Sthala Vrikshams (sacred plants for each temple) in Temples indicate the importance given for plants and trees in those days. Every temple has one plant or tree as sthala vriksham. While these are protected in some temples, they are not seen in some. The need to know about them and protect them and what plant or tree a temple had as sthala vriksham has been vividly described in a book that was released in Thanjavur recently.
‘Marangalum Thiruthalangalum’ written by S. Thamizharasan, a Tamil poet and scholar dealt with sthala vrikshams of nearly 60 temples in both Vishnu and Siva temples. Besides giving the Tamil name of the plant or tree the book carries its botanical name also and its medicinal value. The temple's sthala puranam (history) is also described in the book.
Mullai (Jasminum Auriculatum) is the sthala vriksham at Garbha Rakshambigai temple, t Thirukarugavur, where the Goddess is said to bless couples with children, and at Kodiyidai Nayaki Samedha Maasilamaniswarar temple, Thiumullaivoyil near Chennai, and Kodhai Nayaki Samedha Mullaivaneswarar temple of Then Thirumullaivayil in Nagapattinam district. The sthala vrikshams differ from one temple to the other and they may be of various species. They include Padiri (Stereospermum Suaveolens), Vanni (Prosopis spicigera), Poolai Plant (Aerva Lenatea), Vilvam (Aegla Marmelos), Mango (Mangifera indica), Pala Maram (Jack) Atrocarpus integrifolia), Coconut (Cocos nusifera) and Thillai tree (Excoecaria Agallocha) in the list. The author visited all the 60 temples including Kurangaduthurai, Chidambaram, Thiruvottriyur and Thiruvanaikka.
K. Sethurathinam, a school teacher, released the book, which was received by Seenu Varadarasanar, a Tamil scholar. Yet another book by the author ‘Deiveega Thenthuligal’ was also released on the occasion by Dharumambal and the first copy was received by A. Shanmugam.
Speakers at the meeting said that N. Sethuraman, founder, Meenakshi Mission Hospitals, Madurai and Thanjavur, and Dr. S. Narendran, general surgeon, Thanjavur, offered felicitations. Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, senior Prince and hereditary trustee of the Palace Devasthanam, distributed saplings on the occasion.