CONTENTS:- 1. Sacred groves in India: an overview: i. Anthropological dimensions of SGs; ii. Geographical distribution of SGs in India; iii. Sacred mangroves; iv. Number and size distribution of SGs; v. Ownership and management of SGs; vi. Ethnicity and sacred groves; vii. Gender and SGs; viii. Interfaces between people and sacred groves; ix. Political dimensions of SGs; x. Sacred groves as common property resources; 2. Biological and ecological dimensions: i. Biological value; ii. Ecological services; 3. Threats: Status of sacred groves of Meghalaya; 4. Opportunities: i. Duvaria' Saran; ii. Mizoram: safety forests in Manipur and Mizoram; iii. Meghalaya: Ki law Lyngdoh sacred grove; iv. Kesar Chirkav practice in Rajasthan; v. Pavitravanas in Karnataka; vi. Initiatives for strengthening SGs; vii. Chhattisgarh; viii. Karnataka; ix. Kerala; x. Maharashtra; xi. Orissa; xii. In the words of people; xiii. Rajasthan; xiv. Initiatives undertaken by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS); xv. Future strategy and action plan.
In India, as elsewhere in many parts of the world, a number of communities practise different forms of nature worship. One such significant tradition is that of providing protection to patches of forests dedicated to deities and/or ancestral spirits. These patches of forests are known as sacred groves. The tradition is very ancient and once was widespread in most parts of the world. The estimated number of sacred groves in India in about two lakhs. Groves are rich heritage of India, and play an important role in religious and socio-cultural life of the local people. These ecosystems harbour many threatened, endangered and rare plant and animal species. The book covers various cultural and ecological dimensions of sacred groves in India, and describes recent initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders to strengthen this multifarious institution.