Pimple Saudagar, Pune 411027 India
In a major initiative to boost tree plantation and improve the ecology of the state, the Government of Gujarat has embarked upon an ambitious drive since the year 2004. This initiative not only aims at tree plantation but, more importantly, at involving the people of Gujarat by introducing them to different plants and trees through various types of Sanskritik Vans discussed earlier, and through them to the ancient Indian traditions both mythological and medicinal. The Sanskritik Vans are established at 10 different sites up to year 2013. It has been decided to celebrate 65th State level Van Mahotsav at Kagvad, Ta. Jetpur, Dist. Rajkot, during year 2014 named "Shakti Van” will be opened to the people by Hon’ble Chief Minister, during this celebration. The series of Sanskritik Vans formed in Gujarat, as a part of State Level Van Mahotsav celebration, are described in this booklet.
In 2004, 6th July with the inspiration of Mr. Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Gujarat State, this idea was conceived at Gandhinagar Van Mahotsava and executed in the shape of the Punit Van. The Punit Van is a synthesis of Panchvati, Nakshatra Van, Rashi Van, Navgraha Van, and Arogya (Charak) Van. A Bilva Van in the shape of a Shivling has also been included. The Punit Van is, however, not merely a botanical collection; it is a modern park with all the amenities for people of every age. It has a joggers' track, an amphitheatre, a resting place (van kutir), and a fountain besides the usual civic amenities. On the whole, this Punit Van is integration of ancient culture and faith with plantation of trees, making it a unique centre. It is also a crucial hub of tourism for Gandhinagar. Over a period, this site turned a tourist cum entertainment park. The area of Punit is 6.0 ha
With inspiration from Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the year 2005, an innovative approach, first time in the history of Van Mahotsava in Gujarat was adopted to deviate from the practice of holding the Van Mahotsava at Gandhinagar, the State Capital. The emphasis is to organize the Van Mohotsava functions at different Districts in the State to involve more and more people in tree planting. The year also witnessed the establishment of the Mangalya Van at Ambaji located 179 kms from Ahmedabad on the Arasur hill in the Aravali Range in Banaskantha district. More than 60 lakhs pilgrims visit Ambaji every year. It is one of the 64 Shaktipiths, where pieces of the body of Sati, Shiva's consort fell. The Mangalya Van has Navgraha Van, Rashi Van, Om Vatika and water pond in an area of 3.5 ha. The most interesting feature of the Mangalya Van is the Nav Dampati Van- plantation of trees carried out exclusively by 501 newly-weds in the traditional Gujarati attire on 17th July 2005. The "Om Vatika" is a gigantic created with differently colored foliage plants. The usual amenities for people are also available. After eight years since its establishment, the site turned an important tourist spot in Gujarat. A large number of people visit the site and learn about our tradition of conserving trees.
Taranga (Taranga Tirtha) is a Jain pilgrimage center, 120 kms from Ahmedabad, in Mehsana district of Gujarat, where an exquisite temple was built by the Solanki dynasty king Kumarpal in 1121 AD. Old temple of lord Ajitnathaji is a heritage site. It has excellent carving in architecture. Thousands of pilgrims visit this place every year. Thus, Taranga assumes special importance as a holy pilgrimage centre and a tourist centre. Keeping in view the significance of the centre for the followers of Jainism, a Tirthankar Van was set up on 13th July, 2006. This 'Van' is planned in the typical design of Kalpa Vruksha Yantra. The Tirthankar Van also has Nakshatra Van, Navgraha Van, Rashi Van and SripamiVan. Taranga hill is located in the western end of the Aravallis and it is south-west of Sabarmati. The rocky hills covered by Anogeissus forest form a hilly landscape. It is also the site for a Nature Education Camp. TirthankarVan add educational value to the site. Area of Tirthankar Van is 5.4 ha.
The temple of Somnath is one of the oldest holy places in India as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Shiva. It is situated on the western coast of India at Somnath of Gir-Somnath District in Gujarat State. More than 50 lakhs tourists are visiting every year. On 23rd July, 2007 saw the establishment of the Harihar Van at Somnath. A number of new ideas have been included in the Harihar Van at Somnath, e.g. Panch Valkal Van, Shiva Panchayatan Van, Hari Shankari Van, Saptarshi Van, Rudraksha Van, Jyotirlinga Van, Golok Dham Van and Harihar Van. With experience and growing confidence, the people of Gujarat are confident of transforming their state into a model of ecological restoration in consonance with its overall development. Area of Harihar Van is 1.6 ha.
Bhakti Van was developed in the year 2008, as a part of 59th Van Mahotsav celebration. It was set up in the foothills of Chotila in Surendranagar District, on National Highway No. 8. It is 170 kms away from Ahmedabad and opened to the people 18th July, 2008. The famous temple of "Chamunda Mataji” is located here. More than 40 lakhs pilgrims visit this place every year. The area is devided in to three parts (1) Tulsi Kund (2) Bhakti Van (3) Punit Van. One seeding distribution centre, Van kutir and fountain has been established here. Ayurvedic species are raised in reference to Nirogi Bal Varsh (Healthy Child Year). At Chotila, it is now important site for tourists. Area of Bhakti Van is 5.8 ha.
60th Van Mahotsav was celebrated at "SHAMLAJI” in Sabarkantha District of Gujarat State on 18th July, 2009. Shamlaji is situated on National Highway No. 8 and 127 kms away from Ahmedabad. The famous temple of "Lord Vishnu” is located here. More than 30 lakhs of tourists visit Shyamal Van. Main entrance with carving, Dashavatar Van, Nakshtra Van, Rashi Van, Dhanvantari Van, Dev Van, Smruti Van and Grahvatika are established. Fountain, Lawn, Play ground for children, Van Kutir (rest hut), Agro Forestry Plot, Modern nursery, Bamboo plantation, interpretation centre, Tree museum are the highlights of the site. Area of Shyamal Van is 6.3 ha.
Palitana, a known religious site of Jains, is visited by thousands of people from India and abroad. The state government decided to celebrate 61st Van Mahotsav in 2010 by creating Pawak Van at Palitana by planting trees having importance in the Jain religion. Pawak Van was established and opened to the people on 30th July, 2010 in a function which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi while celebrating State Level Van Mahotsava. The objective of the Pawak Van is to develop a tourist spot where people can learn about our tradition and culture for preserving and protecting trees. An area of 7.4 ha was fenced on Garjiya Road to established a wonderful plantation where people enjoy while learning about the importance of trees. In this area, Amrit Mahotsav Van, Vihang Vatika, Rayan Van, Damara Vatika, Arogya Van, Sushrut Van, Tirthankar Van, Rashi Van, Nakshatra Van, Shetrunjay Van, Lotus pond, garden and children play area have been created to attract visitors. Total number of 95 species of trees/plants have been planted in the Pawak Van. Vad, Pipal, Pipado, Umaro, Rayan, Borsalli, Bel or Billi, Kadaya, Khati amli, Peltroforum, Garmado or Amaltas, Gugad, Kalam, Rukhado, Mahudo, Sisso, Neem, Bamboo etc have been planted in the Pawak Van. Large number of people – about 45,000 participated in function in which Pawak Van was opened to people by planting seedlings by the Hon’ble Chief Ministers, Forest Minister and other dignitaries.
"Virasat Van” is established in 6.50 ha. Of areas at Jepura-Pavagadh, Dist.: Panchmahals during State Level Van Mahotsav celebration on 31st July, 2011. It is a famous religious site of "Mahakali Mataji”. Pavagadh – Champaner is important site with a historical, spiritual, archeological, geological point of view. UNESCO has declared this site as a "World Heritage Site” in the year 2004. In the background of this fact, it was decided to establish Sanskritik Van at this place. To involve more & more people with tree plantation, this Sanskritik Van has been divided in to 7 themes – (1) Anand Van (2) Arogya Van (3) Aradhya Van (4) Sanskritik Van (5) Aajivika Van (6) Nisarg Van (7) Jaivik Van. Besides this, attractive entrance, bridges, tanks, fountain, van kutir, van kedi, play ground for children, grass plot, cafeteria etc… are the highlights of this site. A large number of tourists visit this cultural forests.
‘Jaliawaal Baug Messacre’ in Punjab has been written in golden letters in the history of independence of our country. But rarely anybody knows that earlier than this, people more than, Jaliawala had sacrificed their life at Mangadh, 25 km from Santrampur at Rajasthan border. As per the history of the site, the local "Bhil People” fought against the injustice – tyranny of British Government, on 17th November 1913 under the leadership of Shri Guru Govind. In this was over 1500 Men, Women & Children sacrificed their lives. As a tribute to "Martyrs” of this historical incident, the Gujarat Forest Department has established "Govind Guru Smruti Van” at Mangadh Hill and opened to the people 30th July, 2012. "Govindguru Smruti Van” has been created in order to pay homage to Shri Govind Guru and his tribal disciples who laid their life on this pious spot. In order to connect the people with tree raising, five thematic sections have been created in this Sanskrutic Van and they are – (1) Shahid Van, (2) Rashi Van, (3) Nakshatra Van, (4) Bilawa Van and (5) Tulsi Van. Interpretation centre and other facilities have been created at the site in an area of about 5.0 ha. After establishment of the cultural forest, thousands of people from Gujarat, Rajasthan and also from Madhya Pradesh started visiting the site every day.
During 2013, 64th Van Mahotsav was celebrated on 02-08-2013 at Nageshwar which in one of "Jyotirlinga” situated 17 kms away from world famous Hindu pilgrim place Dwarka in Dev Bhumi Dwarka district which on the western side of the State. These Lord Krishna’s karma Bhumi Dwarka and famous Jyotrilinga Nageshwar, both are religiously and spiritually important ancient places are visited by pilgrims and tourists in large numbers every year. Here 300 metres away from the temple a "Nagesh Van” is set up on 6.0 ha. Of land. In this Sanskrutik Van (1) Nav Grah Van (2) Nakshatra Van (3) Rashi Van (4) Panchvati Van (5) Charak Van (6) Gugal Van (7) Tulsi Van (8) Bili Van (9) Vad Pipal Vatika (10) Palm Groove (11) Boundary Plantation (wind break) and (12) Shelter Belts are raised. In the memory of lord Krishna who killed a demon named ‘Daruka’, Daruka Van is also set up in this Van.
Besides this beautification of Man Sarovar is done by planting Jamun, Arjun Sadad, Vad, Pipal and Babool trees on the bank and around the lake. Besides this Entry Gate to Sanskritik Van, Van Kutir, Man Sarovar Lake, Watch Tower, Kailash Parbat, Marine interpretation Centre, Garden, Bridge and Road, Fountain etc. are also develop in this Van. In this place beautiful idols of Lord Shiva Parivar on Kailash Parbat, Yogeshwar Lord Krishna and Panch Janya Shankh (Cronch) of Lord Krishna are installed. A demonstration of Marine Life, Marine Flora and Geological transformation etc. are exhibited in Marine Interpretation Centre at Nagesh Van.
In the year 2014, 65th Van Mahotsava is planned to celebrate in ‘Khodal Dham’ at Kagvad of Jetpur Taluka, District Rajkot. A Sanskritik Van known as a ‘Shakti Van’ is planned to set up in wide open premise where a splendid Godess Khodiyar Temple is under construction by Khodal Dham Trust and it has been opened to public by the Honourable Chief Minister in the State level function of Van Mahotsav.
|OBJECTIVES OF ESTABLISHING SANSKRITIC VANS OR CULTURAL FORESTS|
|To increase active participation of the people for increasing tree cover.||To improve bio diversity & environment.|
|To make people acquainted with our ancient culture.||To strengthen our cultural & traditional values for protecting trees.|
|To create awareness among people about religious & medicinal plants.||To generate employment.|
|To connect people with tree plantation & protection.||To develop cultural sites.|