Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara) is an evergreen coniferous large tree native to the Himalayas. Deodar is known by a different name in different parts of the world. It is chiefly known as Himalayan cedar. The name deodar comes from the Sanskrit ‘devadaru’ deava=god and ‘daru’ meaning wood. It is in the Pinaceae or pine family. In the Hindu religion, Deodars are worshipped as sacred trees and are referred to in several of their legends.
In ancient times forests of these trees were the favoured places for Indian sages to please the Hindu Lord Shiva, and after that, Lord Shiva gave them the holy visitation. The aromatic timber from the deodar forest was used to build various temples in the Vedic times. In ancient times, it was believed that sitting in the shade of Deodar helped cure asthma and many other diseases.
Deodar cedar is believed to be a divine tree. The name itself translates to “Tree of the Gods”. The Deodar tree is well known for its medicinal properties. The Deodar cedar develops a robust, thick trunk that branches spirally. The bark is smooth initially, but over time it becomes rough. The leaves are needle-shaped, narrow, rigid arranged spirally. The leaves stay on the trunk for 3 to 6 years, while the aged the Himalayan cedar sheds them in the warm season, which is usually summer.
It is often used as an ornamental tree in parks and other large gardens and used to line the streets. There are no harmful pests or diseases that affect the Deodar. However, they can be susceptible to these pests, such as beetle bores and phytophthora. Deodar cedars can live to be hundreds of years old. Their annual rings can explain how climate change is affecting ecosystems.
Deodar is known as the God-wood if it grows near the Shiva temple. There are many stories associated with Deodar and Lord Shiva. Chaurasi temple in Bharmour is a famous divine place for Hindus and is partly shaded by huge Cedrus trees. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Manimahesh. There are 84 big and small temples in the Chaurasi temple complex.
This tree is believed to be dear to Shiva because he planted his linga on earth in the vicinity of thedeodar forest in the first instance. Another story in Hindu mythology mentions that the formidable Lord Shiva was meditating under a deodar tree when Kamadeva, the god of love, disturbed him. Angered, Shiva opened his third eye and burnt Kamadeva to cinders. Through this legend, the Deodar has remained closely connected with the worship of Shiva in the Himalayas.
Deodar trees are generally very tall and massive, and they have been found to grow up to a whopping 200 feet in height. And because of the immense size of the tree, its trunk is also very thick.
Deodar trees have a long life span, and they can live for about 600 years, which means that if we plant a tree now, then our sixth-generation will benefit from this tree.
In Asia, it was used for temples and in Egypt to construct sacrophagi for mummies. It prefers most well-drained soils and is very drought tolerant. The tree plays a vital role in traditional medicines of the Ayurvedic systems of India.
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