In line with PM Modi’s vision, sacred forest patch set up en route Badrinath – india news

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to highlight spiritual legacy and history of Char Dham shrines on the way to the sacred pilgrimage, Uttarakhand forest department has set up a special sacred forest patch called Badrivan–the forest of lord Badrinath– where four sacred plant species associated with lord Badri–the deity enshrined at Badrinath– have been grown and put up for pilgrims’ viewing.

Pilgrims can now visit this forest patch en route to know more about the sacred trees associated with lord Badrinath.

Forest officials said Adi Guru Shankaracharya, during his visit to Badrinath shrine, around year 815 AD, is said to have named the forests around Badrinath as ‘Badrivan’ because of the predominance of trees like Badri, Bhojpatra, Badriphal and so on.

Earlier in July this year, the state forest department developed a Green Ramayana Park, where 30 plant species mentioned in Valmiki’s Ramayana and associated with lord Rama have been grown.

The plant species that have been grown and showcased in the special forest patch include Juniperus Macropoda (Badri Tree), Betula Utilis (Bhojpatra), Hippophae Salicifolia (Badriphal) and Origanum Vulgare (Badri Tulsi)

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, chief conservator of forests and in-charge, research wing of the state forest department said this research demonstration plot has been set up in the form of a small sacred forest patch with the sole objective to showcase the peculiar ancient flora associated with lord Badrinath.

“It is spread in an area of one acre on the main highway at Badrinath. Pilgrims can visit this forest patch and know more about these sacred trees. We have put boards with detailed information about these trees there”, he said

“This will not only help pilgrims to know more about these sacred plants but also create more awareness about the rich Himalayan flora which has been revered since ancient times and needs to be protected and conserved at a time when many factors like habitat fragmentation, climate change, forest fires, illegal tree cutting and so on are emerging as threats to their existence,” he said.

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All these four plant species have some sort of mythological significance attached to them.

“Badri Tree has a characteristic aroma and its fruits and leaves are used to make dhoop (incense). Bhojpatra is one of the important ethnobotanical species of Badrinath area, outer bark of which has been used historically for writing as well as for making medicines. People walking to Badrinath shrine used to tie its bark under their feet for making their journey comfortable,” said Chaturvedi.

The third plant species–Badriphal– has been traditionally associated with lord Vishnu, who is believed to have survived on Badriphal while doing penance, he said.

“Badri Tulsi enjoys special religious status as it is offered to Lord Badrinath. This plant is considered lord Badrinath’s favourite one and garlands made from its fresh leaves and twigs are offered at the Badrinath shrine,” he said.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been keenly following and reviewing the development works of Char Dhar shrines. On September 10, when Badrinath shrine master plan was presented before him, Modi emphasised that the Badrinath shrine area should be developed as a mini smart spiritual city, adding that the focus of Badrinath master plan should be on the spiritual legacy of the shrine.

Badrinath and Kedarnath, along with Yamunotri and Gangotri, collectively called Uttarakhand’s Char Dhams, are one of the most revered pilgrimages in the Hindu tradition and attract lakhs of pilgrims each year. Badrinath is located along the banks of the Alaknanda river in Chamoli district at a height of over 10,000 feet.

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