BODHI TREE
The tree growing at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya is believed to be a direct descendant planted in 288 BC from the original tree.REUTERS

The Bodhi tree, the sacred descendant of the peepal tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment about 2,500 years back, is in good health and there is nothing to worry on the health front, say plant scientists.

Plant scientists from India's Forest Research Institute have been examining the sacred tree at Gaya in Bihar state, following reports of fungal infection.

Appearance of fungus is a common phenomenon and remedial measures are being taken to insulate the tree, said the scientists.

A medicated paste is being applied to take care of the fungus and also protect the plant from insects.

An official report of the examination is awaited, reports the Times of India.

The tree growing at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya is believed to be a direct descendant of the original tree planted in 288 BC.

Massive pruning of the dead branches of the tree was done under expert supervision.

The preservation and health maintenance job of the sacred tree was outsourced to the FRI following alarming reports of a persistent plant disease. Now scientists conduct a comprehensive health check-up of the tree every six months.

The scientists had also recommended restriction on the number of visitors to the shrine as heavy footfall resulted in soil compaction choking the nutrition channels of the sacred tree. But nothing has been done in this regard so far.

Millions of visitors come to the shrine, many from as far as Japan.

The original tree is believed to have been destroyed sometime in the 7th century but was replanted using a shoot from the tree in Sri Lanka that grew from a branch of the original tree taken there by Asoka's daughter Sanghmitta.

The Bodhi tree or ficus religiosa saw Prince Siddhartha become the Buddha following 49 days of meditation 2,500 years ago. He vowed not to move till he attained enlightenment or Nirvana.

The Buddha gave the world the four noble truths around suffering, and the eight-fold path to abandon desires.