For a 63-year-old on dialysis, Punya Poudyal is bursting with energy. Both his kidneys have failed him, but he continues to work on his lifelong passion, bamboo, and share his knowledge with the world.
Poudyal, who has spent almost 40 years researching bamboo and rattan, is now working with a few other enthusiasts to establish a world-class Bamboo Botanical Garden on a sprawling four-hectare plot in Budanilkantha. The unique garden will also provide some much-needed green public space.
Poudyal has travelled the world presenting papers on the subject, and has come a long way from his small village in Tehrathum. After topping his batch of teacher trainees in the Sano Thimi National Vocational Training Centre in 1967, Poudyal won a government scholarship to study bamboo and rattan in the Philippines. He has over fifty professional journal publications, and established projects as far afield as Samoa and Papua New Guinea that are still active and profitable after two decades. His latest book, Bamboos of Sikkim (India), Bhutan and Nepal, is a comprehensive guide on the plant in the region and will be published next week. Next in line are books on bamboos of the world and even one on global bamboo experts.
Visiting Poudyal at his home is like an adventure into an exotic tropical land. He has a vast collection bamboo and rattan products, and a garden filled with 30 different species, each of which he can lovingly identify and praise. Here's hoping 'hero master', as his former students in Bhadrapur Secondary School in Jhapa nicknamed him, proves as resilient as the plant that he loves.