Holy tree at Gita's birthplace awaits healing touch

There is relief in sight for a decaying ‘holy tree’ in Haryana’s Kurukshetra town where Lord Krishna is believed to have given the message of the Gita to Arjuna, with forestry experts exploring ways of reviving the nearly century-old banyan tree.

Pathologists and botanists from the 107-year-old Forest Research Institute in Dehradun have prepared a blueprint to revive the holy tree at Jyotisar.

“Our team has visited the spot and chalked out a revival strategy on the request of the Kurukshetra Development Board,” said FRI director P P Bhojvaid.

N S K Harsh, head of the forest pathology division of FRI, said, the holy tree is suffering the most due to a marble stone structure around its root. “The marble flooring and platform around the tree are not allowing water percolation and gaseous exchange, suffocating the roots,” he said.

The tree, which stands beside a pond, is also the focal point of a popular sound and light show. It is suffering due to the wires of the speakers and lights strapped around its branches, he said.

“Chains, bells and signboards that have been tied or nailed to it are causing injuries. Plucking of aerial roots and bark and etching of names by unscrupulous devotees are also causing damage,” said Harsh.

The ignored holy tree’s stem gives hollow sound, on being struck with a hard object, indicating the spread of fungal decay from base upwards, said the pathologist.

“We plan to offer a micro-nutrient treatment for the tree, besides the removal of
the marble structure around it for allowing its aerial prop roots to get a footing for longevity,” added Harsh.

“The tree is leaning on one side and is not balanced as a result of improper growth of the canopy,” he said. The rescue act may also involve treating leaves for diseases that have caused premature defoliation, he said.

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