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Home > Discover Hyderabad > City Lifestyle > Living > Bonsai - Mystique miniature


Ficus Benghalensis
Can you imagine a tree aged 20 years but hardly 3 feet high? And a dwarf citrus plant bearing fruits? Well, these formed a part of the rare ensemble of Bonsais by Mangala Rao.

Mangala Rao, who has been training Bonsai lovers since 1986, has taken a Masters Degree in Advanced Study in the Art of Bonsai from Indo Japanese Association, Mumbai. She displayed her Bonsai collection under the theme "Mystique Miniatures" at the ITC Kakatiya Sheraton in the city. The display included more than 100 Bonsais of tropical trees, shrubs and fruits and flower plants.

Mangala Rao with her bonsaisMangala Rao's exhibits included Bonsai nurtured as individuals, Bonsai on rocks and Bonsai in landscape. Some of the miniatures like Ficus Nuda, Tamarindus Indica and Fortica Apra are more than two decades old. There were also Manikara Zapota, Citrus, Bambusa, bladed leaved Yucca, Juni Perus Prostrata (grown on rocks) and Pitho Lolobium (group Bonsai).

But what exactly is a Bonsai?One of Mangala's bonsais
The art of Bonsai can be characterised as the technique of limiting the growth of shrubs and trees and keeping them amazingly small. A bonsai does not have to be old to be good. It is quite possible to treat a delightful little tree within a short period. A bonsai has to be regularly pruned and cut to keep it small.

An ardent lover of Bonsai, Mangala Rao says that Bonsai cultivation is a fascinating hobby. Bonsai can be grown easily on small balconies of apartment buildings. "One can enjoy nature's drama even in narrow spaces between densely placed concrete buildings," she says.

Some of the exhibits were those of trees that only thrive in a cold climate. How does the bonsai of such a tree survive in a hot, alien environment? "Special care has to be taken toCitrus make the tree grow in a different environment," says Mangala Rao "I had to use fridge-water and ice cubes to grow Bauhinia, a cold climate plant."

Many people claim that the knotted, twisted trunks are a testimony to the torture undergone by the trees. Bonsai enthusiasts contend that these very features symbolise qualities to withstand difficulties in order to maintain continuity and preserve tradition. Bonsais live to a great age indicating that they receive best treatment and care than their normal-sized counterparts in the nature.

Ficus ReliglosaMangala Rao, with a citation from the World Bonsai Friendship Federation, has worked with renowned Bonsai masters like Mr John Naka of USA and Mr Tom Yamamoto of Japan. She has conducted Ikebana and Bonsai exhibitions at various places in south India. At present she takes regular Bonsai classes at Asa Bhanu Japan Center, Hyderabad, St. Ann's College for Women and School of Agro Agricultural Society. She is an instructor of Ohara Ikebana, Japan. And she is ever ready to teach any one who cares for the Bonsai.

Address: Mangala Rao, 3-6-458,
5th Street, Himayath Nagar,
Hyderabad 500 029
: 763 3032

MAR. Fareed

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