Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ako Tong : The Big Banyan Tree.

The footsteps leading to the Tree.
In the year 2011, I got posted at Kupza village and had been staying there for a couple of months. My landlady told me about a big banyan tree which stands behind the graveyard. I had a trivial feeling and told myself that it must be just one of those big trees I often see. But anyways, I went with her one evening to have a look at it.

Ako Tong : The Big Banyan Tree.
It was around ten minutes walk from my place. There were footsteps that led towards the tree. As I climbed down the footsteps, I realised that the natural settings of the place was indeed beautiful. I could see the tree from a distance, as I walked closer and closer it became bigger and bigger.

Rest House.
Finally, I reached there and Lo! I was standing next to a big magnificent banyan tree, in fact, the biggest tree I have ever seen. The main trunk with the prop roots had covered a large area of the land. But when I looked around, I was saddened to see that the surrounding was not taken care of at all. Except for a petty resting place constructed by NREGS, there was nothing. I was told that this might be the biggest banyan tree in Nagaland and some foreigners from a couple of different countries had come to see the tree. I was amazed why I never heard about this majestic tree when I live so close to a town where this tree stands. From how it was kept, I could positively tell that the villagers have been taking this tree for granted. Perhaps it had been standing there for so long in their midst, they found it unimportant.
Toshimeren: The 3rd Oldest Man in Kupza
 Having mesmerized by this big banyan tree, I was curious to know more. So I met a 91 year old man of the village, Toshimeren. He had many stories to tell related to this tree. According to him, it was more than a thousand years old. Before the coming of the Christianity, their ancestors worshiped this tree. The prosperity of the village as well as the neighbouring villages could be prophesied according to the way the tree produced its fruit. He also said that the tree was a home to the spirits as well as birds of different species. He believed that tree was gifted to the village from the gods many years back. But the people of this generation has come to neglect and ignore its worth.
I believe this tree can help the villagers turn the spot into a good tourist spot. If people come together, clean and develop the place and make the world know, perchance the village itself would become a tourist village, which would indeed be an avenue for the people of the village too. I’am sure people would love to visit and look at this manificient and splendid tree if the are made known of it. Sadly, due to ignorance, lack of resources finance, assisntance and publicity it remains like a beautiful wild flower, unknown and unseen to the world outside.

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