Tree of the Year Nepal, 2019
In the Himalayan landscape, one encounters natural and cultural heritages that are sometimes overwhelming. Standing tall at the backdrop of some of the tallest mountain peaks of the world, this tree sets an example to the enduring capacity of life. Believed to have survived for hundreds of years in the harshest climate, she still stands tall and provides in numerous ways to mountain people, birds, animals and other creatures who live in close vicinity. The village of Chhoser is approximately 4000 meters above sea-level. This portion of the Himalayas is called the ‘rain shadow area’ or the ‘Himalayan/alpine desert’ where there is hardly any rainfall. Winter covers the landscape in thick blanket of snow and summers are hotter. But beating all odds, this tree has grown, attained maturity and continues to surge higher.
Very near to the village of Chhoser lies the famous sky-caves of Mustang. It is quite certain that this tree has provided much needed relief and shade to the pilgrims and travelers that have walked beneath her for millennia. The mountain people feature her in their rituals, worships and daily life. The local legend speaks of the tree highly as it ‘personifies the Divine’.
The immediate landscape surrounding this tree is dry yet colorful. The fragile soil that gets blown away by the powerful winds finds strength in her large roots. At a time when the mountain creatures have started to witness and experience the challenging impacts of climate change, an age-old narrative of endurance of this tree offers hope and inspiration.
This beautiful tree is an inspiration to life.