SRINAGAR, SEP 27: With the number of Chinars on the decline, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to launch QR coding for the preservation of heritage trees.
There used to be around 40,000 Chinars in Kashmir. However, according to officials, the number declined to 25,000 over the years.
A senior official of the Forest Research Institute said they have already geo-tagged over 18,000 Chinars. “We are now going for quick response (QR) coding of Chinars across Jammu and Kashmir,” the official said.
The information about each Chinar tree will be digitally stored.
“Scanning the QR code on the engraved plate will reveal the specific Chinar tree’s location and characteristics. An official emphasized the importance of the QR code for Chinar preservation, stating that it will provide comprehensive details, including the tree’s health, age, and other relevant factors,” the official added.
Chinar, which is found in almost every village in Kashmir, is also known as the Oriental plane or Platanus orientalis (in scientific binomial nomenclature). Called Chinar or Chenar in Asia and Boueen in Kashmir, it grows up to a height of 30 metres and girth of 10 to 15 metres at ground level; it takes around 150 years to grow to its full size.
For centuries, Chinar trees have been silently witnessing the history of Kashmir. According to popular belief, the magnificent Chinar was introduced to Kashmir from Persia and later Mughals planted Chinar trees extensively across the valley.
It provides shade and shelter in the parks and gardens from the heat and rain. The cool breeze on the summer days under this tree makes one feel very good. It also has various medical benefits and its wood can be used for various furniture and art products.
The word “Chinar” originated from a Persian word that means “what a fire”, the reason is in the Autumn season, the red radiant leaves of the chinar tree make it appear as if the tree has got fire.
Kashmir Valley is the home of the world’s oldest chinar tree (647 years old) which is located in the village of Chattergam in the Budgam district.
It is believed to have been planted in 1374 AD by an Islamic mystic Syed Abdul Qasim Hamadani (RA) who accompanied Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (RA) from Iran to Kashmir.