Trees and plants have long been held sacred to communities the world over. In India they feature in our myths, epics, rituals, worship, and daily life. There is the pipal, under which the Buddha meditated; the banyan, in whose branches hide spirits; the ashoka, in a grove of which Sita sheltered; and the tulsi, without which no Hindu house is considered complete. Before temples were constructed, trees were open-air shrines and many were symbolic of the Buddha himself.
Sacred Plants of India lays out the sociocultural roots of the plants found in the Indian subcontinent, while asserting their ecological importance. Informative, thought-provoking, and meticulously researched, this book draws on mythology, botany, and the ancient religious traditions of India to assemble a fascinating account of India s flora.
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Nanditha Krishna is a historian, environmentalist, and writer based in Chennai. A PhD in ancient Indian culture, she is the director of the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre. She has pioneered the documentation of the ecological traditions of India, restored over fifty sacred groves, and established schools, C.P.R. Indological Research Centre, and Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art. Her published works include Sacred Animals of India, Book of Demons, Book of Vishnu, Madras Then Chennai Now, Balaji-Venkateshwara, Ganesha, Painted Manuscripts of the Sarasvati Mahal Library, Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu, and Art and Iconography of Vishnu Narayana, besides numerous research papers and newspaper articles.
M. Amirthalingam is a botanist and Environmental Education Officer at C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai. He has researched and published books on the Sacred Groves of Tamil Nadu, Sacred Trees of Tamil Nadu, Temple Tanks of Chennai, and Flora and Fauna of Valmiki s Ramayana, besides research papers and articles in various journals, magazines and seminar proceedings. He is currently working on the All India Coordinated Research Project on Sacred Grove Ecosystem Service Assessment in the Inland plains of Tamil Nadu sponsored by the ministry of environment and forests, Government of India.
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