Bid to save ailing trees at Takht

Bathinda, Punjab: More than 400 years old ailing Jand tree at Jandsar Gurdwara under which Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, is known to have tied his horse and two Kreer trees located on the premises of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo are being revived.

Scientists from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, and Guru Kashi University (GKU), Talwandi Sabo, have joined hands to revive these plantations that hold great significance for devotees.

Headed by GKU vice-chancellor Dr NS Malhi, a team of scientists, including registrar Satish Goswami, senior horticulturist from GKU Dr BS Chahal, Dr Gurjit Singh and Dr Karamdeep Singh from PAU, visited the Takht today and started treatment of the three trees by removing the dried branches and spraying pesticides.

“The devotees have been watering these plants as well as throwing grains at its roots to feed birds. Both the plants (Jand and Kreer) are xerophytic plants that have extremely low water requirement,” said Dr BS Chahal while talking to TNS.

He added that watering of the trees over the years led to flooding of their roots which in turn was affecting their overall health. Besides, devotees offer grains for birds at a raised platform around the trees thereby causing termite, caterpillars and white ant attacks.

“Apart from treating the trees for white ant and termite infestation, we have also removed webs from the inner portions of the trunks,” Dr Chahal added.

The GKU team decided to take up restoration of these trees to their pristine health after Dr Malhi came across the ailing trees during his visit to the Takht.

Dr Malhi spoke to the SGPC authorities and tied up with PAU scientists.

Dr Kamaljit Singh Sangha of PAU added that the gurdwara management has been advised to ensure the trees out of bounds for devotees either by fencing it or by deputing a ‘sewadar’.

Dr Chahal said the gurdwara management had been requested to dissuade devotees from watering the trees or putting grains. “We have treated the trees with chemicals and cleared the grains. If grains are thrown again and birds consume it, they may die. The gurdwara management has been asked to enlighten devotees about this aspect so that innocent birds or other organisms are saved,” he said.

In the first phase of the project, the pest control was initiated today. Once the three trees are treated for the pest attack, they would be given growth hormones. It would take at least two years to revive the trees.

While Takht Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh was not available for comments the manager of the Takht, Jagpal Singh, said he was out of station.

Earlier, a team of scientists from PAU, Ludhiana, had treated Ber Baba Budha Sahib, Dukh Bhanjani Ber and Elaichi Beri at Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. These trees had dried up due to various reasons.

           Infusing life

  • The Jand tree at Jandsar Gurdwara under which Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, is known to have tied his horse and two Kreer trees on the premises of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo are being revived.
  • Watering of the trees over the years led to flooding of their roots which in turn was affecting their overall health. Besides, devotees offer grains for birds at a raised platform around the trees thereby causing termite, caterpillars and white ant attacks.
  • In the first phase of the project, the pest control was initiated. Once the trees are treated for the pest attack, they would be given growth hormones. It would take two years to revive the trees.

Source: The Tribune

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