Supertree - Kannimara Mahavriksha

Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh *

Why eco-tourism is gaining popularity is that it is so thrilling and exciting and it is considered eco-friendly is handled properly. Hence, it is promoted everywhere showcasing the unique natural features and items. The experiences we get from eco-tourism are highly educative and memorable and unique.

One of the best eco-tourism destinations that can be suggested is Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. The experience of the stay in the tree top hut in a tiger reserve would certainly be an adventure cum most unique experience and one would certainly pay any price for such an experience. I rate my stay in such a tree top hut as the best experience.

The photographs of the hut are lovely ones, I cherish seeing them again and again but today, my story is about a “Super tree” a Mahavriksha, the most famous teak tree of the world in this tiger reserve. It is one of the well maintained tiger reserves in Palghat (Palakkad) district of Kerala and a very well maintained tourist facility.

A portion of the Tiger Reserve Falls in Tamil Nadu also, near Anamalai Hill Range. It is fully plastic free wild life area. In fact all the wildKfe areas should be plastic free zones as plastic is very harmful to the wild life.

Parambikulam is famous for its unique tribes, wildlife and teak forests. The food catering services provided by the SHGs are also excellent and an entirely good story, a different success story which can be replicated here in our state also. It also has three dams the Parambikulam Dam, Thunacadavu (Thunakkadavu) and Peruvaripallam.

The Annamalai Wild life Sanctuary is also a tiger reserve and the national animal has a large home range in this locality (famous elephant camp of Topslip is here in Anamalai).

The most unique item and star attraction in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is the Kannimara Teak. It is one of the most famous tree in the world. It is a little far off from Nilambur Teak Forests belt. The oldest teak plantation in the world is in Nilambur (Conolly’s Plan).

According to Abdullakutty of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, the qualities of this teak had been recognised historically. He claimed that Nilambur teak was shipped even for the renovations works of Buckingham Palace and the Kaaba, the Holy place of the Muslims in Saudi Arabia. According to him, the GI tag will recognise the efforts of the people to conserve and promote the plantation of teak. Nilambur has been so associated with teak that every forester of the country has memories of their visit to Nilambur.

Fondly known as Kannimara Teak, this tree has certain distinctions; it is the biggest living teak tree at a height of 47.5 m. Sited at the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Palghat District. Its girth is about 6.67 m (as per 2004 measurements).

According to and old tribal belief, when this tree was axed, blood oozed out from the cut it was since then worshipped as sacred virgin tree by the local tribal community.

Kanni means virgin in Malayalam, hence the tree is named Kannimara Teak. It is now a living museum for foresters and a great tourist attraction. It was the proud winner of Mahavriksha Puraskar of the Government of India in 1994-95. If you happen to visit God’s Own Country (Kerala), please do not forget to say hello to Kannimara.

Thousands of people come to see this tree every year and it is huge tourists attraction. Coupled with the Teak Museum, Dams nearby and linked with Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, the Kannimara Teak is going to be a star tourist item for a long time and spread the message for tree preservation.

It is living testimony to the fact that it pays more to save a huge tree than felling it. Its wood value is very high at present, but its living value has been estimated much higher at Rs. 6.0 crores, still its eco-tour-ism value would be much higher in the long run.

There are a many famous landmark trees in India like Kalyani of Andhra (Another Mahavriksha Award Winner, an Eucalyptus Tree planted in 1859 by WH Horsley), the Deodar of Landour, Mussoorie etc which have fetched much more money than its wood value (not to talk of the Great Banyan Tree of Howrah) and these trees are huge tourists’ attraction.

The only Mahavriksha Award winner form North East is the Champa Tree of Bukpui, Mizoram though we may be having eligible candidates in hundreds. These trees convey a message that one should think before felling an old tree.

The Kannimara Teak has certainly become a magnificent landmark of history now. Saving such old landmark is like saving one’s culture. Such landmarks would guide one in the wilderness of history too.

* Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at bonbir01(AT)rediffimail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 29, 2017.

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