Mrs. Prajakta Kale’s journey of becoming the renowned international Bonsai artist is an emblem of her dedication. Born in 1962 at Pune, Mrs. Kale since her childhood was fascinated with the art of gardening. While growing up, along with excelling in her formal education, she achieved mastery in gardening.

In 1984, she participated in the first Bonsai Workshop in Pune and since then she has never looked back. Curiosity is one of her great qualities, she decided to explore the style and craft of Bonsai. She also immersed herself in learning about the history and origins of this unique art. Bonsai Art is an ancient India art known as Vaman Vriksha Kala. In ancient times, many monks traveled to other regions and spread this art of creating miniature trees. Hence, it became a prominent art in many other countries while it was lost in India. Bringing it back to India and giving it the glory, it once had, became her real objective.

She started working on cultivating Bonsai trees in her own home. Soon she began seeking out other workshops and enthusiasts from whom she could further her education and learn advanced techniques. She traveled to many countries such as China, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam to observe how these countries and people share a unique relationship with the Bonsai art.

In her travels, she realized that there is a huge demand of Bonsai Plants in Europe. China exports over 1 lakh plants to Europe every month. She learned that this continent has only 1500 species of Bonsai while India has over 15000 species. Realising the potential that India has in this field, she decided to make most of her knowledge to generate skilled employment in India.

Here she also learned various styles of Bonsai art such as traditional Japanese, artistic Bujin, Sohin, landscapes, raft style etc. To further her improvement as a Bonsai artist, she started learning the craft from various Bonsai Masters. These experiences and styles have deeply influenced her own work.

Mrs. Kale has been working on her own and with various international masters since last 35 years. In this journey, she has over 3000 Bonsai trees in over 150 species from India and Oriental countries. Her first bonsai was a banyan tree (Ficus Religiosa), which she had acquired. Her collections include varieties from the orient, which have been adapted to Indian climatic conditions. Since then her possessions include various ficus varieties, Tamarindus Indica, Casuarina, Juniperus Prostata, Juniperus Chinensis var. Sargentii, Phyllanthus, Braya, Wrightia Religiosa, Ulmus Parviflora, Desmodium, Murraya Exotica etc. Though passionate about all her Bonsais, she has a special love towards Phyllanthus and Juniper Bonsai.

She has the world’s largest collection of Bonsai plants, largest Penjing and the greatest number of species at one place. To get the official recognition, an application has been made to the Guianese Book of World records.

To spread the skill and joy of Bonsai Art, Mrs. Kale established an organization named Bonsai Namaste in 2009. Under Bonsai Namaste, she channelized her efforts to organize the largest Bonsai Convention and Exhibition in the world. In February 2018, she successfully organized this event in Pune. This exhibition featured over 1000 exquisite Bonsai trees from her personal collection. It also conducted live demonstrations of 20 masters from across the world for 600 Bonsai artists. Over 2 lakh citizens of Pune paid a visit to this exhibition and learned about the art of Bonsai, without any charges. In this convention exclusive 40 delegates from Indian agricultural colleges and large number of gardeners from various nurseries were trained in the Bonsai art. She takes pride in the fact that this convention created large number of skilled Bonsai artists.

The objective of conducting this mega event was to spread awareness of this art among her fellow citizens and to introduce various species of plants to the young generation. She believes that having a bonsai plant in a home could bring everyone closer to nature.

Also, to highlight its potential to generate employment among the urban and rural population. After the convention, she has developed and proposed a diploma course of Bonsai art for the agricultural colleges and for youth employment to support the Skill India Mission. She is also developing a largest Bonsai garden in India that could be a popular tourist destination near Pune.

Throughout this journey, Mrs. Kale has been a devoted wife and a responsible mother. She has also been a kind friend to many and a lovable teacher to several aspiring Bonsai artists. Her compassionate nature has been the source of her strong bonds. Mrs. Kale’s relentless efforts and vision has put India right back on the world Bonsai map.

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Mission and Special Achievements

  • Mrs Kales mission is to bring back the lost glory of the ancient Indian art of Vamana Vriksha Kala which is globally known as Bonsai Art.
  • Providing training of this art as a skill to the young generation, farmers and women and generating employment for the rural population.
  • To preserve the medicinal and rare species of plants.
  • To create awareness through this art in society about various species of trees and to bring them closer to nature.
  • She has been Internationally recognised as a Bonsai Grand Master.
  • Mrs Kale has written and published a book titled Bonsai Indias Ancient Art of Vamana Vrisksha in English and Marathi.
  • She successfully organised Worlds Largest International Bonsai Convention and Exhibition in India.
  • She is conducting free trainings to women from the Self help group and young students who are interested in learning it as skill.

Awards

International Awards

  • Winner of World Bonsai Content organised by Bonsai Clubs International
  • 17 International masters felicitated Mrs Kale for her contribution to Bonsai Art
  • Bonsai Angle Honour by Director, Bonsai Europa
  • Awarded for an outstanding Bonsai at the Convention by World Bonsai Friendship Federation
  • Ho Chi Minh City Bonsai Association honored her for the successful organisation of the Convention
  • Bonsai Club International recognised her contribution through an Excellence Award
  • Jury Award by Indonesian Bonsai Society
  • Recognised as a Grand Master by Indonesian Bonsai Society

National Awards

  • Acknowledged by the Former President of India, Mrs Pratibha Patil in Pune
  • Sasyabandhu Award by Avdhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore

Contribution to the Field

Mrs. Prajakta Kale in her illustrious career of last 34 years has received several International and National awards and has represented India in various International Bonsai conventions, seminars and workshops.

She has successfully organised worlds largest International Bonsai Convention and Exhibition at Pune in India

Wherein 17 countries participated, 1000 Bonsai plants were displayed, 800 national and international delegates attended the convention, 2 lakh citizens visited the exhibition and many new Bonsai artists were trained.

  • She has brought back the attention of Bonsai Masters from across the world to India. Her efforts have ensured that Internationally India has become a destination for masters to work and share their art.
  • In 2007, she participated in the 9th Asia Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention and Exhibition in Bali, Indonesia.
  • In 2008, Former President of India Mrs. Patibha Patil felicitated Mrs. Kale for her display of Bonsai garden in Pune.
  • In 2009, she established a not for profit organisation named Bonsai Namaste as part of the Maharishi Vedoddharak Foundation for spreading awareness of this art, providing free training to youth for employment generation and conservation of the Ancient art of Vamana Vriksha Kala.

Contribution to the Society

Mrs Kale is responsible for spreading awareness and conserving the Bonsai art which is originally an ancient Indian art known as Vamana Vriksha Kala. She has initiated a movement of Bonsai Namaste to create livelihood for rural and urban unemployed youth.

  • She has also brought back the love for horticulture in Indian households by spreading message of having at least one Bonsai plant per home.
  • She has highlighted the importance of medicinal plants and rare species of plants in India. She has been initiating the preservation of these species through Bonsai.
  • She has envisioned in reducing the unemployment by creating skilled manpower in Bonsai Art. She provides Free Training to Agricultural Students, unemployed youth, rural and urban women with self help groups. It includes creating the Bonsai Material, cultivating Bonsai plants for earning their livelihood with dignity.
  • She has developed and proposed a diploma course for the students of agriculture and horticulture to pursue it as a vocation.
  • She is taking initiative to work with the Forest Department of the Government of Maharashtra for training rural population in making Bonsai material.