In a first, Uttarakhand develops ‘Green’ Ramayana Park with plant species associated with Lord Rama
Experts found that around 90 percent of the 139 species that have been mentioned in Ramayana are still found in the areas originally mentioned in the religious manuscript.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 11:32 IST
In a first, Uttarakhand’s forest department has developed a Green Ramayana Park where plant species mentioned in Valmiki’s Ramayan and associated with Lord Rama in six major forest types in India, have been grown.
Uttarakhand chief conservator of forests (research wing) Sanjiv Chaturvedi said Green Ramayana Park, which took over six months to develop in Kumaon’s Haldwani area, is the first of its kind thematic project touching the little-explored aspect of Ramayana, especially in the context of the flora mentioned in it and associated with the journey of Lord Rama across four main forest types in India. The two other forests types are associated with deities Sita and Hanuman, he said.
“We explored the available literature and religious texts to find out the plant species associated with Lord Rama. And to our surprise, we found sage Valmiki’s Ramayana as the treasure trove of such information. It is a botanist’s delight. We found around 139 species that have been mentioned in it. So we did some research on these plants and found that nearly 90 percent of them are still found in the areas mentioned by the sage. Then we found their scientific names and selected some 30 representative plants from six main forest types associated with Lord Rama journey, Sita and Hanuman,” he said.
“During Lord Rama’s journey from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka, he came across four types of forests in the Indian subcontinent including Chitrakoot (tropical deciduous), Dandakarnanya (tropical deciduous), Panchavati (tropical dry deciduous) and Kishkindha (dry and moist deciduous). Ashok Vatika (evergreen) is associated with Sita while Dronagiri (alpine forest) is associated with Lord Hanuman,” he said.
Chaturvedi said the most fascinating part is that geographical location and species composition of the forests described in Valmiki’s Ramayana are still more or less the same whether it is Saal and Sagaun in Dandkarayana - which falls in Central India - or Chandan or Raktchandan in Kishkindha region situated in present-day Karnataka or the occurrence of Sita Ashok and Nagkesar in the evergreen forests of Sri Lanka where Ashok Vatika was believed to be situated.
“After a lot of research work, we decided to develop Green Ramayana Park here at Haldwani Biodiversity Park over an acre of land where we have grown these plants and mentioned their Sanskrit names as mentioned in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Their scientific names and the precise number of ‘shloka’ (hymn) wherein the plant species have been mentioned have also been mentioned,” he added.