5 ancient trees in Kotturpuram ‘honoured’

While it is important to plant more trees, it is equally vital to protect the older trees in the neighbourhood, which may face the axe for wider roads. Nizhal, a not-for-profit organisation, teamed up with residents of Kotturpuram, to identify five ancient Indian trees and preserve them.
Shobha Menon, DCP Balakrishnan in front of a tree
Shobha Menon, DCP Balakrishnan in front of a tree

Chennai

Shobha Menon, Founder-Trustee, said that one of the trees was a Vadhanarayanan tree, believed to be more than 75 years old. “In ancient times, the leaves of the tree were used to cure rheumatism,” she said. Another ancient tree, a Vengai variety, has been extolled in Sangam literature, Shobha said. “There have been stories of how Lord Muruga turns into a Vengai tree. 
When this tree is in bloom, the yellow flowers are supposed to resemble a tiger, which is known as Vengai,” she explained. The Nagalingam, Kalyanamurugai, and Puliyamaram trees in Kotturpuram were also labelled, with a granite board, where names of the trees and a short description in Tamil were painted. “People don’t know much about trees, especially those which are decades old. 
We have to keep talking about these trees, raising awareness on their importance, especially for the later generation,” Shobha said, adding, these trees were honoured by Deputy Commissioner of Police, V Balakrishnan, who placed granite plaques beside them. 
“Since metal boards tend to get vandalised, we sought the help of Greater Chennai Corporation to get the rejected granite stones while rebuilding pavements. 
When I went to purchase sand and cement to create the resting support for the granite slab, Muthukani Nadar, an 83-yearold, who ran a construction material store in the vicinity, didn’t charge us a penny, after he came to know of our cause,” Shobha added. 

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