In India, since ancient times, several members of the flora and fauna have been identified with particular personalities of the Hindu pantheon and are worshipped. Many wild animals, such as tigers, lions and elephants, and birds such as the peacock, owl and swan have been revered as the vehicles of Gods and Goddesses and worshipped. Several trees, such as mango, coconut, khejri, emblica, tamarind, ashoka, madhuca and wood apple, and herbs such as basil are considered highly sacred and worshipped. This belief and these practices continue in one form or another even today in certain sections of Indian society, particularly the rural folk and the aboriginal tribes living in the forest. Nature worship is a form of tribal belief and the faith of these laymen has helped to conserve many natural ecosystems in India. They have preserved many pristine forests—called ‘sacred groves’ in their original forms. Sacred groves are rich in biodiversity. They are the last refuge of the rare flora and fauna which have otherwise disappeared from the modern world. Sacred groves have become part of the ‘biosphere reserves’ of India.
|Journal||International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|