Saalumarada Thimmakka – 111 Year Old Mother To Hundreds Of Trees

Saalumarada Thimmakka from Karnataka has found happiness in planting trees. She has planted more than 350 banyan trees on both the sides of a highway near Bengaluru. She has also planted nearly 8000 other trees. She did not go to school. She was a casual labourer in a quarry. She was conferred with a Padma Shri in 2019. It is believed that she started planting banyan trees along with her husband in lieu of children. Now she is a mother for hundreds of trees.

She is fondly known as Tree Woman. She celebrated her celebrates her 111 year birthday today, 1.7.22. When asked about the secret of her long life, she says that it is due to the blessings of trees planted by her & her husband. Both of them fell in love with the banyan tree after seeing a picture of baby Krishna lying on a leaf of a banyan tree. That is why they began planting banyan trees. Below that picture there was Sanskrit Shloka which meant: I bow to that baby Krishna who is putting a lotus in the form of foot in his lotus -like mouth with his hand that resembles a lotus while lying on a leaf of banyan: Kararvinden Padarvindam Mukharvinde Viniveshyantam Vatasya Patrasya Pute Shayanam Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami.

Harini Nagendra, a Prof. at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, & an admirer of Thimmakka, says that one more inspiration forj akka’s love for trees, especially banyan is due to her childhood visit to an enormous banyan tree in Bidarguppe, as she had gone to visit a nearby temple along with her parents. This tree is 300 years old and it is a veritable palace of greenery sheltering multiple forms of life.

Akka which means an elder sister in Kannada has become a living legend for lovers of nature all over the world after she was awarded a Padmashri. Karnataka Govt. has given her a house so that her daily visitors could comfortably sit in a visitors room. When you read about this remarkable lady’s service to nature, you do not wonder why Dattatreya named a tree as one of his Gurus as trees virtually live for others: Paropakaray Phalanti Vrukshah i.e. the trees bear fruits for others.

No wonder Thimmakka found divine bliss while serving the trees throughout her life. In the words of Marathi poet Yashwant, one can say : Divyatvachi Jithe Pracheeti, Tethe Kar Maze Julati. Meaning I fold my hands in veneration wherever I feel a divine presence. Naturally I bow my head before this mother of hundreds of trees who in turn have blessed her & her spouse with a long , healthy & happy life. May her Tribe increase!

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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