Imagine putting your hands around the trunk of a tree near your house. You will probably be able to do it with some help.
But for this Semal (Bombax Ceiba) or silk cotton tree, which stands in the Nandhaur Wildlife Reserve in Uttarakhand, you will need more than a dozen of your friends to hug it.
Two months ago, a patrolling party of the forest department stumbled upon this tree in compartment no. 1 of the Jaulasal forest range, also known as Bargot among the forest guards, famous for its rich biodiversity and thick jungles.
According to forest department officials, the girth of the tree is a massive 54 feet which is more than that of two Haldu trees in the reserve. At 35 feet, these trees were believed to have the maximum girth and held a place of pride in the reserve spread across Nainital and Champawat districts of the hill state.
Deputy director of Nandhaur reserve, PC Arya, said such a girth was unheard of in the region and this could be one of the most massive trees ever discovered.
“We have estimated its age to be between 150 to 200 years and the height is at 120 feet,” Arya said.
The forest department now feels this wonder of nature must be showcased to tourists and nature lovers and which in turn will help promote tourism in the famed tiger and biodiversity reserve known for its thick jungles filled with hundreds of trees, animals, birds and butterflies.
“We would be making a trail leading up to the tree and signs proclaiming about the massive girth of the tree and its uniqueness would be put up at the site,” Arya said.
Dhani Arya, a botanist at the Kumaon University, also said such a massive girth is unheard of in Semal trees.
“There might have been many factors that could have contributed to the girth of this tree, including isolation, nutrition, long age, etc, and the reason would become clear only after proper research and investigation,” said the botanist.