Special Correspondent

A campaign to bring back the glory of Madurai

MADURAI: ‘Project Kadamba,’ an attempt to revive the ancient ‘Kadamba’ tree (Anthocephalus cadamba) of the Rubiaceae family, was launched by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) here on Friday, to coincide with the World Environment Day.

Tree saplings were planted on the Aurolab premises, on the Sivaganga Road, to mark the beginning of a campaign to bring back the glory of Madurai. The city, which had ‘Kadamba’ trees in abundance, is referred to as ‘Kadambavanam’ in ancient literature.

The ‘Kadamba’ tree is the ‘stala vriksha’ of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The Siva Linga at the temple is believed to have been found under a ‘Kadamba’ tree. Now the tree has become almost extinct and one can find only a few at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and Sri Meenakshi Government College for Women.

A remnant of the tree is seen inside the Meenakshi temple.

In an attempt to bring back the tree to life, the Madurai chapter of INTACT has launched ‘Project Kadamba.’

Tree saplings, specially grown at a local nursery, will be distributed to institutions and individual homes under the project.

The tree can grow up to a height of 45 metres and it has an umbrella shaped crown. It is called the ‘tree of life’ for its quality to release oxygen into the atmosphere in high volumes.

The project is also expected to improve the depleting green cover of the city.