Mukti Vanam is a unique garden that is coming up initially on five acres of land close to the famous Kaleswaram Shiva temple here, as part of an eco-tourism development initiative by the district administration.

The temple, situated at the confluence of the river Godavari, its largest tributary Pranahita, and antharvahini (subterranean river) Saraswati, is also known as the Dakshina Triveni Sangamam. A large number of devotees visit here to immerse the ashes of their departed.

“Within it will be a Smruti Vanam, which offers an opportunity for individuals to plant a sapling of their choice in the memory of deceased family members,” said Mahadevpur Forest Range Officer B. Ramesh, adding, “Planting a sapling and seeing it grow is the best homage one can offer to departed souls.”

An ‘astro-garden’ with a ‘Raasi Vanam’, ‘Navagraha Vanam’, ‘Shiva Panchayat Vanam’ and ‘Nakshatra Vanam’, each with its dedicated space, is also planned. The required plants are being grown in a nursery within the garden complex.

In Hindu belief, each janma nakshatra (birth star) is associated with a tree, caring for which is said to bestow progress and prosperity. At the proposed Nakshatra Vanam, individuals can plant saplings of 27 trees related to 27 birth stars.

“People planting trees at Mukti Vanam pay a nominal fee towards their maintenance and will be offered free entry to the park,” said eco-tourism coordinator K. Suman.

A deer park, ‘tree huts’, a pond, a children’s play area and a walking track are among Mukti Vanam’s other proposed attractions.

The Telangana government has allocated ₹25 crore for the development of the Kaleswaram Temple, and ₹1 crore for creating Mukti Vanam. “The park will be open for to devotees within the next two months and will be a great value addition to the Kaleswaram Temple,” District Collector A. Murali told The Hindu.

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