BANGALORE, INDIA, August 5, 2012 (dnaindia.com): Swami Vishnumayananda of Ramakrishna Mission has played a key role in developing a barren piece of land into a forest near Shivanahalli in the vicinity of the Bannerghatta National Park. It happened after the Ramakrishna Mission adopted a government primary school in 1986. The school building was in a dilapidated condition. But Swami Vishnumayananda took up the challenge of bringing about a positive change with the help of a few committed villagers.
Today, the thickly wooded forest on about 80 acres of land has become a favorite destination for many people from Bangalore and other areas. “We welcome people who want to visit the forest on every third Sunday,” Swami Vishnumayananda says. “We provide food and other facilities for them provided they do not bring mobile phones, plastic bags and bottles.”
The forest has 150 different species of trees and 120 herbal plants. Many bird watchers too visit the forest, which is home to 175 varieties of birds. Swami Vishnumayananda plans to plant 20,000 saplings on another 120 acres of land donated by devotees, and develop a butterfly park on three acres of land.
Along with the forest, the primary school was also developed with the support of villagers and devotees. The number of students has gone up from 70 in 1986 to 300 today and the institution has been upgraded to an upper primary school. “The school is known as Sri Ramakrishna Vidya Kendra,” says the swami. “It is the first school in rural areas to get a Quality Council of India certificate in the country.”