“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.”
When we think of icons we conjure up images of people, places, things that withstand the test of time symbolizing our beliefs, cultural history and traditions. Today let the trees of Kashmir, that stood all the test of time, guide you through an emotionally attached landscape of the place. Kashmir has grown old with the thousands of trees that line up the beautiful valley lapped on the majestic Himalayas. These trees have seen plenty of history pass by their trunks. Trees are not merely another living being; there are secrets that they have been keeping from us, these trees are friends, they talk to each other, some trees bully each other, some share deep love and some are loners.
The scenic beauty of Kashmir is magnified by its symbolic Chinar or Maple trees and Pine trees. It is symbolic to the region and it is believed that once you’ve visited Kashmir you will emotionally get attached to the trees, their shades, colors, beautiful flowers and captivating characteristics.
What is it about the silent companions that make them so captivating?
The radiant red, yellowish-brown and mauve Chinar dotting the Autumn landscape of Kashmir, the needles of the tall Himalayan Blue Pine that survive the chilliest winters, the matured dark grey bark of the evergreen tall Deodar from the snowy slopes of the Himalayas, the pretty light green foliage and long thin leaves of the Willow trees that sweep lightly with the wind and the leaves that turn yellow in the fall are all native to the Heaven on Earth.
While these home-grown trees and their characteristics have attracted a lot of tourists, movies, writers, poets, wildlife, let us today walk you through some of the notable landmark trees of Jammu and Kashmir.
The breath-taking panaroma of the Nishat Bagh and the splendid Chinar
Jammu and Kashmir has declared the majestic, around 700 years old Chinars as the state tree. Though the chinars dots most of the valley’s shrines and mosques, this massive and splendid Chinar tree growing at the old Mughal Gardens in the famous city of Srinagar is marked as a heritage tree.
The Kashmir garden that made Shah Jahan green with envy – the Nishat Bagh and the remarkable double-trunked Magnolia
A lively garden on the eastern side of the Dal Lake, with waterfalls and a double-trunked magnolia by its side.
The serene Nagin Lake and the large Chinar-
The Lake nestled at the foothills of the Zabarwan ranges in Srinagar is the same, the shikara boats are the same, and the large chinar tree on the Nagin Lake where the boat dock is the same but the dreams of the man who rows the Shikara, the fast-changing shades of the lake, the tourists enjoying their vacations keep changing.
On the banks of the Indus river of Leh, lays the Alchi monastery and the famous Alchi Demon tree
A demon mask draws attention to an old and broadly branching bodhi leaf tree at the small knick-knacks market at Alchi, Ladakh.
A small Willow tree that stands guard and keeps watch
A small willow tree is encountered in the spectacular rocky gorge leading to the village of Dar from the Indus river crossing at Nor La.
A must visit at Dal Lake, Char Chinar Island
A visit via shikaras to the island crowned by four large chinars.
The Char Minar Chinar
This four-trunked monster is the largest and most elaborate of the old Chinar trees in Srinagar and is planted just below the Mughal Gardens.
Leh Palace Ridgeline Trees
Set in a dramatic notch just along from the Leh Palace is a poplar tree decorated with peace, wisdom, compassion and strength – prayer flags.
The list is not over yet, we will keep adding.
The valley of Kashmir is decorated with many such heritage deciduous trees that bring cheer to people who live there. With a lot of trees facing the axe in the Kashmir valley these days, we need to increase awareness of the effects of tree felling on our environment.
Lots of thanks to Landmark Trees of India in helping us with the list of heritage trees of Jammu and Kashmir.
Wondering how to spot the trees? Fear not, we’ve got you covered:
Landmark Trees of India