Assam – Kekjori tree triggering eco-tourism boom

RONGARA (TINSUKIA), Oct 18 – A unique species of tree – among the myriad resources of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park – is fuelling an eco-tourism boom in the area. Tourists visiting the eco-tourism camp set up here by the local youths under the banner of Wave Ecotourism have evinced a keen interest in a particular tree species which is locally known as the kekjori tree. Some tourists only want to see these trees and are paying handsomely adding to the earnings of the educated unemployed youths involved with Wave Ecotourism.

Kekjori Tree in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

Kekjori Tree in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

What is so special about this tree is that one single tree covers an area of several bighas with branches spreading low and wide. With its majestic appearance as well as folk beliefs surrounding its existence, the kekjori tree has emerged as an important tourist attracting.

It needs to be mentioned here that Wave Ecotourism has identified three such kekjori trees, spreading over an area of half-a-bigha, two bighas and three bighas respectively, which are safely accessible to tourists.

“Only a short time back, we spotted these kekjori trees which are safe for the tourists to visit. We were a bit hesitant when we took the first group of tourists near one of the kekjori trees. We weren’t sure whether the tourists would appreciate the beauty of these trees,” said Niranta Gohain, a member of Wave Ecotourism.

The trees which local people believe are immortal instantly become a major attraction for the tourists. Over 20 groups of domestic and foreign backpackers have already visited the kekjori trees taking a boat ride.

“Boats are the only mode of transport to reach the kekjori trees,” informed Niranta, adding that when the tourists are near the trees, they forget their present and frolic around the trees reliving their childhood days. As branches spread out low and wide, it is easy for even a child to climb the trees.

“Eco-tourism which is thriving on diverse attractions of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park has thus provided an opportunity to backpackers, both domestic and foreign, a chance to relive their childhood and soothe their stressed souls,” Niranta said.

The local people do not know the exact age of these trees. They and their forefathers have seen the same trees exuding the same verdant beauty. Since they believe these trees cannot die, they revere these trees.

“People believe that they should not cut the kekjori trees as that will bode ill omen,” said Niranta, observing that oral tradition has helped greatly in protecting the resources of nature.

Kabita Duarah – From The Assam Tribune


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