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Brahmanyan
30-08-2012, 08:26 PM
BHOJAPATRA:

The bark of Bhurja Tree known as Bhojapatra. The bark of Himalayan Birch(Betula Utilis) was used for centuries in our Country for writing lengthy scriptures and texts in Sanskrit and other scripts, particularly in historical Uttarkhand and Kashmir . Its use akin to paper for books is mentioned by early Sanskrit writers including Kalidasa, Susrta and Varahamihira. In the late 19th century. Kashmiri pandits reported that all of their works were written on Himalayan Birch bark till Mogals introduced paper in the 16th century.The Sanskrit word for the tree is Bhrja, which is known in the west as Birch Tree.

The bhojapatra is still used for writing sacred yantras, which are placed in small talismans and worn around the neck for astrological protection. This practice was mentioned as early as the 8th or 9th century CE, Pancharatra texts.


I have seen the forests of Birch trees near Chirbhasa (Blue pine forest) and Bhojbasa while trekking on my pilgrimage to Gohmukh, from Gangothri.

Nowadays due to unabated destruction of Birch Trees in the Himalayan region, it is causing concern to the ecological balance in the area. The bark is also used for packaging material , roof construction, native umbrellas, bandages, etc. The wood is used for bridge construction. Of course the widespread use of the tree for firewood, has caused enough damage in large areas of habitat .

Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.