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A nursery in Dharamshala: Hobby made commercial

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Coloner KKS Dadwal in his nursery

Retired colonel KKS Dadwal is proud owner of brand Lajwanti Nursery in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Horticulture has been a lifelong hobby for Col. KKS Dadwal who retired 16 years ago from the army. When in army service he was posted across all corners of India and got plants from wherever he went. He planted all these plants in his garden in Dharamshala. 

He was assisted in this by his brother, KAS Dadwal, who is now a retired medical professional who looked after these plants while Col. KKS Dadwal was away. Being an active enthusiast Col. KKS Dadwal read many books on the topic of horticulture and applied the theories that he learnt into practice in this garden. 

After retiring  Col. KKS Dadwal spent some time away from Dharamshala , but eventually returned to it in 2007. The property that he owns in Dharamshala was bought by his father and a house was built there in 1950. Col. KKS Dadwal looked around his property and saw that there was plenty of space for a nursery, where he could pursue his hobby in horticulture. His property is also right in the centre of Dharamshala and thus is easily accessible to the general public.  

Slowly he collected and grew lots of flower plants and fruit trees which soon grew to such  numbers that he was not able to manage and maintain the nursery on his own and with the help of his family. He hired workers for maintaining his flowering plants and fruit trees and hence the price of managing the nursery went up and up. He was left with no option but to go commercial to sustain his nursery. The nursery was an immediate hit in Dharamshala. It has been 8 years since the nursery went commercial and it has not looked back since. 

exotic flowers in nursery
exotic flowers growing in nursery

Col. KKS Dadwal's nursery filled the gap in the market because there were no such nurseries in Dharamshala and people interested in horticulture can come to his nursery for products and advise. Due to higher altitude and different climate plants brought to Dharamshala from lower altitude regions do not survive or grow well. That's where the nursery scored maximum points again as the plants and trees grown in the nursery are local to the region or plants that have adapted and evolved to the local region and local climate.   

A few generations back all houses in Dharamshala and Himachal Pradesh had fruit trees in their garden, from which they ate fresh fruits, but slowly this practice has vanished and not many people of new generations are interested in this. That's where the nursery comes in to educate and enlighten general public about benefits of our natural surroundings, to revive this forgotten practice of growing fruit trees.

nursery grows a variety of flowers
Nursery grows a variety of flowers

Col. KKS Dadwal listed three aims of his nursery: 

  • People should easily get plants, saplings and gardening equipments locally within Dharamshala without having to go far. 

  • Educating people about the natural environment 

  • Educating the younger generation especially junior students about the mother nature. Biology students are also encouraged to visit the nursery to see how things are done in real life. 

School children are brought in groups by their teachers and they all see the nursery very carefully. It brings happiness to us and students improve their knowledge. A group from Kelley School of Business (KSB), Indiana USA comprising of  13-14 students and 2-3 professors visited us sometime back. We discussed a number of topics and they showed great interest in the nursery. The professors mentioned that Lajwanti nursery was one of the two places that the group visited in Himachal Pradesh, the other one being the Palampur agriculture university. Col. KKS Dadwal informed the visiting group about how they make organic manure, how they reuse and compost waste leaves and how they recycle to improve productivity of their plants and trees. 

flowers are also sold as part of bouquets
Flowers are also sold as part of bouquets

Educare, an international organization, which arranges for students from abroad to visit agricultural areas in India regularly sends batches of 5-6 students to our nursery. These students live and work with locals in agricultural areas, see and help in growing plants and learn about their culture, society and ways of life. These students educate locals about farming techniques that they use in their countries.  These youngsters discuss lots of things with us, they learn new things and they tell us things that they know. These students come from countries like Iceland, France, Norway, Turkey, Argentina, and Greenland among others. 

Col. KKS Dadwal said Lajwanti Nursery (www.lajwantinursery.in) aims to provide each and everything that a horticulture enthusiast in Dharamshala may need. The nursery provides organic manure, flower plant saplings, fruit tree saplings, herbal plants, seasonal or perennial decorative plants, big and small equipments like flower pots among various other products.

Col KKS Dadwal

Col KKS Dadwal

Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

Lajwanti Nursery

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