Genus: Ficus Religiosa
Common Name: The Bodhi Tree / Peepal / Pipal / Ashwattha tree / world tree/ Chaitanya tree
Last month I had the good fortune of being able to go for a morning walk in the Jahapanah city forest and came upon this cluster of Peepal trees. At first I thought this was one big tree but on closer inspection, turned out to be a bunch of them planted close to one another in a circle.
Ringed with benches, this was the popular spot with the morning people who could be seen lounging by or doing deep breathing exercises. I love the heart shaped leaves of this tree which stay green almost throughout the year. The best bit about a Peepal tree is that it releases oxygen even at night. So its quite the air freshner and must be treasured in today’s times of extreme air pollution.
But this tree is also reputed to be very invasive due to its hardiness and can literally grow anywhere. Its not uncommon to see small peepal trees sprouting from sides of buildings, drain pipes, etc. These damage the structure as the roots get in deep.
In fact on one of the tree walks in Lodhi garden, our guide showed us a Peepal tree in an avenue of Kachnar trees. This particular Peepal had begun to grow on the top section of the Kachnar tree and gradually extended both up and down the tree to completely cover it. There is no sigh of the original tree while a healthy Peepal tree prospers there.
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Peepal tree is sacred in Hindu mythology as well as Jainism and Buddhism. its also called the Bodhi tree and thought to be the one under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Its favored by Sadhus to meditate under it as its thought to give out good energy.
This tree has an amazing number of medicinal uses and every part of the tree can be used to cure about 50 ailments. According to religious beliefs, tying a thread around the tree trunk and walking around the tree will cure financial woes. This is especially observed on Saturday when its said that Goddess Laxmi resides under the tree on that day. Its not uncommon to see married women worshiping this tree to invoke blessings for the family.
Joining in the #Thursdaytreelove linky with Parul which is a fortnightly feature every month.
My previous post for this linky can be found here