Department issues directive to temples to grow `Sthala Vriksham'
The Hindu, April 4, 2007 http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/04/stories/2007040420490200.htm
Growing trees corresponding to birth stars being promoted
GOING GREEN: Saplings of `Star' trees at the Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore. — Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
Chennai: The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department has issued a directive to the administrators of around 250 HR &CE-run temples in and around Chennai to grow the `Sthala Vriksham,' (temple tree) in their premises.
The Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane thus has a protected `Magizham' (Mimusops) tree and the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore the Punnai (Alexandrian Laurel) tree.
The temples are also promoting the concept of growing trees corresponding to birth stars.
According to S. Krishnamurthy, a consultant on `Nakshathra' trees, the HR & CE Department had permitted him to grow the trees in the grounds at the Sri Tiruvattesswarar Pettai Temple. The trees are displayed at the temples in Triplicane and Mylapore.
Mr. Krishnamoorthy said the practice of identifying trees according to one's birth star had been in existence for over 3,000 years.
Besides conserving the environment, the trees ensured adequate presence of ground water in the areas it is grown. With the support of the department, the tree planting is taking place on three acres of land in Triplicane.
`Star' tree varieties
The 27 `star' trees include banyan, Indian oak, Bengal quince, neem, wood apple, peepal, bamboo and flame of the forest, queen's flower, mango and stunted jack, among others.
P. Sudhakar, Joint Director, C.P. Ramaswamy Environmental Education Centre (CPR EEC), said they had developed a `Nakshathra Vanam' and a `Rasi Vanam' at the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.
On a birthday, wedding or any auspicious occasion, people can contribute Rs. 500 for planting the tree of their choice. The CPR EEC maintains the tree for three years.