Tradition creates Forests


Ritual Ceremonies (Birth, Marriage, New Year, Independence Days) Create Forest


    The forests of India are the unique resources for the survival of several tribes and rural people. Trees have a special place in economic, cultural, healthcare, and several ritual ceremonies for rural India. A number of tribes are known to exist in forests and forests are their sole livelihood for them. Both in rural and urban India, trees are worshiped in different forms. Sacred grooves are the unique examples for the spiritual relationship of people and trees.  Many traditional ceremonies such as marriage, birth, death, festivals etc., are celebrated by either tree planting or by worshiping a tree. To give few examples, neem and pupil trees are planted during various occasions in every village, even people conduct marriages for these plants, which is known to bestow good times  to the village and families who live there. Marriages are performed under ‘the Ashwathakatta’ -a neem and pupil tree married together. The same exists in different forms in different parts of India. Further, tree planting on burial ground or samadhi is another age old tradition. We believe that these traditional rituals also significantly contribute for the increase in greenery and also act as a social system to conduct large-scale afforestation activities. As such sacred grooves are also known to protect biodiversity in India. BCRT has identified various traditional rituals and adopted in an effort to achieve the tree planting and increase the green cover in and around the BCRT campus.  Following are some of the activities that BCRT has adopted and also making them popular among people in and around the campus.


1. Tree planting during Wedding Day


    This was first initiated by Dr. Malali Gowda (Founder, BCRT) and his wife, Roopalakshmi on May 19th, 2001. Soon after their wedding, both had planted two saplings of native tree in their land to mark their marriage day. This inspired many local folks, and from there on, a novel marriage ceremony was held at the BCRT campus on December 2005. In this ceremony, newly wedded couples have planted native tree plants to mark their married life. These ceremonies are the important occasions, because over thousands of people from hundreds of villages have participated at BCRT campus in tree planting campaign on the day of marriage ceremony. Since then several couples have planted trees in the BCRT campus to mark their wedding day. It is heartening to note that most of the people have chosen this as their way to register the marriage in this region.

BCRT started new era in marriage by conducting marriage at campus by planting  tree as part of wedding customs which is a classic example of  how  ‘Ritual ceremonies (birth, marriage and death) creates a forest’ .   Date  : Dec - 04 – 2005 , Venue: BCRT.  click here to know more(Kannada article) on marriage.. 

2. Tree planting on burial ground or Samadhi


This is one of ancient tradition around BCRT campus is exists still today. Local people believe that after a person death, his body parts will decompose slowly and absorbed by tree roots. Then they worship the tree as a person by performing ritual pooja. They also believe that trees are the vehicle or messenger from earth to heaven and vice-versa. We have documented the purpose of planting trees from local people and encouraged to practice this tradition. Different families select different tree species to plant on the Samadhi of loved one. Therefore, we are documenting tree species and their importance in many villages and also encourage them to practice tree planting. We found that tree planted on the samadhi is never allowed to cut down. 

3.Festival of Tree(Hasiru Habba)

BCRT has initiated Green festival or Hasiru Habha on hills, particularly on Seegegudda (also called rain-hill), located 2 KM away from BCRT campus. In this festival, people from several villages around this hill had gathered on 31st July 2006 to celebrate the ‘Festival of Trees’ by planting native tree saplings. This was very successful method to motivate the farmers around Seegegudda (rain-hill). We are planning to conduct ‘Tree Festival’ on every hill at Hassan District by involving farmers to afforest the hills and barren land. Tree Festival is found to be effective in large-scale afforestation of barren and hills.  

4.Tree planting on the Birthday occasions

This was started by a little girl, Boomika at Hassan. She came with an idea to planting a tree for her birthday. She approached BCRT team to make her dream true. Immediately, BCRT team had conducted her birthday on January 2006 in her school at Hassan by planting tree saplings. After seeing Boomika's interest and her contribution to environment, many more school kids came forward to plant trees during their birthday. If this method is followed, an individual’s lifetime, one can plant about 50-100 trees and this would be a remarkable contribution from each person to save our environment for future generations. We are conducting this activity regularly around BCRT campus.

5. Green Day for Indian's Independence Day Celebration

Since the beginning, BCRT has conducted tree planting on 15th of August during Independence Day. This was implemented in various schools around BCRT campus and also spread to Hassan city. We believe that every citizen in India should plant one tree sapling to on the day of Independence to create green India. This method found to be more effective to afforest the private, community and school land premises. We are spreading these activities in various villages, town and cities. The responses are overwhelming for planting trees during Independence Day.  


Over all these methods provided a grass roots level plot-form to carryout large-scale afforestation activities in village and cities.