The dependency of famed Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple on neighbouring Tamil Nadu for flowers for its daily rituals is likely to come down thanks to a garden programme drawn up by the Kerala State Medicinal Plants Board.
The board has set up a string of ‘poonkavanams’ (gardens) in a two-and-half acre site belonging to one of the most famed Vaishnava temples in the country.
The barren lands, adjacent to the shrine, have been cleared of waste and around 3,000 saplings of a host of traditional plant varieties have been planted there, board sources said.
Saplings will also be planted on the banks of Padmatheertham, the sacred temple pond, and Mithranandapuram, another pond located adjacent to the shrine, they said.
The Board has plans to plant a handful of selected tree saplings also besides flowering plants, they said.
Temple Executive Officer K N Satheesh said the main focus is on ‘thulasi’ and ‘thechi’, which are largely in demand for temple rituals.
"We are mainly focusing on thulasi and thechi. Now we source flowers for daily rituals from farms in Thovala and Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu," he said.
The temple staff would take care of the gardens and nurturing of the plants, he said.
With the garden programme, the dependency on the neighbouring state could be reduced to some extent, temple sources said.
The board has set up the gardens under its medicinal garden programme. It had set up similar gardens for various temples, including one near the famous Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur.