Felling of Trees is Strictly Prohibited in Dharamshala Temple Complex

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 24 2007 7:17 PM

Almost eight hectares of forest land around the "Baba Sidh Goriyan Temple” in Sidhbari near Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh abounds in trees of various kinds.

The belief is that the Baba, the founder of the temple, was a lover of trees, and lovingly planted saplings, over five hundred years. They have grown into a thick forest, and his followers are zealously guarding them.

To prevent timber merchants and their agents from felling the trees, they are planning to build a fence around the forest.

Hari Chand, one of the local residents and followers of the Baba, said: "We are also trying to plant 100 to 200 trees every year. We are planting fruit trees in fertile land and wild trees in rest of the land. We are trying to maintain the forest."

Even the sacred fire which is kept alive through out the year, a tradition started by the earliest followers of the Baba, uses logs of wood from trees that have either dried or been uprooted naturally.

Bishan Giri, the temple priest, said: "We take the wood from the trees which have uprooted or dried. I am 58-year-old and my forefathers have been serving in this temple as well, and it has been like this since then."

And, this belief has led to a custom here which prevents anyone from cutting any tree from the forest areas around the complex. The believers say that cutting of trees is against the Baba’s preaching.

The forest around the temple complex is full of fruit trees that can be pluck by anyone.