DEHRADUN: India’s highest herbal garden, located at an altitude of 11,000 feet, was inaugurated near Badrinath shrine in Uttarakhand on Saturday. The garden, located in Mana village of Chamoli district, has been developed by the research wing of state forest department on a three-acre land given by Mana Van Panchayat.
The garden, inaugurated by Mana sarpanch Pitambar Maulfa, has been developed in three years under the central government’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme. It displays around 40 species, including important medicinal herbs, found in the high-altitude alpine areas of the Himalayan region.
“We, as residents of the Himalayas, have a major responsibility to conserve our natural heritage and pass on its knowledge to the next generation,” said the sarpanch. Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who heads the research wing of the state forest department, told this newspaper, “Our team has worked for three years to make this possible. We aim to conserve rare species in this park to highlight the importance of the flora of this region and its ecological significance.” Many of the species displayed in the garden are endangered. The garden is divided into four sections.
The first section contains species associated with Lord Badrinath such as Badri Tulsi, Badri Ber, Badri Tree, and the sacred tree of Bhojpatra. The second contains Ashtavarga species, a group of 8 herbs found in Himalyan region: Riddhi, Vriddhi, Jeevak, Rishbhak, Kakoli, Ksheer Kakoli, Maida and Maha Maida. These are important ingredients of Chyawanprash.
Out of these, four herbs belong to lily family and the rest to orchid family. Kakoli, Ksheer Kakoli and Rishbhak are rare. The third section consists of Saussurea species and includes Brahmakamal, which also happens to be the State flower of Uttarakhand. The fourth section has other miscellaneous species whi ch includes Ateesh, Meethavish, Vankakdi and Choru, all of which are very important medicinal herbs.