Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Greening our temples through vriksha archane

Even if you want it chopped, it wouldn’t be easy to find someone willing to cut down an inconvenient neem or jack-fruit tree at your backyard. There is religious sanction against felling some species. We worship peepul or banyan as the abode of deities.

But it doesn’t occur to many of us to plant trees around places of worship. Sri Ranganatha Temple at Srirangapatna attracts scores of tourists who rarely look around its immediate vicinity.

Car park contractor here collects Rs.20 per vehicle (exorbitant, by any standard) but it doesn’t occur to those making money from visiting devotees to part with part of it by planting trees for the benefit of their parked vehicles.

This scene around Karibetta, a temple on a Srirangaptna hilltop appears drought-affected, with a lone tree under which visiting cars fight for space. For the off-shade day temperature here could be scorching. The place can do with some greenery. A refreshing aspect is that the temple management has fitted a solar lamp to light up sanctum sanctorum. Solar light was fixed some five years. That its fittings need some looking-into to stop the constant flicker of the solar lamp is quite another matter. The point is the temple authorities may not need much persuasion to adopt the vrisha archane concept, as a means to turn the temple surroundings green.One could see isolated hill slope plantation and also neem planted all along the winding hill road to the temple top. But the road and the place can take in lot more trees.

Vrisha archane. The name first occurred to us while waiting at darshan queue in Nimishamba Temple, Srirangapatna. It is an idea to promote the green message. Devotees make offerings of fruits, flowers, tulsi leaves, coconut and a host of other items through archane at temples. Why not persuade them to offer, along with their archane, saplings for planting in the temple vicinity.

Those who wish to plant the saplings, so blessed by their favourite deity,in their own backyard or neighbourhood park could do so. In case there is no space on the temple premises the saplings collected through archane could be given away for planting in public parks and other open space.

The thought of offering saplings at temple occurred to us during a recent visit to Ambegal Krishna temple, near Chennapatna, on the Mysore-Bangalore road. The ancient temple is located in the middle of a hamlet that had evidently developed around the place of worship.

The street right in front and also the approach road lacked any greenery. The temple attracts devotees from all over the place. They are mostly married couples praying for a child. And those blessed come back with their young one on a thanks-giving visit. The blessed couples offer to the deity tiny little cradles made of wood or silver.
If every such couple offered a sapling to Ambegal Krishna to mark the birth of their child, we would see the area around the temple turning green in a few years.


chaithanya said...

This is one awesome idea..

Dr YNI Anand said...

The idea is excellent. As is always the case with me, whenever I think of asking someone else to plant saplings somewhere else, I am worried about the future of the sapling. There should be a constant supervision of the saplings as regards their care and growth. Should we say that it is, "Easier Done Than Said"!

Indrani Ghose said...

Very novel idea Sir. But it should not be plant and forget as Dr. Anand said.

If there is a dedicated team of green warriors or green brigade who will be mostly the locals in the vicinity, the future of saplings can be taken care of. If the youths around these places where the saplings are planted are inducted with a sense of responsibilty then I think more than half the problem is solved.

But easier said than done. Media may have to be roped in, roadside talks by responsible citizens in and around the area can also be helpful.

H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana said...

It is an excellent idea and it can revolutionise attitude to divert people from blind ritualistic religious adherance to awaken social consciousness that sevice to society is the highest form of serrvice to God. After my retirement the first thing I did was to plant seven trees infront of my house. Six survived consistiang of two Honge, one Basavanapada and three ashoka trees which ahve grown up in these 14 years. Yes, the best place are th temples where in many cases are surrounded by lot of free spaces around. In fact in Sharadadevinagaar Balamuri Gnesh temple I had sugggested planting of trees to the trustess and nothing has been done as yet. This gives me opportunity to persuade tham again in adifferent mode. I also said that they shoudl contact Yellappa Reddy who was once the secretary in govt of Karnataka in charge of forests. The idea was he could suggest medicinal planats and towalk under it would be medically beneficial since they breathe the air wafted from the trees as he told me. I suggested this for Manu Vana when they were remodelling it. In addition I requested him to contact NHAI authorities to see that such special trees can be palnted in the median of highwaays. Yes, we shoudl all try our best in this regard. It is a great idea to follow up
H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana

shanks said...

It takes a lot of effort to plan a tree and to care for it in the initial days. First one need to go to the Forest dept (Hunsur road), there the concerned person should be there, next to have a guard, we need to give a letter to the same dept at Woodyards near Ashokapuram, they will not give in 1's and 2's so need to convince them and even bribe them to have 1 tree guard.

We all love to have trees in the visinity of house and office, but unfortunately our priority is elsewhere. If the entire process is friendly, belive me more and more trees will be planted and guarded.

The above illustration is not out of my mind but my experiance.

Gouri Satya said...

An excellent idea. The temple priest or authorities can collect a small fee and appoint a gardner to take care of the saplings planted. In the earlier days, each temple had its own garden for daily procurement of flowers and tulsi leaves. This should be revived.


This is an excellent idea - and in keeping with today's awareness of greening the environment. And I am sure temples will love the idea, as most of them have nandavanams and so the saplings will automatically be taken care of.
I remember that once visitng dignitaries, to special places or on special occasions, used to plant saplings to commemorate the event. An excellent notion, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. This practice should also be revived, but it should be borne in mind that there will have to be sincere follow-ups.
It takes only a day to chop off a tree, but years of nurturing to makeit grow.

Swarna said...

Perhaps, if we are able to convince temple management committees, tree planting could also be a paid pooja - (one of the vazhipaadus)?

Swarna said...

A friend suggests: "individuals can 'lease' a patch within a big area, and treat it like their own garden.
So, people can even sponsor the running of a portion of the garden maintained by the temple."