The cover and an illustration from 'Holy Plants'
Holy PlantsSakshi Mangudkar

Illustrator Sakshi Mangudkar Is Unravelling The Legacy Of Plants In Indian Mythology

Have you ever stopped to consider the deep connection between plants and mythology in a country like India? This very question sparked a creative fire in graphic designer and illustrator Sakshi Mangudkar, leading to her project, Holy Plants!

Sakshi Mangudkar is a young artist brimming with a zest for life. At 24, her passions for travel, cultural exploration, and human connection fuel her creative spirit. But it's her keen eye for nature, art, and human behaviour that truly sets her work apart.

India boasts a rich and dense history, intricately woven with narratives that celebrate the natural world. Plants, in particular, have held a position of immense significance throughout the ages. However, as Westernization continues to influence Indian society, a concerning disconnect has emerged, particularly among younger generations. Many are unaware of the fascinating tales and deep cultural significance associated with these sacred plants.

Sakshi's project, ‘Holy Plants!’, aims to bridge this very gap. Recognizing the importance of preserving these cultural treasures, she embarked on a deep dive into the world of Indian mythology. Her research delved into the fascinating stories associated with various plants, exploring how they have intertwined with the country's history, superstitions, and religious ceremonies.

Consider the legend of Vetal, a mischievous spirit from the classic Indian folktale 'Vikram and Vetal'.  Vetal is said to reside in a Banyan tree, a detail that isn't merely a random setting. In Indian mythology, the Banyan tree is often associated with the supernatural, adding a layer of intrigue and mystery to the story.  This is just one example of how seemingly ordinary plants hold a deeper meaning within the richness of Indian mythology.

‘Holy Plants’ proved to be a deeply enriching experience for Sakshi.  The research process allowed her to delve into the vast and vibrant world of Indian myths, and help her to gain valuable insight into a form of cultural heritage that is often overlooked. However, the project wasn't just about knowledge acquisition. As an illustrator, Sakshi had the challenging yet exciting task of translating these stories visually. To achieve this, she meticulously researched the jewellery, fabrics, and aesthetics of the time periods associated with the myths, ensuring her illustrations were both accurate and visually arresting.

Sakshi Mangudkar has not only revived these forgotten stories but also presented them in a way that is both informative and visually appealing, shining a light on the vital role plants have played in shaping Indian culture.