Tree of the Year Nepal

Photograph • Preserve • Publicise

Asian Tree of the Year Nepal 2018

Winner 2018 - 1st Position

Tree of the Year Nepal, 2018

Photo credit: Uddhav Dangal

Magnolia champaka (chhap) is one of the rare species of Tree biodiversity and is considered also as holy. The leaves of this tree are most essential in religious work for Nepali Hindus. In Nepal, cutting down this tree is illegal, regardless if being a public property or private property.

This 300 years old Chap tree in a small community called ‘Chapa Bote’ which is named after the tree itself. A community school “CHAPABOT HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL is also named after the tree (est. 1981 A.D.) with 500 hundred students, who will graduate someday telling about the significance of this name and this tree. According to an 84 years old resident, Deva Dutta the ancestors put water pot for the passerby to drink in the yesteryears. Lying in the middle of Sankhu-Melamchi Highway and being in the center of the road, government and public are preserving this.

Winner 2018 - 1st runner up

Tree of the Year Nepal, 2018

Photo credit: - Mohan Jaishi

My grandfather planted this Gulmohar tree 18 years ago when I was around 4 years old in our village land in Gulara. He passed away a few years later. Two years back, remembering the time he planted the tree for me, I planted another Gulmohar just in front of the old one while I was home for vacations. These trees hold a special place in my heart. Whenever I am in my village I sit in front of these trees for hours and think of life, death, nature and immortality. I believe we all are a part of nature. We will be remembered for what we did and my grandfather & me, we planted a tree.
Winner 2018 - 2nd runner up

Tree of the Year Nepal, 2018

Photo credit: - Ashin Poudel

The haphazard rapid urbanization and infrastructural development in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is not only affecting the lives of the citizens but the trees have become the victim of the mass destruction in the name of Development “Industrialization”. This tree which stands alone in a tiny hill is the lone survivor of this war between human and nature. Peepal tree (Ficus Religiosa) is considered by Nepalese as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is worshipped throughout the country, which is the sole reason for the survival of this tree. Once upon a time, this tree was surrounded by a whole forest around, which now doesn’t exist, they were all cut down.You see, people are scared to commit sins by cutting down a holy tree. The fear of God saved this one but what about the rest of the Trees? Let us coexist with nature. It is the only way we can exist.

Photo credit: - Aswin Shrestha

They say Life without Love is like a Tree without Leaves, but this tree has a different life of its own. Standing tall and strong on a place where snow rules, harsh wind attacks like a sword of a ninja it stood still and strong from years and yet it will for many more. Though its leaves gave up but it won’t…
This is the story of a random tree standing on lap of icy mountains.
Mustang, Nepal

Photo credit: - Aasma Sharma

I See you every time walking by my side
Hey Human, I Feel like captive of your pride
Why I m captured with in the concrete?
Don’t I have the right to be freed?
I was there when you chopped my friends
But I promise to spread smile until my story ends!!

Photo credit: - Suraj Maharjan

“Learn character from tree, value from roots and change from leaves.” With this famous saying of Tasneem Hameed we came to realize the importance of trees in our daily life. Every tree has its own importance and stories. One of the tree is ”SINGLE TREE” and it has its own. This tree is known as the single tree because it is believed that it is located single at the top of the hill from the ancient time. So, it is also known as “one tree hill” of halchowk, Ichunghu.
The special uniqueness of this place is that we have to climb exact hundred steps of ladder to reach the tree, with full of fresh and beautiful scenario of almost whole Kathmandu valley including ancient stupa i.e. swayambhunath at the front and the view of white gumba at the right back. At the bottom of the tree, Goddess named “Akash Devi” is worshipped. The Newari people who lived around that place calls it “Yaaka Simha” where Yaaka stands for single and Simha for Tree.

Photo credit: - Safal Kc

It’s a beguiling sight, turning my fancy into smiling, when winter leaves are all around and the tree still holds the ground as if its silence speaks along every change of seasons. Story goes back in time when, Demon named Danasur stole treasures of lord Indra and the vast treasure were hidden in the lake of taudaha under the protection of karkotak, the king of serpents who has been sighted by the local villagers as a huge cobra assumed to reside alongside the Bakaina tree , although cobras are not found in the valley. The Bakaina tree has been here since the time myths were assumed reality in time. Even the myths attached with the tree being a home to the serpent protector repetitively seen around were so prevalent, Rana Prime minister Jung Bahudur once dug up the entire lake to find if really treasures were there until finding nothing. Now the tree has been surrounded by small stone fencing as the fishes started feeding on its roots. The tree certainly is rest place for travelling birds throughout the world like cormorant and an added beauty to the place with small trees of asare ful alongside.

Photo credit: - Jannat Shrestha

The tree is beautifully standing at large space in Gopali village, Daman; the only tree growing at this particular place. The 20m tree has been standing at this rough place. For me, it sought like a beauty has been placed between the tiny little cracked brick houses. It has shed all its leaves and is waiting for summer to arrive to get its greenery. This particular tree is especial to me as some of the villagers had told me that the place was near cemetery and the unrested soul who used to die lives in that tree. Thus, it was told that the tree was haunted. I thought it was a myth. To check whether it is true or not, I visited it at night. It was about 7:30pm; cold wind blew there. My heartbeat pounded fast as I went close to the tree. Suddenly, I saw a dark image there and I ran quickly without looking back. Next day, I again went there to see the tree. The tree stood quietly. I could not wonder who I saw last night. Was it my own reflection, my imagination or the ghost? Scary…it is.

Photo credit: - Ritesh Shrestha

During my work placement in a beautiful Small village called Bargaun, near Simikot (headquarter of Humla district) Karnali Region, I had to walk for miles and miles to get to my destination and this tree used to be my resting place. It’d provide me shed from the sun right above my head. All my stress would fade away and I would be at peace every time I leaned against this tree. This tree was a reminder that at most challenging times of our life, lied something beautiful right in the middle of it all. This was my first time, leaving my comfortable Kathmandu life and moving out from my comfort zone; I experienced the challenges and hardness of life. This tree became my friend during my loneliest hours. All my happiness knew no bound when I saw the tree blooming with beautiful flower. Home can be found anywhere.

Photo credit: - Hikmat Bahadur Nepali

Dailekh is a famous and very important district of Nepal for religious, archaeological and cultural matters. The popular things is that here the legend of the ancient heritage from an old age. Some of the assets have been certified safely and some have to be certified very soon. Panchakoshi is known as the place of pilgrimage, Kotila, Navisthan, Dhuleshor and Paduka are national and international pilgrimage place. One of them is worthwhile seen is the peak in front of the stream in the middle of the pilgrimage. In the continuous flame, the mint of the mint has added naturally beautiful. The appearance of Ganesh's statue from the branch of the tree that is near the temple has added naturally and more beautifully.
According to bestiary the beautiful tree is here from three hundred twenty-five years ago and this is ninth historical place of Dailekh. This amazing tree is planted in 1973. But now peoples are having argued that the tree age is 100 years old. However, now it is mentioned that in 1973, the tree was planted in generally around the pavement. This scene has created from 335 years of age. Now this is safe and sustain. This is reality based story and There are many basic historically and important things like this. There is only a problem about the responsibility of stakeholders.
This is beautiful creation of god and people are giving respect to this tree from 335 years ago. This is most valuable thing from our nature and from history and culture as well. Everyone should come here to visit one time.

Photo credit: - Prasmita Sharma

After I left Nepal in 2012, I was not able to celebrate my birthday with him. He told me he had prepared a special gift for my birthday but he wanted to keep secret. I went to Nepal in my birthday to surprise him. I was curious about my gift. He pointed to a nearby tree showing his surprise gift. I was shocked, but at the same time I was happy too as it was an Avocado tree – one of my best fruit. I used to complain him if I had to go without Avocado for more than a week.
Even when I am outside Nepal, we still talk about plants that we planted together to see its overall growth. He takes extra steps in sending pictures to me using Messenger. I feel so happy to see these pictures. I feel like I wish I could rush back to Nepal to feel these plants. He started to plant one Avocado tree each year for the past four years. Last year when I was in Nepal, we both went to see Government appointed Agricultural Specialist to consult if we could add more trees. These days Avocado, Orange, Lemon, LAPSI, NEEM are growing.

Photo credit: - Pragati Karki

Khalil Gibran once wrote in his poem ‘sand and Foam’, “Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky”. Above line perfectly defines my love for tree and poetry.
Living in the midst of idiotic civilization, this tree has seen and felt hundreds of death and destruction. In the desert of naturally poor mediocre human, this Bodhi tree is the excellent example of mighty Mother Nature. The only area that is not ekanta (alone/lonely) at Ekantakuna lies within the shade of this beautiful tree. Though she engulfs and inhales tons of dirty air every day, she never complains nor get angry with her human friends. She’s friend to everyone. She has seen young couple promising love and the same couple breaking down over a year. She has seen young man getting old and passing away. Hundreds of people every day pass by her sights and she bid them “hello” with her beautiful airy smile. Every now and then she provides life, support, friendship to whoever pass around, but these days she’s quite busy helping Police (Traffic Police) friends by letting them hang a flex board on her which says “No Horn please”

Photo credit: - Jyonita Karki

I don’t remember the exact date but about two years ago, I had first visited this place. On the top of a mound, there was this Peepal tree, standing tall and pretty. I remember falling in love with the place instantly. After that, whenever I used to feel low or sad, I started going there. Being there, all by myself gave me peace of mind. This place works as a stress-reliever for me, even today. Nowadays, this place has become popular by the name “One Tree Hill”. Owing to this, I personally believe that protecting trees is crucial not only for the conservation of biodiversity but also for the physical and mental well-being of people, especially those residing in cities. Our lives have become so hectic and stressful that we need some dose of fresh air every now and then. And preserving trees is one of the best ways to get that.

Photo credit: - Bibek Poudel

When I came across with a Chatian tree scientifically named as Alstonia Scholaris located at Surunga Municipality of jhapa district of eastern part of Nepal whose age was suppose to exceed a century, I was very inquisitive for its acquaintance and probing through it I discovered following Myths and the values associated with it which compelled me to unveil it for its identification , care and protection :
Special Values:
It’s immense medicinal values are mentioned below:
  • Its ripe fruits are used for the treatment of Syphilis and Epilepsy.
  • Plant sap and Bark is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat Fever, malaria, tumor, asthma and Digestion trouble.
  • Milky Juice of Chatian is used to treat ulcers.
The Chatian tree is also called Dita tree as a belief of Devil Tree. Particularly this tree is worshipped in the manifestation of Singha Devi, Kalika Naag Devi, Shivaji and Ganesh with their respective Statues erected in the venue.
Many years back Santhal (an ethnic group) dignified this particular tree with religious significance. The other Myths behind this tree is that a woman at this venue was haunted several times by a lion. Since then this tree has been given tribute as a manifestation of God.

Photo credit: - Rajan Kumar Shivastav

Aanp-Mauwa is a social name given for a set of two separate tropical trees, but we don't find scientific name for this concept. Madhesi people in most part of eastern plain of Nepal have strong belief that matrimonial life will be joyful if bride or bridegrooms worship near the Aanp-Mahua one day before the main function of their marriage. This is common in some other parts of Nepal and India.
People in their locality grow plant of Mango (Mangifera Indica) and Mauwa (Madhuca longifolia) as a couple within the distance of about 2 meters, and popularly give single name Aanp-Mahua as Mango is locally called Aanp or Aam. Aanp is considered as female and Mahuwa as Male.
These trees have multiple benefits. Trunk and branches are sources of wood that can be used for fire wood and construction materials. Mango fruit and leaf is used in almost every customs and tradition of Hindu culture for example -while worshipping deities or performing rites or celebrating festivals. Mahua's leaf is used as traditional plates in cultural functions. Both trees have medicinal, food and ornamental values. Since my father and forefathers continued Aanp-Mahua marrige tradition, I shall also continue.

Photo credit: - Aastha Lamichhane

At the central east side of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square (listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site) situated at the heart of Kathmandu, we can figure out a huge tree growing on the roof of Gorakhnath shrine. It's hard to believe this but we've to believe the "unbelievable" sometimes. The Peepal tree locally known as “Bodhibo” is approximately 200-250yrs old and is rooted on the roof of Gorakhnath Temple constructed by the Late Great King Prithvi Narayan Shah during the 17th century. It is believed that the King was blessed with Lord Gorakhnath during his regime. The tree carries a major historical importance, aids the scenic beauty to Kathmandu Durbar square, and plays an important role in providing habitats for many birds like pigeons, sparrow, crow etc.
Either they be youngsters or elder people or friends or couples; everybody love to relax in the shade of this tree. But it is in the verge of collapse as the Gorakhnath temple has been badly destructed by 2015 earthquake and it might be cut during the reconstruction of temple. As the tree has major historical, religious, recreational and aesthetic value, the concerned authorities should be made aware and protect this amazing tree!!

Photo credit: - Rabina Thapa

Inside the Narayanhiti Palace Museum which was the former palace of the Royal Nepali Family is the Narayan Mandir in front of which this tree lies. There are three trees: Bar, Peepal and Simal growing in the same Chautari. According to the pujari who looks after the temple, the tree is special because of the fact that all the members of Royal Family that lived in the Narayanhiti Durbar Palace worshiped the tree in every special occasion. The Pujari recollects the Queen being very close to the tree and watering the tree herself regularly. The trees have been around since the establishment of the palace and the temple and generations of royal families have worshiped the tree as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Kings of Nepal were also worshiped as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu by the Nepalese people.

Photo credit: - Sanjog Rasaili

This Cycas tree is situated in Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu. There are a very few tree of this kind in Kathmandu and this particular tree is almost 70 feet tall and is inside a colony and a temple. The tree is very famous and can be seen from houses around Kamlpokhari, Putalisadak and Kamaladi. It is almost 50 years old and being preserved inside a residential colony inside Kathmandu symbolizes the harmony in which people and nature should survive.

Photo credit: - Swopnil Ghimire

This Peepal tree is situated alondgside Dhobikhola river, Rudramati Marg, Kathmandu. In 2012, the government led by then prime minister Baburam Bhattarai started work on the expansion of the Capital’s roads. However, the task seems to be moving at a sluggish pace though political leaders have claimed that it is on the ‘fast track’. After six years only a fraction of the work has been completed and most of the work seems to be left halfway. Due to this the majority of trees throughout the capital city have been demolished and the few remaining are in the worst possible situation. Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project (KVREP), Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Department of Roads who are working jointly on the road expansion project are negligent on this matter.

Photo credit: - Binita Karki

This maple tree is at an elevation of approximately 2800 meters besides a small stream in Ghorepani, Myagdi. This species of tree is a constituent of the rich deciduous forests of Nepal. Throughout the famous Annapurna trekking circuit you can find these trees with colorful leaves that add to the beauty of the nature. A group of trekkers where resting by the tree while I reached there. This tree reminds me of the beauty and serenity of the mountainous region of Nepal.

Photo credit: - Baburam Raut

Dil Bahadur Gurung planted this Paiyu tree besides his house in Chumrung Village, which is the gateway to Annapurna Base Camp. Gurung lives atop a small hill in solitude almost 5 Km away from the nearest community. He planted this tree some 15 years ago while constructing the house. He sells tea in his house to the passerby who sit below the tree and enjoy the scenic view of the landscape that the hills form and the endless horizon above it.

Photo credit: - Gaurab Thapa

He is a friend who grew up together with my grandfather, a companion who helped my dad and his friends play while in his young age, a supporter that supported the weight of hundreds of people during Dashain while they swung on tight ropes wrapping around his arm like branch. He stood sturdily on heavy rain and storm, sheltered those in need. He held dear to the religious ones as well as the playful ones. He has always been the centre of my locality. Children play hide and seek around him, the elders sit on its sides to pass the time and he is also a subjected to many events time and again. But a certain while ago, merely a year it has been, he was cut. His arms like branches chopped off for the purpose of installing additional electricity supply to city of Kathmandu from Kulekhani.

Photo credit: - Najma Rai

She stands alone, but she stands tall. Her magnificence is noticed by few, if at all. Time is scratched on her leaves that grow with luscious green during spring and returns to the Earth in stone cold winter. She patiently waits for her leaves to grow back and be a cozy and safe haven for the little creatures, bringing back her magnificence all over again. She may be a barren tree in the dead winter, but with roots as strong as her patience and love, she, like her family of trees all around the world, is a safe haven, a nurturer, a perfect epitome of selfless love. Her existence, if untouched by nature herself or the machine, will bring harmony that maybe unnoticed, but will definitely be felt, among the flowers that grow around her, among the little creatures that live within her, among the great birds that fly around her. An existence of tree, like her roots, will pave the way for further growth and flourishing of everything that is natural and ultimately good for the survival of the Earth.

Photo credit: - Sandip Rai

It hasn’t been long that this tree of Cinnamomum camphor made an impact on my life. The tree has served as a refreshment point during my internship days at Rhythm Neuropsychiatric Hospital located right behind it. I am one of those people who seek a cool shade to end one grueling day in peace and this tree has served this purpose right. Among the multiple purposes it has served such as road divider, a place to rest for locals and travelers, sell vegetables, shelter for birds and animals; I found its use in resting under it to the sounds of birds chirping and the gentle waves of wind. This was a relaxing and a perfect way to end my otherwise tiring day and I didn’t miss a single chance to do so. It struck me then that I got this privilege because someone gracious planted it long before people like me to enjoy its benefits today. As quoted by Warren Buffet- “Someone sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago”; great things do take time and trees are one of them. Though this started with my internship it won’t end with it.

Photo credit: - Abhishek Singh Basnet

This tree is the witness of everything that happened here. Stretched its branches like arms all over with the leaves. For more than 1 millennium it has been giving shade when beings felt hot and protection in the rain since Mandev, the ancient Licchavi king of Kathmandu. Upon the root of tree rests temple of Dhumra Varah, the avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of grey boar from since time immemorial. The place, Dhumbarahi was named after this. One of many local legends about its origin is to visit Baraha Chetra, the holy place in the East Nepal, was very far and difficult for people of Kathmandu. So, they built the temple of Dhumra Baraha in their locality. Ever since then, including the great earthquake of 2015, nothing has happened to the temple. Locals have a strong belief that the power of tree and blessing of Dhumra Baraha is protecting them. Near is the school, where this tree stands as if it is a guardian that watches the school kids playing.

Photo credit: - Kiran Giri

Lying on the lap of naturally beautiful Chepe-Marshyangdi River, and connecting the Historic Ligligkot, Lamjung, Gorkha and Tanahun, lies the Dhiki Danda Chautari (Banyan Tree periphery) which has been a witness to the various passing generations. Whether be it witnessing the trend of choosing kings by determining who wins the race or be it witnessing the fights of Baise-Chaubise Rajya, this Banyan tree carries the overall defining history of Nepal. Drabhya Shah, who was the son of king of the then Lamjung, Yashubrahma Shah, owned that title by running on the roots of that same tree from Chepe Ghat till Ligligkot. This tradition of choosing a king is believed to be the very first democratic system of the world and this Banyan tree is a witness to this golden history. Apart from this, this tree is also the witness to many deaths that occurred in the Kingdom of Ligligkot. It also provides shade to the people who take the tiring uphill walk after completing the final rites of their dead ones. There is a belief that the people, after performing the final rites of the dead ones must jump and touch the leaf of the Banyan tree and even today people do so to make one pure by touching the leaf of this very same tree. Therefore, the tree which has been a witness to various generations and life- deaths, is carefully preserved by the locals.

Photo credit: - Priya Dongol

While walking down from Lamjung’s urban land to historical Gaun Sahar (Kaulepani), the Sami tree, which has been staying for hundreds of years in the city's farewell road, insists anyone to hold on and rest for a while. This Sami tree holds a great historic value. This tree has been the resting point for many shah kings of Nepal. Rivalries were all over the country during the tenure of Shah kings, and that rivalries went to the peak when a fierce yet clever soldier named Khaje Dura from Duradanda (Turlungkot) kidnapped a baby king Yeshobrahmma Shah (Son of Kulmandan Shah) to fulfill the quest of kingship in Lamjung. During that phase of Kidnapping, that Soldier walked a long way back home from Kaski with a baby king inside sack carrying on his shoulder. This tree’s historical value began when that soldier named Khaje Dura to stop by for a time being to calm his breathe (took rest for a while) in the periphery of this Sami tree. This tree is believed to be a witness of such historical event of Shah Kingdom which later resulted in the formation of Lamjung Durbar in Gaun sahar. This place is mostly populated by Dura people as this Sami tree lies here and make them feel proud of the deeds of their ancestors.

Photo credit: - Upakar Bhandari

This Peepal tree is situated at Bhawanipur village, Devdaha Municipality which was found as a famous ancient capital of Koliya kingdom, the maternal hometown of queen Maya Devi (mother of Lord Gautam Buddha) where it is believed that Buddha spent his childhood. We can observe many archaeological and historical sites near this tree like ancient pillar, Mayadevi temple and ancient brick well as seen on the ground of tree. Peepal has its religious, aesthetic and medicinal value.

Photo credit: - Bibisha Nepal

My late grandfather loved this tree. Every day he used to visit here and sit in the tree shade. He used to come back home and explain me how he spent his days talking to his friends and playing with children. He used to say, “the blue mimosa takes me to Ganges which regains my sanity”. Years later I take the same road to college. I see children playing here and old people talking. I sit here for hours and realize why this place is such heartwarming. This tree has given more than a shade to people. Old people gather here and discuss life. Children play here. In such compact settlement lies a park- a heaven of banglamukhi. A tree which carries life experience. Even in winter I feel the mimosa blossoming and my grandfather happily sharing the shade with me.

Photo credit: - Monica Neupani

It’s been 3 years I am observing this tree, since 3 years this tree is observing many up’s and down’s such as earthquake, river outburst and road development works and many more but this tree the same providing us oxygen to breathe, shade during summer and rain. Lord Buddha also have gained enlightenment under peepal and when I sit under this tree I can feel a kind of peace.