January 31, Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab, India); An ancient Sikh tradition of planting culturally important herbs in sacred places was revived today at Kiratpur Sahib, near Anandpur Sahib. As part of a celebration, of the 383rd birthday of the seventh Sikh Guru, the Sikh volunteer organization, Shree Ganga Nursery of Zirakpur and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) began the plantation of over 70 varieties of medicinal herbs. The new herb garden will have an important position in the 350 year old Naulakha Garden, at the birth place of Sri Guru Har Rai, Gurdwara Sheeshmehal Sahib in Kiratpur Sahib.
Guru Har Rai was a nature lover and he instilled a vision among his followers to care for and to live in harmony with nature and other living beings. The Ganga nursery has been celebrating this day for the past 13 years at the same place by planting trees and this year they included herbs like cloves, cardamom, harar, bahera, amla, turmeric, aloe vera etc. The plantation which began today is planned to complete in 3 canals of this garden by March 14, when the Sikhs around the world celebrate Sikh Environment Day on the the enthronement day of the seventh Guru.
EcoSikh is a global organisation which connects the Sikh values, beliefs, and institutions to the most important environmental issues facing our world. In 2011, EcoSikh launched March 14 to be celebrated as Sikh Environment Day, marking the Gurgaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Har Rai Ji, the seventh master. It inspires Gurdwaras around the world to care for the environment through Gurbani teachings, gardens, energy, water use, composting, waste policies, recycling, plastic reduction and thoughtful food purchasing.
EcoSikh had consultations with the Manjit Singh, Head of Ganga Nursery, on plantation of herbs and medicinal plants several days ago. It had also planned a visit of Dr. Swarn Singh Saini, former Professor of the Agronomy at Punjab Agriculture University to explore the possibility of making Kiratpur into an herbal and healing habitat. Dr. Saini said, “Our sewa is always available to implement the vision of Guru Har Rai ji and we will continue on this path.”
The President of SGPC, Avtar Singh Makkar and Jathedar Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Tirlochan Singh were present at this event and planted a ceremonial plant at the garden. Avtar Singh declared that Ganga Nursery has taken up this task to plant the herbs and SGPC will take up the maintenance part of the marvel garden.
EcoSikh India Project Manager, Ravneet Singh also present at the ceremonies and shared Sikh Environment Day worldwide plans with the philanthropist Manjit Singh of Shree Ganga Nursery and congratulated him for his phenomenal efforts in restoring the historical garden of our nature loving Guru.
The 7th Guru was instrumental in developing Kiratpur Sahib on the banks of tributary of the Sutlej in Punjab as a town of parks and gardens: he planted flowers and fruit bearing trees all over the area, as well as medicinal herbs and wildlife sanctuaries. According to Sikh history this created a salubrious environment, attracting birds and animals to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live. His ‘Naulakha Bagh’ was famous for wide varieties of rare medicinal herbs. Even the then Emperor of India Shah Jahan sought medicine from Guru Har Rai Ji for curing his son, Dara Shikoh. It is said that the rare medicine was available nowhere but at Guru’s Naulakha Bagh which finally cured Dara Shikoh.
Check this video from Naulakha Garden:
See below a few pictures from Naulakha Garden: