To increase the green cover, the monks of Naharkatia in Dibrugarh district of Assam has conducted a ceremony to “ordain” trees, which they say will bring an end to deforestation and the decline of the environment.
Hundreds of monks in a bid to raise awareness about the environment among local communities offered prayers and tied a piece of red cloth around the trees to stop people from cutting them.
The head priest, Bhadanta Gyanpaal Mahathere of Namphake Buddhist Monastery took up this unique initiative on July 8th, 2019 at the Jeypore Rainforest to mark the ongoing Van Mahotsav and draped the trees with the ‘sacred’ red cloth to save the environment.
Van Mahotsav is an annual tree-planting movement in India which initially began in 1950. Van Mahotsav means the festival of trees and it has gained significant importance every year. Millions of saplings are planted across India in observation of Van Mahotsav.
Illegal logging is reportedly rampant in the Joypur Tehsil due to an inadequate number of forest guards. Hence, Gyanpaal with his Sramanas(monks) and nature lovers offered prayers as per Buddhist rituals in a bid to protect the rainforest from the wrongdoers.
“Trees help us to breathe and survive hence, we are also responsible for their survival. That’s why we along with different NGOs and various Buddhist organization came out to pray for their long life while tying the red cloth around 50 to 60 trees. In the coming days, we will perform the same exercise along the National Highway with the same moto,” said Gyanpaal.