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Tiny J&K Village Could Become The Proud Owner of World’s Largest Cedar Tree

A Cedar tree found in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir could be the largest and oldest in the world Given the mammoth trunk size, FSI team will soon conduct research Officials and local people now want the Cedar to be declared as a heritage tree
Indian Masterminds Stories

Just few days back, Chanti Bala, a small village in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, suddenly became news for mainstream media. The reason is, a huge tree of Cedar (Deodar), in the village is now believed to be the world’s largest and oldest Cedar tree. With its trunk at 54 feet near the ground and breast diameter at 35 feet, the tree was discovered in the Bhaderwah Forest Division of Doda district.

As the forest officials told the villagers living nearby that it could be the largest and the oldest Cedar tree in the world, there was much excitement all around. A public representative announced Rs. 10 lakh for the beautification of the area around the tree. The people are also demanding that it should be declared as a ‘heritage tree’.

Indian Masterminds interacted with DFO of Bhaderwah, Mr. Chander Sheikher, to get more details.

THE TREE SIZE

One of the largest and famous Cedar trees in the world can be found in Himachal Pradesh. The ‘Kanasar Giant Deodar’ has a 6.35 meters breast diameter, and has been registered as a landmark tree of India.

While the Cedar found in J&K has a 10.5 meter (34 feet) diameter. So, Kashmir’s name can be registered in the special forest wealth category for having the oldest thick trunk Cedar. Silviculture parameters were adapted to measure the trunk’s thickness.

The thickness of the stem was found to be 55 feet very near the ground, but under silviculture, its stem was found to be 33 ft and 4 1/2 ft above the ground.

This tree was found in compartment number 57 of the Forest Department. Encouraged by this discovery, the Department is now going to conduct research on it. Officials believe that it is one of the thickest trunked Cedar trees in not only Asia, but in the world.

Mr. Sheikher said, “Since this is a preliminary survey, we have not officially declared it as the largest and oldest yet. We will take this up with the Forest Survey of India (FSI). They will send their team here and only then, we will announce. But, given the thickness and the size of the tree, it seems the largest.”

The moment forest officials’ eyes felt on it, they knew the tree was extraordinary. An expert team was called for its measurement. When the team members tried to form a human chain around the trunk of the tree, it took 16 persons to do it, that too by standing close to the trunk.

IS IT THE OLDEST?

The gigantic tree, located on the eastern hill of Gandoh, is 124 km from the Doda district headquarter. The tree has also religious significance for the Nag devotees. It has been worshipped for centuries by the local people.

DFO Sheikher further said that if the people are to be believed, then 12 generations have been worshipping the tree till now. That is why, it is believed to be centuries old.

On the possibility of the tree being the oldest in the world, he said, “The average life of a Cedar tree is 200 to 250 years. But, this tree could be 500 years old or more. We will confirm it after the FSI survey.”

He further explained that a Cedar tree has a remarkable longevity of up to 1,000 years due to its great height and the way its branches droop.

The sarpanch of Chanti Bala added to the mystery of the tree with his words. Sarpanch Sansar Chand said, “Our forefathers told us that when someone tried to cut the branches of the tree, blood and a milk-like fluid started oozing out of it and ever since then, no one has dared to harm the tree.”

BEAUTIFICATION

Whether it will be ultimately declared as the oldest or not, there’s no denying the fact that the tree has become an asset for the district. Villagers are happy and excited about the prospects that the huge largest cedar tree can bring as it will draw tourists to their area to see it. The area is one of the most backward areas in Jammu & Kashmir.

Hence, apart from the local people, the Panchayat Raj Institution (PRI) members have also demanded that the location be brought under the tourism map.

While the forest department has decided to conserve the area near the tree and also built a park there.
Informing that the work will start soon, DCC (District Development Council) member Changa Nadeem, who has sanctioned Rs. 10 lakh for the beautification and lighting of the site around the tree, said, “As public representatives, we will try our best to showcase the glory of this unique asset of nature to the outer world. We hope the government, especially the Forest Department will do the needful at the earliest.”


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