November 13, 2009
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
The Amrita Prakriti Samarakshana Samiti is a student club at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus. The abundant greenery at this campus is testimony to the active participation of students on this campus in activities related to conservation of nature.
Recently the students of the club had an opportunity to participate in the unique activity. The idea of Nakshatra Vanam mooted by Dr. Aravindakshan, Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Amrita, was brought to fruition by the club members.
On September 9, 2009, after class hours, over 300 students and faculty gathered in a quiet spot on campus, selected for the tree planting. Amidst chanting and pujas, trees were planted, 27 species in all, one for each star or nakshatram.
“Our ancestors venerated trees and all of nature,” stated Dr. Aravindakshan. “Amma also often stresses upon the relationship between man and nature. Through activities such as these, we hope to reinforce these concepts in contemporary times.”
In Vedic astrology, the zodiac is divided into 27 nakshatras or stars. An individual is born under a particular star, known as his or her birth star. From ancient times, particular trees have been associated with birth stars. The concept of a Nakshatra Vanam involves the planting of these trees in a grove and nurturing them, to help develop a place of sanctity.
“The idea of setting up a Nakshatra Vanam was a long cherished dream,” stated Dr. Sanjay Banerjee, Dean of the Amrita School of Business at Coimbatore, who was one of the 300+ participants present at the occasion. “It was a fantastic experience … I felt as if all of nature was taking part in the activity.”
Dr. M. P. Chandrasekharan, Dean (Engineering) was also one of the enthusiastic participants. “I appreciate the efforts of students who are participating in this wonderful activity,” he stated.
The planting of trees was followed by distribution of prasadam to all.
“The planting of the tree saplings for all the 27 nakshatras will help bring a greater awareness of our cultural heritage to people on our campus as well as visitors,” stated Jitender, 2nd year MBA student, Secretary of the Amrita Prakriti Samarakshana Samiti. “I thank the administration, faculty and students that made it possible.”