Report By: Nina Rai
Mumbai, Jan. 21, 2013:
Living in the midst of a densely populated “concrete and cement jungle” like Mumbai, the question foremost in the minds of majority of weary ‘Mumbaikers’ is: ‘Just where do we get in touch with pure nature?’ Their prayers seem to have finally been answered.
Well, at least partially, in the form of “Prakruti,” a three day colorful nature festival cum eco-mela which kicked-off to a positive start at Bhavan’s campus in Andheri (west), Mumbai on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 and concluded successfully on Sunday, 20th Jan. This nature festival has been organized for the 3rd year in a row now.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational institution of eminence, having 300 constituent bodies, is celebrating its 75th year. As part of the same, Bhavan’s Nature and Adventure Centre has hosted this nature festival “Prakruti.” The organizers of “Prakruti” were Wild Holidays and their associates Mumbai Rose Society, Indian National Kennel Club, Maharashtra Nature Park, Sanctuary Asia, Sri Aurobindo Society, The Welfare of Stray Dogs, Sir J.J.School of Arts, West Zone Cultural Centre, Arts Interactions, Karuna Andheri, etc.
Prakruti, saw a huge turnout of nature lovers thronging the venue during the three days of festivities. Nearly 20,000 visitors enjoyed the festival, out of which about 5,500 were covered by organized pre-registered school visits. About 8,000 youth and 7,000 or so family groups flocked to the festival. These numbers show that the festival was appreciated by all age groups.
Some of the highlights of the festival were varied adventure activities like rock climbing, rappelling, commando net, Burma bridge, spider net, Flying Fox, etc., pet/animal care workshops, flower shows, nature and wildlife photography exhibition, painting exhibition, puppet show, dog show, musical treats (from folk to rock band to Indian Classical music).
Over 300 participated in various competitions like poetry, elocution, dance, etc, all revolving around the theme of Nature. There were also workshops & presentations, wild life film shows, nature trails, anti rabies drive, animal rescue, scrap sculpture, re-used craft, environmental activism workshop, stalls promoting environment friendly products, eco tourism organizers, and NGOs serving Mother Nature like BNHS, WWF, Green Peace, Snow-leopard Conservancy Trust, etc. .
One of the participants having a stall of eco-friendly products, Asha Kumbhatt seeing the massive turn-out at the festival opined “People are becoming more and more concerned about safeguarding the environment, as seen at the festival.”
“Many YOUTH are offering free services/volunteering for such festival, as I observed in the last three days. Even kids are (becoming) aware of the harm caused by thermocol / plastics and other hazardous substances,” she added, a trifle concerned.
“Due to the involvement of Sanctuary Asia, a new dimension was added this year. Focusing on Solar energy, a SunPlugged Festival was co-organized. There was a tiger dance from Orissa and a classical Indian music programme by the maestro Shubha Mudgal,” informed Himanshu Prem, the Director of the Festival.
* Do check out all the pictures of Prakruti Nature Festival attached herewith.