I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
~William Wordsworth, “To a Butterfly”
Young or old, everyone finds butterflies a fascinating creation of nature and one can spend hours looking at them fluttering or playing around. Butterflies with their colorful wings and playful nature can brighten up your day instantly. As kids we always ran around our garden at home trying get hold of them to study the vivid patterns and also hoping that we can keep them with us forever. Even today we can’t help ourselves from making a run for these beautiful creatures every time we catch a glimpse of them.
Recently when we were going through places to visit around our hometown we came across an article regarding butterfly garden in the region. We were quite intrigued with the idea of visiting the place and to our utter delight the park was just few minutes’ drive from our home. The Sammilan Shetty’s Butterfly Park located in Belvai village is Karnataka’s first privately owned butterfly garden and is run by a nature and butterfly enthusiast, Sammilan Shetty.
The park was opened in 2011 and Sammilan dedicated his ancestral land to create a natural habitat for the butterflies and conserve the rapidly declining butterfly species from the Western Ghats region. As the park is situated on the foothills of Western Ghats, it provides a natural environment for butterflies to grow and flourish, thus ruling out the necessity of breeding them as it is done in other parks around the world.
Although we wanted to visit the place during the peak season (monsoons), we could only manage to come here during the last week of October. While confirming about our visit with Sammilan we were asked to come early morning, since the butterflies are easier to spot during the early hours of the day. As we made our way to the park through dusty village road, we couldn’t contain our excitement thinking about the fun waiting for us ahead. After a brief introduction of the place by Sammilan himself, he took us around the park grounds, pointing at exotic butterflies and also give us detailed information regarding them. Once he was done with the tour, Sammilan left us to ourselves to explore and capture these beautiful creatures. We spent good part of our 2 hours running around the premises trying to have an up close look and capture these beauties. We were able to catch a glimpse of butterflies that are rare and uniquely found in the Western Ghats region. Crimson Rose, Malabar Banded Peacock, Glassy Tiger and Common Jezebel are some of the butteflies were able to spot during our tour.
As a part of the visit, a well-documented PowerPoint presentation was shown, which gives us a clear idea on the birth and life cycle of the butterflies along with their significance in the nature and the need to conserve them. Sammilan also showed us beautiful captures of the various species that were spotted in the park. It was interesting to learn that so far they have been able to identify about 134 species of butterflies out of 339 found in the Western Ghats region. After a final quick tour of the park we were ready to bid adieu to this magical place with fun memories with these winged beauties.
A stroll through the area will surely make one appreciate the dedication and the efforts made by Sammilan Shetty for the conservation of butterflies. It was such an amazing and relaxing experience to be midst all these prettiness and be a part of the beautiful gift of nature.
Above Picture courtesy: http://www.butterflyparkbelvai.com
Note: The park is open only on Sundays between 8.30 am to 12 pm. The best time to visit is during the monsoons from June to October. The park is easily accessible, from Mangalore, located between Moodbidri and Karkala town.
For more information visit their website: http://www.butterflyparkbelvai.com