CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

‘A
land having special religious significance to local inhabitants and
communities’ (Oviedo et al., 2007,
Upreti et al., 2017). ‘Sacred’ has
different meanings to different communities, at the basic level it denotes
respect and ‘set aside’ for purposes of the religious belief. These are religiously
managed community forests and they often represent the relic climax vegetation
of the area. Named differently in different parts of India viz., Law lyngdhoh
in Meghalaya (Upadhyay et al., ,
2003), Kovil kadu in Kanyakumari (Ramanujam and Praveen 2003), Dev bhumi in
Uttarakhand (Bisht and Ghildiyal, 2007, Singh 2011), Kavu in Kerala, Sarna and
Deorai in Madhya Pradesh (Sinha, 1995), Oran in Rajasthan, Jaherthan and
Garamthan in West Bengal, Deovan in Himachal, Ummanglai in Manipur, etc., these
groves are mainly found in areas dominated by tribal’s and managed by local
people for various reasons. The existence of such undisturbed pockets is mostly
due to certain taboos, strong beliefs, supplemented by mystic folklores (Gadgil
and Vartak, 1975 Singh 2011). Sacred forests are part of a broader set of
cultural values that different social groups, beliefs or value systems,
traditions attach to places and which ‘fulfil humankind’s need to understand,
and connect in meaningful ways, to the environment of its origin and to nature’
(Putney, 2005). The term ‘sacred natural sites’ implies that these forests are
in some way holy, consecrated, and so connected with belief systems. Sacred
natural sites are just one of many domains where religions or belief systems
interact with nature. The first scholar to document sacred groves of the State
was D. Brandis, the first Inspector General of Forests, who wrote about
occurrence of sacred groves in 1897 (Rao, 1996). The first report on the sacred
sites is the Census report of Travancore of 1891 in which Ward and Conner
(1927) reported about 15,000 sacred groves in Travancore.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now
Author