The ancient banyan tree in Jyotisar under which Lord Krishna is believed to have delivered a sermon of Bhagwada Gita may soon have a new lease of life.
Following recommendations by scientists, the Kurukshetra Development Board (KDB) has got an administrative approval for the restoration of the legendary tree, which is believed to be 200-years-old.
“The board will soon write to the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, to submit its recommendations on restoring the tree's health,” NS Malik, the chief executive officer, KDB, said. The FRI would start the restoration activities on experts' suggestion to ensure that a status quo order of the Punjab and Haryana high court order was not breached, he said.
Following the KDB's initiative, a team from the Dehradun institute led by plant pathologist NSK Harsh had visited Jyotisar, 10km from Kurukshetra, in October last year to study the “ailing” tree. “The tree is not dying but it is under tremendous stress. It is a victim of religious practice of tying threads on hanging roots and branches, and unscientific maintenance,” Harsh told Hindustan Times over phone from Dehradun.
The marble floor around the tree, meant for the convenience of visitors, is another cause for concern. “Stone flooring has hampered the water absorption capacity of the tree. Besides, prop roots, which grow from the lower part of a stem or trunk down to the ground, providing a plant with extra support, have no space due to large marble structure,” said the expert, who has contributed in the restoration of Mahabodhi tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. He is against using the tree for the KDB's light-and-sound show.
This is not all. “Electrical equipment is nailed into the tree, disturbing its natural system. Apart from it, nets are used to prevent falling of leaves but it affects natural growth of branches,” Harsh added.