Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 9th October, 2008 : THE TREES OF PGI (VILLAGE SHEHZADPURA) :The present building of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical & Educational Research is in the land of village Shehzadpura.Again like the PEC campus the PGI campus is blooming with old and new trees of various species. Although many would have faced the axe when the buildings were constructed most of the old and revered trees and places of worship are intact and brimming with activity till date. The first striking example is a twin BARGAD and PEEPAL standing like a king alongside the eastern road outside the AC unit of the kidney ward. No one can miss this tree. The combined dia is about 8 ft. The aerial roots of the Bargad have taken root at more than 10 spots thus making a beautiful spread and enhancing the beauty. The canopy is a good 25 m. On one side is the road and the other is bounded by the wall of the AC plant.
THE BARGAD OF “GUGA MARHI” OF PGI:
Outside the South wall of PGI in the corner near to the PGI roundabout is the much revered Guga Marhi Pir Mandir. This place boasts of three old trees, one is the holy PEEPAL and two old BARGAD trees. The central tree of Bargad has a dia of 5+ ft. and is claimed to be 250 yrs old. Its canopy is however small, about 15 m. A chauntra is built around it and little open space exists around it. The other two trees have a dia of 3 to 3.5 ft. and are comparatively quite young.
In Sector 10-A at the entrance gate of Hotel Mountview stands a 5.5 foot wide PEEPAL. The tree is 18 metres tall and has a canopy of 20 metres.
In Sector 9-B, opposite house No. 101 alongside a sector road is a 6 foot wide PEEPAL. This grand tree has a 30 metre canopy and a height of at least 20 metres. The tree has 8 large branches, each with a diameter of at least 1.5 feet.
THE GRAND OLD PEEPAL TREES OF KALIBARD VILLAGE
Perhaps the largest PEEPAL trees of Chandigarh is in Sector 9-C, which was once Kalibard village. Behind the Carmel Convent School is a large MC park amidst houses. This park was once the ‘toba’, or pond of Kalibard. Three huge PEEPAL trees exist here alongside where the pond once was. The largest PEEPAL stands right in the centre of the park. The size of the tree needs to be seen to be believed. It is 9 feet wide and has a canopy of 40 metres and a height of 20 metres. It is almost round in silhouette. It has 14 large branches of about 2 feet width going in all directions.
Sardar Mohinder Singh ji, an old man of the area working with the nearby school recounts the tales of some old men of the village who used to frequent this place. He estimates the tree to be around 250 years old. The other two PEEPAL trees are alongside. One is just outside the Convent School building and the third is inside the school along the boundary wall. This PEEPAL is also 9 feet in diameter but is drying out. Perhaps it is in its last days. A few main branches have fallen off. Although it is 20 metres high, it has significantly less foliage than its brother in the park outside.
THE LAKE PEEPAL
On the walkway of Sukhna Lake in Sector 1, is a tree no one in Chandigarh could miss. A widespread PEEPAL stands in the centre of the road just about 250 metres away from the main entrance. The site has become a resting point for anyone walking down the lake. The huge tree has a 5.5 foot diameter and its canopy, although most of which is leaning towards the lake side is about 20 metres.