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Parijaat at Kintur - The Kalpa-vraksha
Parijaat at Kintur, Barabanki.
“Parijaat tree” at Kintur is considered to be a divine tree and has many stories behind it. Locals speak different stories about its origin at such a remote place. Kintur (which got its name from KUNTI – mother of the Pandavas of epic Mahabharata) is about 50 kms away from Lucknow.
ORIGIN and Believes:
Arjuna brought it from Heaven : The most famous story goes that Kunti used to offer the Parijaat flowers to Lord Shiva during her daily prayers . Sun God brought these flowers every morning for her from heaven. But he could not make a trip to the earth one cloudy day and Kunti got worried. Thus, Arjuna brought it from Indra’s garden in heaven and planted it near the Shiva temple where Kunti used to offer prayer. (The Kunteshvar Shiv temple is just half a km away from this site.)
Krishna brought it for Satyabhama: Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama saw the Parijat tree, and got fascinated. So, Krishna brought it from heaven for her after fighting a fierce battle with Lord Indra, the king of the heaven. Krishna brought the tree to his capital Dwarka and planted it near Satyabhama's palace. This made his other queen, Rukmini, jealous and angry, so Krishna asked Narad to bring some Parijat flowers from heaven which he presented to Rukmini. This did not satisfy Rukmini so Krishna devised a trick by which though the tree remained near Satyabhama's palace, its flowers began to fall in front of Rukmini's palace.
This story has another bend where it is believed that when Krishna after killing demon Narakasura, went to heaven to return the stolen ear-rings of the mother of gods, Aditi, she got pleased and thus Indra gifted the Parijaat tree to Satyabhama, his wife who had accompanied and assisted him in the campaign and killing the demon. Satyabhama insisted that the tree be planted near her palace. But in the morning, she got surprised to see the flowers scattered near Rukmini's palace. She accused Krishna of being partial to Rukmini. But Rukmini was kind. She collected the flowers and returned them to Satyabhama. Satyabhama realised her mistake and agreed to share the flowers with Rukmini. Since then, Parijat flowers are offered whenever Krishna's idol is worshipped.
From Ashes of Kunti: Another school strongly believes that this tree came into being from the ashes of Kunti.
The Parijaat Tree
Historically, though these saying may be believed or buffed off, but a look at the tree itself confirms that it has a strong ancient link.
The age of this tree is said to be 1000 to 5000 years. The perimeter of the trunk of this tree is around 50 feet and height of around 45 feet. The leaves of this tree in the lower portion have five tips like the fingers of a hand, while at the upper reaches it has seven. Its flower is very beautiful and white in colour, on drying out it takes on golden tinge. This flowers have five petals. This tree blossoms very occasionally, with very few flowers. It blossoms most around the 'Ganga Dashehra', and spreads its fragrance far and wide. The locals consider it to be their protector and obliging, henceforth they protect its leaves and flowers at all costs. The leaf, the flowers, the trunk whatever falls on the ground is protected. No body is allowed to touch the tree or pluck flowers, leaves or twigs from it. Local people hold it in high esteem, in addition to the large number of tourists who visit to see this unique tree.
A look at the tree would surprise you with the different images of animals that has developed at the different angles in the tree. At one end it would appear as the head of an elephant, from other angle it would appear as lion’s face and so forth. Try and find out siome of these in the photographs.
Festivals & Sanctity
The Parijaat tree finds its mention in the Harivansha Purana - as a kalpa – vraksha, or wish-
(Parijatam mahi prishthe vrinday sparshiya manashyah
Janah swarga tyajanti vrindapa swarga falam hite.
maya mune pratigyatam punyartha satya bhamaya,
Swarga viihana pashchani parijatam nit prabho.)
bearing tree, which, apart from this tree, is only found in heaven. Thus the flower if stored in “Tijori” is believed to bring perpetuality, prosperity and growth to the family and thus considered very sacred and sought for.
Every tuesday a fair is held where local people worship the tree. The newly married couple visit it for blessings. Children are given the first symbolic hair-cut (mundan) here. A large fair is held on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra when the place gets overcrowded with pilgrims.
How to reach :
The nearest airport and main rail head is Lucknow, which is connected to all cites through many trains. From Lucknow you can take Auto/ Taxi/ Bus or Local train, available in abundance for Barabanki which is around 30 Kms from Lucknow. From Barabanki through the Lucknow – Faizabad road turn on the Shrawasti road to reach Ramnagar (around 16 kms.). From ramnagar take the link road to Kintur and Parijaat. around 6kms. (Local Bus and autos go for Kintur from Barabanki)
Best time: It can be visited anytime round the year. However, rainy season (July- August) should be avoided because of detoriated rural road conditions. The place is full of pilgrims around Ganga Dussehra (Oct- Nov).
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