(Last Updated on : 09/09/2009)
The pipal (peepal,peepul) is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Jainism
and Buddhism and therefore it is also called the 'Sacred Fig'. The Sacred Fig or Ashwattha tree whose scientific name is Ficus religiosa is a species of banyan fig native to Nepal and India, southwest China and Indochina east to Vietnam. It is a large dry season-deciduous or semi-evergreen tree up to 30m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 3m.The spear shaped leaves have a distinctive extended tip; they are 10-17cm long and 8-12cm broad, with a 6-10cm petiole. The fruit is a small fig 1-1.5cm diameter, green ripening purple.
Plaksa is a Sanskrit
term for the Sacred Fig . In Hindu texts the Plaksa tree is associated with the river Saraswati .
The Skanda Purana states that the Saraswati originats from the water pot of Brahma
and flows from Plaska on the Himalayas .Historically the pipal tree has a lot of significance and has been depicted in numerous context .The inscriptions of pipal tree has been found in the seals excavated from the Indus Valley .
the pipal tree has a lot of relevance . The Bodhi tree
and the Sri Maha Bodhi propagated from it are famous specimens of Sacred Fig.The Bodhi tree located at the Mahabodhi Temple
at Bodh Gaya
is a large and old specimen of the Sacred Fig under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, arrived at Bodhi.