Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, July 21, 2019

What India's ancient sacred sites can teach us about forests

 

 

 

 

A Saravanan and M Mathivanan, research associates with the Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, a scientific research organisation, have been investigating the history and ecological significance of the Nandavanams in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts.



“These are similar to sacred groves in the rest of India,” said Saravanan. “Traditionally such gardens and forests, which surrounded the temple, would hold trees and plants that would be beneficial to the temple. For instance, they would provide oil to the lamps, medicines, fruits and flowers for worship.” While traditionally sacred groves existed before a temple did, Nandavanams were built around a temple. But functionally, they were similar.

 

 

 

 

Some of these old surviving forest patches are invaluable when it comes to shining a light on what a forest might have been like in the area several thousand years ago, like a relic to an ancient civilisation. Considering the Indian government’s rapid march towards creating new forests to combat deforestation, sacred groves, their histories and regeneration can be a blueprint to such plans. 

 

 

Full article: :  http://scroll.in/article/755410/what-can-indias-afforestation-plans-learn-from-ancient-sacred-sites