Bhopal/Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh): A Blue Mormon, as bright as the April sky, catches one’s eye and flies away. The handsome Tawny Rajah goes after his Painted Lady.
The Gaudy Baron is busy with the Common-banded Peacock that nervously flatters its wings on a dark green leaf. Yet the Baron continues to tease his beloved Peacock.
This is not a play. These are all butterflies which flutter around a visitor at a park in Badhganga colony, Shahdol district, Madhya Pradesh.
Butterflies are the first art teacher of children who teach them how to imagine.
The park set up on around three acres is a heaven on the earth. As one enters there one comes across a Rainbow of papillons.
There are more than 70 species of butterfly in the park surrounded by wet dark green trees which seem to speak to each other in silence.
Visitors say it is an ideal place for keeping butterflies which are slowly fading.
Environmentalists Sanjay Payasi and Ravi Shukla manage the park where, besides rare species of butterflies, one comes across rare species of trees.
Both Payasi and Shukla say they never use chemical fertilisers to maintain the natural growth of the bushes and the trees. They also helps the butterflies to develop in the park set up three years ago.
Payasi says the idea of setting up the park clicked him after he had participated in Nanhi, an awareness campaign of the MP government for preserving butterflies.
The MP Forest Department launched the campaign in Satpuda Tiger Reserve in 2017.
Before setting up the park, they had surveyed for one year and analysed the host plants, where the butterflies lay the eggs.
They started planting the saplings of those plants to increase the numbers of butterflies.
Besides that, they also collected various host plants for butterflies and brought them to the park, Payasi says.
A 13-year-old boy Shreyansh Tiwari, class 8th student of Good Shepherd Convent School often visits the park and plays with those papillons.
He says earlier he used to think butterflies are all fairies, but, after visiting the park, he has come to know that those papillons are also the children of nature as humans are.
On the other hand, seven-year-old Shivika Shukla, class 2nd student of Good Shepherd Convent School has fallen in love with those colourful creatures and wants to play with them as long as she can afford.
It is true that children grasp the life cycle of butterflies about which they read in science books, Payasi says.
What is more, children spend hours at the park by chasing those butterflies in an effort to catch them, he says.
Shivika treats the park as a fairy land, but Shreyas considers it as a school, as butterflies indicate change of seasons and various other aspects of nature.
On a fine autumn day, when Payasi was sitting with the children under the clear sky, the evening was descending on the park. For them, it was time to return home.
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