Pride Of Kashmir: The Majestic Chinar

By: MooL Raj

Chinar is virtually a person derivation meaning thereby ‘chi’ ‘naar’ haying affiliation to what is so called’ ‘fire’ or owing due to ‘fiery colour of leaves when leaves fall in autumn and in their turning out as golden yellow manifesting flaming red ‘leaves. Basically, this beautiful, giant and majestic tree is not only indigenious but exotic one. The mention of chinar as boin’is found in the folk lore of Kashmir.
The Chinar tree is the real beauty of the Kashmir valley where many films have over the years bear affiliations to this majestic trees as for example the most prominent films like ‘Azroo’ and ‘JabJab Phool Khiley have been shot in and around Dal lake and the most magnificent ‘Parks’ and Gardens of Kashmir. The picturesque kaleidoscopic beauty of the Kashmir valley over the years have attracted and haunted the foreigners from China and western countries and they have described it as the ‘Paradise on earth. The environment that surrounds the valley is unambiguously enchanting and enthralling more and more so due to these largely spreaded over ‘Chinars’ amongst other enchanting greenery of the flora and salubrious and lush green deodars, kails, oaks, spruce and fir with altitudinal variations apart from Pinus gerendana (chilgoza) which is richly found next to Paddar in Jammu region. But the majestic Chinar finds its rich and unique placement in Kashmir Valley. The ‘Charchinari’ admist ‘Dal lake’ can most conveniently be attributed as a ‘heritage’ of velvet Kashmir valley and the more you praise, the less it is and this valley is in no way less than Switzerland of Europe over the mother earth which having other enchanting and bewildering spots on the other parts of globe, yet the enchanting beauty of the velvet valley has got its own significance of rarety of beauty.
The magnificent and majestic ‘Chinar’ tree attains a gigantic height more than a 100 hundred feet with 40-50 feet girth and with a round spreading crown, leaves are mostly heart shaped 10 to 25 cms and 12 to 30 cms in length and breadth deeply cut in triangular toothed lobes which give an appealing grace from long distance and provide abundant shade to the tourists and visitors alike. The bark of the tree is with silvery flakes.
The tree is propagated less by seed sowing, but it is preferential if it is propagated through cutting which yield success-oriented results and as the locals go in far propagation through cuttings. At times, it is reported that there were as many as 70 garden in the velvet valley of paradise’ which have now reduced to few and all those gardens were well flourished with majestic chinar with kaleidoscopic variety of flowers of multihued nature but ironically now only few survive in their resplendence. The attention of the Govt. is invited to bring it to the pristine grandeur and glory to ensure and further invigorate more and more influx of tourists, pilgrims and cine-stars. These will in unison boost tourism which is the dire demand of the day and we can yield hefty dividends apart from providing job to the local populace and improve their socio-economic conditions.
Shah Jahan amongst the mughals was over-enthusiastic in the formation of gardens and parks and as such he introduced the magnificent and majestic tree inthe velvet valley of Kashmir in various parts and gardens extensively in Nishat Bagh, Shalimar, Harwan, Verinag, Hazrat Bal, Char Chinar, and on other prominent locations such as Tulmula, Avantipura, Mansabal, Sopore, Bara-mula, Anantnag so on and so forth.
It is added over here that this majestic tree occupies its prominence in almost every corner of the beauteous valley of Kashmir also nomenclaturised as the “Paradise on earth”.The majestic and magnificient treegains an attitudinal height upto 2600mtsbut however in the lower belts of altitudethis tree is cultivable and now in Jammuand its vicinity it is successfully flourishing to the exremes of Kud,Batote,Katra,Reasi so on and so forth.The wood is as good as anything likemanufacturing of plywood, apart from itsmultihued usages for the manufacture of furniture and its ilk. The tree as well find its usefulnesses in the firewood which mitigate problems of local populace of firewood in multitudinal ways. The timber is as well used for building construction and also used for the manufacture of furniture. It is, therefore, urged upon the Govt. to invigorate and boost ‘chinar plantation extensively and intensively not confined to the Kashmir valley but elsewhere too where it is well suited to site so as to enhance the beauty of the state and haunt more and more tourists apart from improvising the environment of the State. In other words, this will yield and boost the socio-economic status of the local populace and help in mitigating the firewood, timber and other related problems of the locals.
Since the vale of Kashmir’falls under temperate zone so extensive efforts should be accelerated to enhance maximum plantation on the occasion of ‘Arbor’s’ day as is being done in the sub-tropical regionof Jammu on Vanamahotsava.Tree culture had been a ritual inour old scriptures if we unfold the pious pages of Vanupurana, Ramayana, Mahabbarta,these echoe that each part ofthe tree has most reverentiallybeen prayed. Let us, therefore,pledge to carry this message tothe posterity to come by so as to ensure our state ever-flourishing with trees like chinar andits allieds so that the beauty of the velvety valley of Kashmir enchantsthroughout every nook and corner of the charmingvalley.Elsewhere too, where the sites arewell suited in chenab valley which is the biggest forest area of the state the inculcation of this majestic and beautiful tree shall occupy its own place of prominence. The ‘pride chinar apart frombeing of magnanimity of beauty is having medicinal properties too. The bark of this majestic tree is boiled as vinegar which is curative to multitude diseases eg. Dysentery, dirrhoea, toothaches, hernia and so many other diseases.
The Author is a columnist and freelance writer

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