Small Tree Chandigarh for Id : ………………………..

During my visit to Panchkula for lectures on EDUSAT, one evening i felt sad due to loneliness and I started walking along roadside after sometime by chance, I was in front of this cactus Garden, now I was mesmerized, rather than sad to see the beauty of the place. I think i should share some information about this place (from where photo of this plant and cactus were taken). Here is some info about this wonderfull garden and its creator:

Cactus Garden Renamed as Dr J S Sarkaria National Cactus and Succulent Botanical Garden and Research Centre situated in the heart of the city Panchkula (Haryana), Satellite town of Chandigarh City. The objective behind developing the garden was preservation and conservation of endangered species of cacti and succulents and to create Tourist attraction. Covering an area of 7 Acres it is considered as Asia’s largest outdoor landscaped cacti and Succulents Garden with over 2500 species of Cacti & succulents. The garden has comprehensive collection of Indian succulents, the largest in the world, some of them extremely rare and have already been declared as endangered species, which includes complete collection of Genus Caralluma of Indian origin. The garden has three green houses. The cacti and succulents also have medical values. Indian succulents are being used in Ayurveda and Unani medicines for centuries. It is a great source of attraction for not only only tourists but also for botanists.

Dr JS Sarkaria – Creator of the Cactus Garden

Dr J S Sarkaria joined the army shortly after outbreak of the Second World War.  He was a Captain in the I.M.S. (Indian Medical Service) and was in the frontlines during the entire Burma campaign.  His field hospital was once virtually bombed out of existence by the Japanese, with very heavy casualties, and he was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery under fire. Sometime after the end of the war he joined P.C.M.S. (Punjab Civil Medical Service), and post-1947 his first posting was in Palampur.  He served subsequently in a number of stations: Amritsar, Rewari, Simla, Sirsa, Ludhiana, Simla again, Bhatinda, Nangal, etc., etc.

When he sought premature retirement he had been Medical Superintendent of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala for 2-3 years. Previous to that he had served in Chandigarh as Assistant Director of Health Services and Drug Controller at Chandigarh for some years.

He had obtained M.S. (Master in Surgery) early on in his service, when he was posted in remote Rewari (Haryana), a feat in itself because (at least at that time) this degree was very demanding even for people posted in medical colleges.  My father was acclaimed as a brilliant surgeon and had a fantastic amount of energy and drive.

Single-handedly he converted — through donations that he sought from the public directly — the ramshackled and run-down civil hospital in the desert town of Sirsa to a really good facility.  This was during the Chief Minister Mr Kairon.  He was quite impressed when he came there for an opening ceremony.  It is a great pity we now have very few (even in those days such people were rare) government officers with this kind of dedication and drive, which Dr JS Sarkaria had.

The biographic details of Dr Sarkaria, that are directly relevant to the Cactus Garden pertain to the years after he took retirement from P.C.M.S.  Quite a lot about these is in his book on this garden.

Some more links for info on Cactus Garden

Some more links on the Cactus Garden and Cacti