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Timings : 06:00 PM - 10:30 AM and 04:00 PM - 07:30 PM

Entry Fee : Adults and children above 3 years: INR 5

Pune Okayama Friendship Garden, Pune Overview

Welcome to the Japanese Garden in Pune. One of its kinds, the Pune Okayama Friendship Garden is the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan, in Asia. Also called the Pu. La. Deshpande Udyan, it was named after the famous Marathi writer and humorist, Pu La Deshpande who received the Padma Bhushan in 1990. This garden reflects on the Indo-Japanese relationship, as it is inspired by the 300-year old Okayama Korakuen Garden in Japan.

Located on Sinhagad Road in Dattawadi, this park offers the perfect blend between nature and concrete, with a natural canal passing through the garden whilst having man-made ponds and waterfalls. Right from lush green plants, Pergolas to sit at and lawns,beautiful flowers and the artificial hills, this garden has everything that will take your breath away. Visitors come here to take a stroll after a stressful day or even better, plan a trip to this garden to explore the wide variety of flora. The garden perfectly resembles the Japanese Yin and Yang theory, laying emphasis on motion and stillness, light and darkness, warmth and cold, representing the authentic Japanese culture.

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Biodiversity

The Pune Okayama Garden has a wide variety of flora and fauna, inspired by Gardens and Parks of Japan. The type of plants range from Plums, Pines and Willows to Japanese Camellias, specifically Tsubaki and Sazanka. These were mainly seen during the 10th-12th century Japanese gardens, motivating the creators to inculcate them in the Pune Okayama Friendship Garden. One can notice that this garden is predominantly green in colour with the use of evergreen trees and shrubs, signifying eternity. The garden also has numerous birds, ducks and colourful fish in their ponds which were taken from the Zen Sect of South China.

Visitors can explore the range of flora and fauna in this garden with the help of guided tours available on-spot as well as online.

Significance

The Pu La Deshpande Udyan signifies the friendly relationship between the two cities (Okayama and Pune). The intention of Japanese gardens was to create an idealised landscape to depict abstract concepts in a stylistic way. Earlier, gardens for emperors were created for aesthetic pleasure and entertainment purposes and for Buddhists, gardens were meant to be a space for meditation and other spiritual practices.

The Pune Okayama Garden was established in order to give India an insight of Japanese culture and tradition of gardens in order to create a peaceful and harmonious relationship not only between the two cities but also between the two countries.  It can be interesting to notice that this garden was seen in one of the Bollywood movies; Salman Khan’s “Bodyguard” was shot in this garden.

Architecture and Layout

The garden is spread across 10 acres and includes a changing landscape throughout the paths. The structure as well as the design of the garden, resembles Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist ways of creation that focused on making gardens a spiritual space for people to meditate and reflect. The garden is not completely natural and involves man-made elements, bringing attention to the Yin and Yang theory. The garden is based on the design principles of “Balance”, “Emptiness” and “Nature”. It follows a balance between formal and informal Japanese styles of the 1700s. The basic elements of Japanese gardens include Koi Fish, ponds, waterfalls, stone lanterns, Japanese bridges, water basins, walls, fences and statues. These elements were considered to be important for the Japanese as they represented the basic rules of designs laid by them.

Adjacent to the Pune Okayama Friendship Garden is the Mughal Garden which is a replica of the one in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. This garden is famous for its evening fountain dance and has a structure resembling the Mughal Era. This is reflected by walkways, water bodies and lawns in the garden.

Best Time to Visit

Even though the garden is open in the mornings as well as evenings, the ideal time to visit this Garden is either early morning or early evening. This gives the visitors enough time to explore the entire garden, leaving some time for them to sit and relax as well.

Timings

The Pu La Deshpande Udyan is open on all days from 6:00 am to 10:30 am and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The entry costs a fee of Rs.5 for children and Rs.10 for adults.

Rules and Regulations

The Pune Okayama Garden is well-maintained to provide its visitors with a beautiful experience of the Japanese- inspired Indian Garden. Hence, there are a few rules and regulations that need to be abided in order to preserve the authenticity of this place:
  • Even though they look tempting, visitors are not allowed to walk on the lawns or touch the plants.
  • Facilities like washrooms are available in the garden. However, it is important to respect them and keep them clean.
  • Footwear and cameras are allowed. However, permissions need to be taken for photography.
  • It is important to note that food stalls are available around the garden. However, edibles are not allowed inside the garden.

How To Reach Pune Okayama Friendship Garden

Since the garden is in Pune, the nearest Airport is the Pune International Airport which is 16 kilometres away. The nearest Railway stations are the Shivajinagar Railway station. Shivajinagar Railway station is around 5.5 kilometres away and Pune Junction is around 8 kilometres away from the attraction. Out-of-city Tourists can take a bus or a cab from these places till the Okayama Garden.  
  • Buses from the airport till the garden can range from Rs. 19-50, depending on which bus you take.
  • Buses from Pune Junction as well as Shivajinagar railway station as well as Pune Junction are also available and rates will vary depending on the routes one chooses to take.
  • Cabs from the airport till the garden can range from Rs. 300-450 approximately during peak hours. As for the rate from the station, cabs can charge approximately Rs.150-330 from Pune Junction and Rs.100-200 approximately.
  • Car rentals are also an on-the-spot option for visitors to choose at either of the locations.

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