April 12th, 2010, 04:49 PM
Like modern Japan and ancient Europe, India contains many sacred groves, which are venerated as part of respect for nature, and as part of folk religion. These beautiful natural reserves are an important part of the national character of India.
Some people estimate there may be as many as 100,000 of them, covering 1000 km2. They are vitally important to the country's cultural heritage, yet they are very poorly represented in photography - please post any photography you may have.
April 12th, 2010, 04:51 PM
"This is the sacred grove called Ka Khlan Kyntang near the village of Mawrhlang, in the East Khasi Hills in the state of Meghalaya. The local Khasi culture has preserved this 50-hectare (124-acre) grove of khasru oak trees (Quercus semicarpifolia) greater than 200 years old. They use this forest for prayers and religious rites. Although there are no graves here per se, the Khasis preserve this forest "because it was created by God." Many of the oaks are festooned by orchid epiphytes not found in the surrounding disturbed environment."
April 12th, 2010, 04:54 PM
"These are images of serpents in our family sacred grove or 'kavu'. This sacred grove is dedicated to snakes. Some more info on sacred groves."
"Sacred groves of India"
"India has a long tradition of prudent use and wise conservation of all resources that are useful to people. Forests have been the lifelines for forest-dwelling communities since ancient times. One method for conservation of this green resource was the creation of sacred groves, usually dedicated to a local deity. A traditional means of biodiversity conservation, these groves can be considered the ancient equivalent of natural sanctuaries where all forms of living creatures are given protection by a deity. No one is permitted to cut any tree or plant, kill animals and birds, or harm any form of life in this area. Ancient Indian texts have many references to sacred groves, for example, Kalidaasa’s Vikramorvawsiyam."
"Today, there are only about 1000 square kilometres of undisturbed sacred groves, scattered in patches all over the country. Only the groves in the remote and inaccessible areas remain untouched. While religious taboo protected the groves near towns earlier, today they are protected with the means of barbed wire fencing or hedges."
"The decline of sacred groves can be attributed to the change in social values and religious beliefs as a result of modernization and urbanization. The expansion of the market economy, which places heavy demand on resources such as timber, is another major cause. For most villagers, economics is easier to understand than ecology."
"Sacred groves vary in size from a few trees to dense forests covering vast tracts of land. These groves are important today as they are banks of genetic and plant diversity that have to be preserved and sustained. These areas often contain species that have disappeared from the regions outside the grove. The extant groves are proof that the forests exist not only because there are regulations but also because there are traditions."