Kashmir’’s famous Chinar trees being felled

December 31st, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by ANI  

By Tahir Bhat
Srinagar, Dec.31 (ANI): The famous Chinar trees that have been a fascination for millions of tourists to watch over the years in Kashmir valley are today facing challenge to their existence here.
Local people have been felling the trees over the years.
Originally brought into the Kashmir Valley in the early 16th century by Mughals, the Chinar trees became the part of heritage in the valley and an ultimate joy to watch by all here. Tourists have chronicled the mighty Chinars as the magic of Kashmir.
Sadly, today many believe it is now a government intervention that can save these rare trees, known as Boin in local parlance here.
“The local people should be given an order not to cut the trees. This is the symbol of both Kashmir and Mughal. The government should spread awareness through TV and radio for the preservation of the trees. The Kashmirs beauty gets enhanced due to the existence of these trees here, said Manzoor, a local resident.
G.S. Naqash, Director of Floriculture Department said that the reason for the decline is due to development which has been taking place in the valley. Many Chinar trees were cut down during last 20 years of turmoil.
“Since last year, we have started ”Chinar Plantation Day” on March 15. In the coming year 2009, we will start Chinar plantation from March 15. We will select
the places and roads where there is no shadow and plant them. And every year March 15 will be observed as ”Chinar Plantation Day”. Chinar plants will also be distributed to the local people free of cost. Here Chinar plants is considered as the pride of Kashmir,” G.S. Naqash added.
Experts say construction work around the Chinar trees has made their roots weak.
The tree is at its most elegance and exuberance during autumn. Chinar grows to a height of 25 meters and a girth exceeding 50 feet in certain cases.
Some Kashmiri historians point out that the Chinars were brought from Central Asia by Mughal kings. Some say that Mughal emperor Jehangir nourished the 1,000 chinar trees planted in Naseem Bagh, presently the Kashmir university campus, with milk.
A Chinar with the largest circumference of 60 feet is located at a village named Chattergam in central Kashmir.
Kashmir landscape is incomplete without these majestic trees as it adds to the charm and beauty of the valley. (ANI)

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