Monks support efforts to conserve holy Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya

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Bodhgaya, May 8 :Monks at Bodhgaya support scientific efforts to conserve the holy Bodhi tree at Mahabodhi Temple that has been revered by the Buddhists across the world for over 2,000 years.

The Monks who had earlier demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged vandalism on the famous Mahabodhi tree have now approved of the scientic measures to save the holy tree.

"Scientists told us that all that they are doing is to save this tree that we revere. So, today they had chopped off a few branches and I think if it will be good for the health of the tree, we should not behave like religious fanatics," said Bhet Priyapal, a Buddhist monk.

With over 2,000-year-old legacy attached to the Bodhi tree, the devotees used to chop off its branches or taking twigs for keepsake, and that was causing a grave threat to its existence. But, now that practice has been stopped.

Scientists from the Forest Research Institute (FRI) who treated the diseased portions of the Bodhi tree said the tree was now healthy. They said that they would be inspecting and analyzing the holy tree every six months.

"I wouldn't say it is diseased, it is giving a healthy look now. But we are working for its better health," said Subhash Naatiyal, Plant physiologist, FRI Dehradun.

The scientists denied reports about regulating flow of people at the site or cloning of the tree that had sparked off controversies.

"We are not regulating flow of people or anything else. All that we are saying is that if 1000 odd people congregate under the tree, it might effect the soil in the region.I don't know from where you get such information, we are being asked this by journalists all over. We are not doing anything of this sort," said N.S.K.Harsh,plant pathologist, FRI Dehradun.

Buddhist The Bodhi Tree belongs to the Sacred Figs (Ficus religiosa), also known as Bo, Pipul (Peepal) or Ashwattha trees, which are sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is easily recognizable from its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.

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