Uttarakhand Health Minister recently announced that he had made an appeal for funds to the Union Health Minister to enable the State government to start seriously looking for the mythological SanjivaniButi. We have no idea how seriously Delhi is pondering on this proposal but this is not the first time that attempts have been made to identify this mythological miracle herb.
Those familiar with the Ramayana will recall that during the battle of Lanka, Laxman was mortally wounded by an arrow shot by Ravan's brother Meghnad. The Lankan royal physician Susena advised that the only way to save Laxman was by administering him some lifesaving herbs that were available only in the Himalayas The herb SanjiviniButi was one of them.
Hanuman was asked to get the herbs but not being a physician himself, he got confused on reaching Dronagiri hill with its profusion of different exotic herbs. So he did exercised the only logical option of carrying away the whole hilltop so that Susena could himself identify the required herbs. Laxman was saved but this story of the life-restoring SanjiviniButi continues to exercise our interest and imagination to this day.
But coming back to our Health Minister's statement, we need to remember that AcharyaBalkrishna of PatanjaliYogpeeth, Haridwar has already made the claim that SanjiviniButi has been discovered and identified by a Patanjali team which visited Dronagiri village in the Himalayas for that purpose in end 2008. However, the Patanjali team was careful to couch its claims in ambigious language to convey that what the team claims to be the Sanjivinibuti is the nearest that may be interpreted to be the mythological miracle herb. The Uttarakhand government had also sent a team to Dronagiri to search for the elusive miracle and it too came back with ambigious reports.
The inhabitants of Dronagiri village on the other hand, appear to be immune to all the excitement that is exercising the minds of the rest of the world. For them life goes on as usual in the idyllic village and they are satisfied in the knowledge that the village enjoys the benevolent gaze and protection of DronagiriParvatDev, the local deity. Of course even today they nurse an atavistic grudge against Lord Hanuman for carrying away their hilltop,because unfortunately that particular hilltop snatched away by Hanuman happened to be one of the shoulders of the ParvatDev and for that reason Hanuman is not worshipped by the inhabitants of the village.
Dronagiri village is indeed blessed by ParvatDev by way of spectacular location and surroundings. The mountainsides above the village are rich in high-altitude herbs and a herbologist's paradise! Locals claim that it is common to see the monal(State bird of Uttarakhand) and the bharal(State animal of Uttarakhand) in the fields surrounding the village. Dronagiri is also on the way to the ChangaBanga peaks.
At a height of around 12,000 feet, Dronagiri village is totally snowbound during winters and its inhabitants move to their winter villages(in winter, as you would have guessed), and return back to Dronagiri in early May. This year, Dream Mountain is scheduling a trek to Dronagiri area around end May or early June. The trek package will include stay in Dronagiri village, visit to base-camp of ChangaBanga, visit to Nandi Kund, exposure to local dance and culture and an introduction to the local traditional knowledge in exotic himalayan herbs.
Those interested to join in the trek can check for our detailed programme which will be announced here. (http://www.dreammountain.net/fixed-trekking-departures/)