The "wan" tree at the shrine of Baba Farid here has been revived with the help of the PAU experts.The tree, Salvadora Indica, is considered to be centuries old. Baba Farid, a Sufi saint, is believed to have visited Mokalsar, as Faridkot was known in those days, in 1215.
"Though nothing can be said about the age of the tree, it is said to be centuries old," says range forest officer Baljeet Singh Brar."The tree holds religious significance as there is hardly any other "wan" tree in the town. Even in Rajasthan, the "wan" trees hold religious significance and are worshipped," Brar adds."It is known for its dark green leaves, which are greener than most other plants and the trees are also known for their longevity," Brar says.
"There were two "wan" trees at the shrine of Baba Farid. One of them had gone completely dry in the late nineties as people used to light mustard oil lamps under it and then touched the tree with oily hands out of reverence. The second tree had also begun to go dry as rodents had almost eaten the stem hollow; putting of oily hands by the devotees was also a reason," says Mahipinder Singh Sekhon, the main sewadar.
"The trees are supposed to be centuries old as Baba Farid had visited the town in the thirteenth century. There is no other wan tress in the town," he adds.
"The stem of the tree had become hollow and it had also developed a fungal disease which led to its dryness. We, on the recommendations of the PAU experts, who had visited the place, filled the hollow stem with soil and dry weeds, treated the tree with two fungicides and washed it. It worked and it has grown leaves," says Amardeep Singh, an assistant sales manager with an insecticide company.
"We have supported the tree with an iron frame as the Dukh Bhanjni Beri has been supported in the Golden Temple, Amritsar, or it would have fallen. The beri tree at the Golden Temple was also revived by the PAU scientists," said Sekhon.
Hundreds of devotees visit the place, especially on Thursdays.