Nikki Bonsai Garden – The Evolution


The two acre parcel of land, which has now become the home of D Ravindran’s Nikki Bonsai Garden has seen some pretty awesome transformation. Can you imagine something which went

from this

Before construction began on S India's biggest Bonsai Garden

Before construction began on S India’s biggest Bonsai Garden

to this

A pond is dug for the Nikki Bosai Garden

A pond is dug for the Nikki Bosai Garden

and this

The racks to display the plants get ready.

The racks to display the Bonsai plants get ready.

to THIS…



and THIS?

The plants are being arranged aesthetically in the garden

The plants are being arranged aesthetically in the garden

And we are not even done yet. Work is going on, on a war footing at Nikki Bonsai Garden with barely a couple of days left before the grand inauguration on October 14th, 2013.

Meanwhile, allow us to walk you through the massive effort that went into the making of this Garden. In a way, the effort started 40+ years ago when D Ravindran stumbled upon the then novel idea of Bonsai. Much like the thriving, sprawling Banyan trees in his collection,  the interest grew into a passion for which he has dedicated his life. This Garden coming up in Padmanabhapuram is the culmination of years of his patience and dedication. And it was not an easy road. Hailing from a business family, as the eldest son he was expected to run the family business. But he found his calling in this art. Despite severe objections and criticism, with barely any support, other than from Bonsai circles, he went on to build one of the finest collections in the country and in the process, did much to remove the myths about Bonsai and the stigma of ‘stunted growth’ and ‘dwarf trees’ that haunted this art. This is what makes this collection special.

As for the Nikki Bonsai Garden coming up in Padmanabhapuram, work started in this two acre piece of land, roughly a year ago. First came the ground work – getting rid of all the overgrown weeds, shrubs and bushes. After these were cleared, the land was prepped for landscaping. This was all done by December 2012 and after that work picked up pace and seemed to proceed on its own steam.

All the landscaping began after that and the whole geography of the land was changed to accommodate this unique Garden, the first of its kind in this part of the world. Ponds, a winding stream and even a waterfall were created to enhance the beauty of the setting. Structured around these features are rows and rows of racks upon which the plants are to be displayed.

Once open, Nikki Bonsai Garden will have on display, the largest individual collection of bonsais in the country. It will start off with a display of 300 trees and will go on to add about 300 more in the coming months.

Highlights of Nikki Bonsai Garden:

The garden consists of three areas – the main bonsai garden, the orchid garden and the upcoming Penjing Garden.

The main Bonsai garden is set in a Japanese style and features plants in every possible style of Bonsai -both traditional and a few developed by Ravindran himself. Besides hundreds of Ficus trees in various species, the garden also has Adeniums, Boababs, Tamarinds, Bougainvillea and the Tropical Pine or Australian Pine (Casuarina equistifolia). The collection of Casuarinas is unique. Why unique? Because this is the only place where you can see almost all the styles of bonsai exhibited in a single species.

Another highlight of the garden is of course the Grand Ol’ Banyan tree, Ravindran’s first bonsai. This was part of a wild collection from the hills near his hometown Nagercoil and has been with him for the last 43 years. When it was collected, its age was estimated to be around 10 years, making this tree more than fifty years old – probably older than  most people who visit the Garden. A venerable tree you could say!

Also on the cards is the plan for a Zen Garden, a spot of tranquility where you can rest, meditate, rejuvenate yourself or ponder upon the endless secrets of the Universe!

On October 14 2013, this Garden will open its doors to the public. Situated right next to the historic Padmanabhapuram Palace, the former seat of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom, the Garden is easily accessible by road and rail. The nearest airport is in Thiruvananthapuram about 50 kms away.

A novel kind of attraction, Nikki Bonsai Garden is bound to join the list of must visit spots for anyone traveling to South Kerala or South Tamilnadu. Actually, it is worth making a trip down south, just to see this Garden. So go ahead, book your tickets!



Leave a Comment

  1. A really unique effort for this part of the world sir. It is truly inspirational !

  2. I missed the inauguration but will make it a point to visit , amazing work done Congrats !!!

  3. shobhaa ramji says:

    congrats on your lovely effort and hard work,:)you have been a lovely teacher and a scource of insperation to many of us 🙂 wishing you all the best:)

  4. Congrats on all the hard work that has gone into this unique project.. Best wishes for.its grand success and may the seeds of the many years of hard work bear fruit…

  5. Congratulations ,Mr. Ravindran–Great effort & achievement !

  6. sree sampatth says:

    nice bonsaies

  7. Nikki Bonsai says: (Author)

    You are most welcome!

  8. Vino Kingston says:

    Tickets booked. Will visit in December.

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