Kandawgyi National Garden

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Located some 44 miles from Mandalay and built at an elevation of 3,605 feet above sea-level, is the quiet sleepy town of Pyin-Oo-Lwin. With its cool, temperate weather, scenic natural beauty, and its many sites of interst, this hill station is a place fully deserving a visit by international tourists and domestic travelers. One of the most notable of these sites is the Kandawgyi National Garden.

The Kandawgyi National Garden has a long and illustrious history. First established as the Maymyo Botanical Garden in 1915 by an Englishman named Mr. Alex Rodger on a 30 acre plot, the Botanical Garden was modeled on the world-famous Kew Gardens of England with the assistance of a botanist from the Kew Gardens named Lady Cuff. In 1917 the Government granted it official recognition. On 1 December 1942 the Forestry Department issued a notification declaring the Botanical Garden, which by then had grown to 240 acres, to be a Protected Forest Area.

The Botanical Garden was upgraded to the status of the Kandawgyi National Garden on 1 December 2000. The National Garden was established in order to provide international and domestic tourists with an attractive place for rest and recreation, to educate the people in appreciating the incalculable value of the natural environment, to provide botanical researchers, floriculturists, orchidists and forestry experts with a natural laboratory in which to conduct research designed to help in the conservation of rare and endangered floral species, to develop the Garden as a popular and famous ecotourist destination and promote ecotourism, and to display to the world a proud symbol of the Myanmar National Spirit.

Kandawgyi National Garden, with its many forest stands, its many levels of lakes, and its green, rolling lawns cover an area of 436.96 acres of spectacular landscapes and scenic views. Paved roads that wind through it enable tourists to either take a motorised tour of the grounds in air-conditioned comfort or else choose to take a ride in open pony carts. Most visitors, however, prefer to stroll through the grounds carrying with them the wherewithal for picnic lunches on the green lawns.

Upon entering the Kandawgyi National Garden you will come upon fountains, waterfalls and rills, rock gardens and flowers in season, including tulips, freesia, pansies, petunias, and many others.

Forestry students and others who are interested in studying trees will find here 482 domestic species represented by 12,127 trees, in addition to 3,577 trees of 67 exotic hardwood species, 27 orchards with 591 fruit trees, and 591 banyan trees (Ficus bengalensis), (the tree under which the Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment) of 26 different sub-species. These trees are grown on 65 separate plots of land and the interested visitor will even be able to view healthy and thriving specimens of the rare Japanese Ginko species that has become extinct in its homeland.

Seventy five species of Myanmar bamboos such as the immense Waboe: or giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) the kjerthaun: wah: (Bambusa polymorpha), and the tin: wah: (Cephalostachyum pergracaile) are also growing well in 1,185 groves, and plans are underway to add more species to make the bamboo collection even more complete.

Also present are 133 species of Myanmar orchids available for study and research, in addition to some 410 species of growing plants used in the production of traditional Myanmar herbal medicines growing there.

Rare species of water birds such as the Mandarin Duck, the Mute Swan, and the Black Swan may also be sighted, as well as terrestial species such as peafowl and a wide variety of other birds.

Future projects include constructing facilities for accommodation of international tourists wishing to make extended overnight stays for rest and relaxation, providing facilities for conducting research and making arrangements for the purchase and collection of seeds of rare species of trees and flowers, so that the Kandawgyi National Garden will come to serve as a Recreation and Resource Centre.

Source: Myanmar Perspectives, Dr. Sein Tu