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Ranchi’s healing garden

“Prayers” will soon grow out of state capital Ranchi’s soil.

Rudraksha, the large evergreen broad-leaved tree, whose seed are traditionally used for prayer beads, will bloom at a herbal and medicinal park, Leed Garden, that was formally inaugurated at Lalgutwa, around 20km from the city, on Thursday.

The tree, which is common in the northern and southern parts of the country — where it grows in places like Haridwar and Karnataka — will make its maiden venture into Jharkhand courtesy the efforts of Institute of Forest Productivity, an arm of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

Speaking to reporters later, V.K. Bahuguna, chancellor of Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute, who threw the place open to residents earlier, said that it was great achievement for a state like Jharkhand to have built a herbal and medicinal park.

“The park, which is spread over 15 acres, is probably the biggest and first of its kind in the eastern part of the country,” the chancellor said.

Bahuguna, who also laid the foundation stone of the an Interpretation Centre on the occasion, said the garden would be the window to the cultivation of herbal and medicinal plants.

Rameshwar Das, director of Institute of Forest Productivity, added that the garden had been funded entirely by the Union ministry of forest and environment.

“The garden will be home to as many as 350 varieties of herbs and plants. It has come up at a cost of Rs 47 lakh,” Das said.

He added that they had tried to maintain the hierarchical pattern of herbs, shrubs and trees while planting the saplings.

“The park has a as propagation unit, mist chamber and hardening shade, so it is well-equipped. We will also focus on constructing proper approach road to the premises for the visitors and a small field demonstration centre,” Das said.

Scientist and principal investigator Sanjay Singh, along with his colleague S.N. Mishra has developed the garden, which will be open to residents for all academic and demonstration purposes.

“Right from the Vedic period, the Rudraksha trees, found primarily in south-east Asian Islands of Java, Sumatra and in Nepal, is known to have special medicinal properties.