptures will welcome the visitors at the entrance. A monastery with a centrally located Pagoda, an inspiration from Ryonji monastery will be made which is a space for meditation. The monastery will have a three-layer Pagoda. It is the replica of an original Pagoda. A central pond will be created with Japanese semi circular bridge across it. A wish fountain will also be set up. There will be 15 covered Japanese food outlet where specially cooked Japanese food will be served.
Sen said once completed the garden would be a wonderful place to visit. The place and the ambience will woo visitors, he said. It may be mentioned that Eco Park has become the most popular tourist destination and over 50 lakh people have visited the place since its inception.