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Winged friends from Karjat

Updated on: 09 August,2021 08:52 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sukanya Datta |

An adult colouring-postcard book brings to life over 20 species of butterflies found in a butterfly park based in the scenic city

Winged friends from Karjat

The book offers colour-in illustrations by Sumedha Sah with a postcard on the flipside. Pic Courtesy/Art Village Karjat

Back in 2018-19, Art Village, Karjat (AVK), a collaborative space for naturalists, artists, practitioners, performers and educators, roped in Pune-based ecotourism expert and lepidopterist Amol Pendharkar to re-wild the area with trees and plants that were native to the mixed deciduous region. “While doing so, we decided to develop a part of the property as a butterfly garden. Instead of capturing butterflies, we decided to attract them. Butterflies need two kinds of plants — one to suck nectar from, and the other, to lay eggs on,” explains Pendharkar, who surveyed the area for endemic butterfly species. “We planted native plants and over a period of time, butterflies started coming there. Currently, we get to see 30 to 40 species all year round,” he shares.

Amol Pendharkar and Sumedha Sah
Amol Pendharkar and Sumedha Sah

Ambika Jayakumar, creative head, AVK, shares that the idea of the project was to bring back natural life, including insects, birds, plants and reptiles that once called the locality home. And now, as an extension of the project, they have launched their first production: an adult colour-in postcard book dedicated to the butterfly families one can find at AVK. Titled Secret Life of Indian Butterflies, the two-volume book is a collaborative project between the creative team at the Village, Pendharkar and Bengaluru-based architect-artist Sumedha Sah, who illustrated the butterflies to celebrate their form and habitat. “The book is the first in a series of other productions. It can be found at our Art Village Dukaan. It’s a sweet attempt to get people to engage with the subject of conservation and nature,” explains Jayakumar.

Among the 20 types of butterflies that one can get a glimpse of from the book are Indian Blue Mormon, the state butterfly of Maharashtra; Danaid Eggfly; Oriental Plain Tiger; Oriental Lemon Emigrant (a migratory butterfly); and Peacock Pansy, which uses its false eyes to fool predators, Pendharkar reveals. “For the book, we selected only those butterflies that are found all year round here.”

Sah shares that the book provides a hands-on approach to experiencing and learning about ecology. “Since you’re visiting the space, and then can colour in the book, you’re automatically learning about the butterflies. Also, you’re able to detach and send them to someone as postcards, so it’s more engaging, and becomes a memoir of the place,” she notes. 

At: Art Village Karjat, next to ND Studios, Karjat Road, Chowk Phata.
Call: 9820313000
Cost: Rs 250 per copy

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