Hidden Kingdom is book on the fantastical plants of the Western Ghats—with hand-drawn illustrations set to rhyme—intended for children and adults alike. The book is illustrated by Nirupa Rao. It also carries a thoughtful afterword by noted British science writer and broadcaster, Colin Tudge.
Nirupa Rao is a botanical illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her work is inspired by regular field visits into the wild, and informed by close collaboration with natural scientists to achieve accuracy.
A National Geographic Young Explorer, Nirupa received a grant to create her book Hidden Kingdom—Fantastical Plants of the Western Ghats (published in 2019). She has also published Pillars of Life—Magnificent Trees of the Western Ghats (2018), a debut project in collaboration with naturalists Divya Mudappa and TR Shankar Raman of the Nature Conservation Foundation. She illustrated the cover of Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel, Gun Island, and re-jacketed four of his older novels for Penguin-Random House.
In 2019, she participated in a Plant Humanities program at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Centre. She has also been named an INK Fellow, one to ‘watch out for’ in Forbes India’s annual 30 Under 30 issue, and one of Harper’s Bazaar India’s ‘Indian Women to be Proud Of’.