Campaign to save Banyan tree near Lucknow

November 14th, 2007 - 2:51 am ICT by admin  
Lucknow, Oct.25 (ANI): A nearly 150-year-old overgrown Banyan tree in Itoonja Village of Lucknow has spread over a huge piece of land meant for mango cultivation. The villagers consider the Banyan tree to be sacred and do not want to cut the overgrowth.

The tree has spread over 3.6 hectares (nine Bighas), which would have been used for mango cultivation. In Itoonja, 40 kilometres from Lucknow, about 70 per cent of the village land is under mango cultivation.

“This tree is at least 150 years old. I have watched the tree for past six years and it is growing beyond imagination. I have never heard of a Banyan tree growing this big,” said Lakshmi Devi, a housewife who worships the tree.

The banyan tree has spread like a canopy over mango trees. But despite the orchards’ growth and mangos’ quality being affected by the gigantic banyan tree, the god-fearing villagers are not willing to cut tree shoots.

The villagers are in a dilemma. Itoonja Village is known State-wide for its delicious Dusseheri mangoes.

“Years ago a saint Baba Haribansh used to live in this jungle. This tree did not exist then. Later, when the saint died, this banyan tree sprouted up over his tomb and started growing bigger and bigger. Today, this tree is spread over many fields.

There are many stories ciculating about the mysterious powers of the tree. “Whoever tries to cut its branches or harm this tree, faces misfortune. Our village Head Bhola tried to cut the tree’s branches that were spreading over his field. But he died within a few days. Recently a drunkard who insulted the tree met with a similar fate,” said Ram Singh, a villager. (ANI)

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