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Buddha's Ancient Tree of Enlightment On the Mend in India July 27, 2012
Bodh Gaya
The Mahabodhi Temple can be seen just behind the Bodhi tree, which is now recovering from disease and neglect.
An ancient fig tree in northeastern India, located where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, has been nursed back to health after nearly dying from milibug disease.

The 1,400-year-old Bodhi tree is a direct descendent of the one that the founder of Buddhism is purported to have meditated beneath for 49 days, leading to his insight into the cause of suffering and the steps necessary to eliminate it.

After being poisoned and cut down twice, the current Bodhi tree was planted in A.D. 600.

It is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, who often water it in a ritual that goes back thousands of years.

“Water gets collected, because devotees come here and pour water. We want to make an outlet for water to come out,” said forestry expert N.S.K. Harsh.

Experts from India’s Forest Research Institute in the state of Uttarkhand have tended to the sick tree since 2007, removing concrete slabs from around it to help it receive nutrition and water, and for its roots to properly drain.

The work was overseen by the Archaeological Survey of India.

“The Bodhi tree is fully healthy now,” said Subhash Nautiyal, one of the institute’s scientists.

Photo: File