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    Unique tradition of celebrating new year at Ratan Mahal forest

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    Van Pal Mukesh Baria celebrated the New Year with fellow foresters by worshiping a rare tree in the forest of Ratan Mahal

    New and unique traditions of celebrating the New Year are found in every area and this gives a new way to celebrate the occasion.

    Forester Mukesh Arvind Baria, working in Kanjetha Range of Ratan Mahal Sanctuary under Wildlife Conservation Department, along with his Forest Officer Rameshbhai Chauhan and fellow forest guards celebrated the New Year in a new and unique way by worshiping the sacred Sagen tree. These committed forest workers sent the wishes by worshipping the tree deity and started the new year of Vikram Samvat and gave the auspicious message.

    However, Mukeshbhai is a forest worker with a completely different ideology.  He started his job in the forest department from Waghodia in Vadodara district in 2008 under the Vadodara Forest Circle. He say in very suggestive words, with whom do the poor trees celebrate the New Year?  Just with us.  We from the forest division are called the relatives of forest and shrubs and that is why he made it the habit of starting the new year by worshipping a tree from the first year of his job.

    There is a very rare teak tree near Vedpur near Waghodia.  This tree with its tiny hairs on its trunk is considered as sacred as the tree of Sevan.  At that time his Beat Guard fellow and he would worship the tree in the New Year and sit with the tree for a while and have a silent conversation. There was a lot of peace from it.

    Since then he have been following this tradition ever since. He has recently moved to this new place and took permission after talking to Rameshbhai Chauhan, Range Forest Officer. He and his friends joined in the tree worship. They garland the Sagan, lit incense sticks, offered coconut and thus, started their new year with the worship of the tree deity.

    Mukeshbhai express in emotional words that people worship Lakshmi at their place, shop and business area in the new year. Similarly for them these forests and trees are their wealth as they are their bread and butter. So to thank them they worship the tree in the new year. He said to be happy about getting the hearty support of his superiors and fellow employees in this work.

    After worshipped the tree , Mukeshbhai and his companions visits Ratneshwar Mahadev at the top of Ratan Mahal near Pipar Gota village and seek blessings of the god on this auspicious day.  Rameshbhai Chauhan states that this Mahadev temple is mentioned in the Puranas and people from as far as Madhya Pradesh come to worship here on foot. Assistant Conservator of Forests Dr.  Dhawal Gadhvi has applauded this initiative and encouraged all.

    Worship of nature is also associated with the festivals of Diwali.  Govardhan Puja is of paramount importance during this festival.  In the form of Govardhan, only mountain and forest resources are worshiped.  Cow worship is also performed in this festival.  Then this small initiative of Mukeshbhai in worshipping forest and tree is considered admirable and inspiring.

     

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