Ancient Jujube Trees at Golden Temple Receive Expert Care to Prolong Life

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In the serene embrace of the Golden Temple complex, among its many spiritual wonders, stand three remarkable beings that have witnessed centuries of history unfold—the venerable ‘ber’ (jujube) trees. Dukhbhanjani Beri, Ber Baba Budha Sahib, and Lachi Ber have recently garnered attention, not just from the faithful but also from plant pathologists and horticulture experts from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). Their mission? To ensure the continued health and vitality of these ancient arboreal guardians.

These venerable trees, each over three centuries old, have become focal points for devotees and scholars alike. While bearing fruits is a natural part of their existence, the recent efforts of the PAU experts aim to extend their lifespan through meticulous pruning and care. Although plucking fruits from the trees is prohibited, devotees are permitted to gather fallen fruits, considering them as sacred ‘parshad’.

Under the watchful eyes of experts, the pruning process proceeds delicately, with devotees often gathering beneath the branches, hopeful to receive the blessed bounty. Despite the typical lifespan of a jujube tree being between 70 to 100 years, these ancient specimens continue to flourish, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the PAU team.

Of particular note is the Dukhbhanjani Beri, which holds a special place in the hearts of devotees. Believed to have stood witness to over 400 years of history, dating back to the era of Guru Ram Das in the 16th century, its significance is deeply intertwined with the spiritual fabric of the Golden Temple.

The conservation efforts extend beyond mere pruning. Thick layers of concrete and marble, which threatened the trees’ access to vital resources, have been carefully removed. Pesticides, utilized sparingly and with caution, predominantly consist of natural neem extracts to combat potential threats such as lac insect infestations.

Devotees are urged to refrain from touching the trees, as their hands may become coated with ghee, which could harm the delicate balance of the tree’s ecosystem. Similarly, adorning the trees with flowers or garlands, while well-intentioned, is discouraged to prevent attracting insects.

As the seasons change and the trees continue to thrive, the Golden Temple complex stands as a testament not only to spiritual devotion but also to the enduring resilience of nature. Through the collaborative efforts of scholars, experts, and devotees, these ancient guardians of wisdom and tranquility will continue to inspire generations to come.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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