The survival of an heritage tree

This picture recently receives my attention on the social media platform. It happens when a person by the name Hamayun Mughal shared this image with a local gardening group on Facebook and it awestruck me since then.

The battle of the survival of the heritage and tree

I was stunned to find this kind of tree that has embedded its roots deep in the walls of a neglected building. Out of curiosity, a little research on it reveals that it is a Haveli (mansion) Sujan Singh which is located in the overcrowded market of Bhabhra Bazar, Rawalpindi.

It was built in the early 1890s by a wealthy businessman Rai Bahadur Sujan Singh in the Colonial era.

The haveli was built to resemble a royal palace with a majestic golden throne and bedrooms with original ivory furniture. In the various courtyards dancing peacocks were kept to dance during the evening and a pet tiger was kept which regularly walked the corridors.

Wikipedia

It might be a spell-binding place in the olden days but now some parts of the haveli have been badly demolished, with collapsed roofs and termite-ridden walls further damaging the place. Hence, the building has been left to crumble and rot with time.

But then this happened…

But then this happened, nature decided to take over the entire place with its own leafy interwoven pattern.

Can you see the place craftily overtaken by self-grown plants and trees of different sizes and types!
It is recognized as a heritage site by the government of Pakistan.

This is presuming a heritage tree because it has ecological and cultural value. It has beautifully embedded itself in a place that is recognized as a heritage site by the government of Pakistan.


This kind of tree takes pleasure in its transformations. It looks familiar, quiet, and consistent in its appearances, but few of us know how much wisdom and insight this kind of tree endures inside its roots. It is freaking sober and relaxes where it is supposed to be.


Here let us redefined a heritage tree:

  • A heritage tree is defined as a tree of cultural, biological, ecological, or historical concern depending upon its age, size, or condition.
  • They are often among the oldest living things in the country.
  • They are found in native forests, historic parks, farms, and estates of a country.
  • They are usually along roadsides and in agricultural fields and sometimes find in the middle of residential areas or development sites.
  • There is a need to preserve these trees for ecological and economic reasons.

What kind of tree it is?

This is a peepal tree which is one of the most beloved trees in the South Asian community.

There is a need to understand that native trees are highly aggressive and invasive while having an innate ability to spread almost anywhere.

This tree might be 10-20 years old or younger. It’s spread slowly but steadily when given ideal surroundings.

It’s a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge.

Throughout history, the peepal tree has been represented in different mythologies and sometimes linked to powerful gods. The peepal tree is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom comprised of tremendous strength. It grows slowly, but surely at its rate.

Are you wondering from where this tree is obtaining nourishment and overall strength?

  • Many factors are responsible for its growth such as an abundance of light is essential for photosynthesis, a process by which a plant manufactures its food.
  • The tree roots are well anchored and ingrained deeply requiring both organic and inorganic nutrients from the building.
  • The bricks are mostly wet and damp. So, you can see that the tree is receiving moisture from the rainwater and the structure itself.

Final thoughts:

I have heard that restoration work is in progress to revive this old-time architectural wonder. My only concern is that they don’t cut down this tree. I understand it must be a challenging task for them to preserve this historical site. Let’s hope for the best.

Sources:

Image courtesy: Facebook group post by Humayun Mughal

Haveli Sujan Singh


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