Sacred Groves in India

#1 Apr 20th, 2009, 03:23
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In Europe, a "sacred grove" is a small forest or stand of trees usually associated with Druidism and pagan rituals, and believed to be inhabited by a spirit. I have read that there are many thousands of Sacred Groves across India, associated with Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhist, and Sufism, and believed by some to be inhabited by deities.

Though I have not yet been to India, I am profoundly interested in the history of spirituality there, and when I go, possibly as soon as this September, I will be following a spiritual path across the country, and would like to visit Sacred Groves, as well as other such places. Have any of you come across such things in India? Did any stand out as particularly important?
#2 Apr 21st, 2009, 22:31
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#3 Apr 22nd, 2009, 00:15
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#4 Apr 22nd, 2009, 01:24
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You'll love India, you can hardly move without coming across something sacred!
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#5 Apr 22nd, 2009, 07:59
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Kodagu district (Coorg) in Karnataka has many sacred groves, called devarakkadus. One often comes across them while trekking through the hills and forests, and they usually contain huge, fantastic sampighe and banyan trees.
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#6 Apr 22nd, 2009, 11:41
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In Maharashtra state, sacred groves are called "Dev Rai" or "Dev Van" - the latter literally means sacred forest. These are treasure houses of endemic species.

You cannot miss them in rural areas - look out for the copse or thicket in the midst of utter deforestation!
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#7 Apr 22nd, 2009, 11:57
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Originally Posted by gødspeed View Post Have any of you come across such things in India? Did any stand out as particularly important?
Arguably the whole of Bharat is a sacred geography - and sacred groves are found all over the land, the Parikrama of Braj goes from one grove to the next(Krishna leela van). Trees also have shrines at their base and are worshipped all over India, and in the hills the spirits of the forest are made offerings, occasionally one comes across rag dolls as shrine, and trees dressed up, i.e. with bangles and sari. there is much published on the subject....
#8 Apr 23rd, 2009, 01:51
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Thank you for these replies! All of my questions, including some I did not ask, have been answered.

I can hardly wait for my journey; I plan to start in Mumbai, to walk down the coast through the Western Ghats, then up through the Eastern Ghats, and ultimately up the Ganges to Varanasi, where I may spend a good while, taking time to visit Braj and the area around Agra. Or I may follow a completely different route, as I do not know what I may find; my only deliberate itention is to seek out a spiritual path through holy places!
#9 Apr 23rd, 2009, 09:03
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But it seems you already have a path to follow - or are you looking for a fork in the way, in which case one path will have to be denied?
#10 Apr 23rd, 2009, 14:43
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That sounds like a very adventurous walk.

Wish you God speed, godspeed, and look forward to your trip report.
#11 Apr 23rd, 2009, 21:38
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Originally Posted by snonymous View Post That sounds like a very adventurous walk.
Yes it is quite an agenda, I wonder how much time is going to be devoted to the walk - i do hope it's the answer is at long as it takes, but even that implies an ending somewhere in the future! Can't say i have walked around much but have certainly 'toured' a fair bit on my mountain bike, well not recently. Next to walking it is the best way to assimilate - and the soundscape is only one's footsteps or rear derailleur spinning. All the other modes pass one by too fast, are overloading and ultimately not much is assimilated. Folks go from city to city usually, whereas our friend could consciously avoid them - I would if i were doing a walk tomorrow.

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