The myths and realities of cloth-loaded trees across India

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Afoye tree
Afoye tree

Noida : Walking across the parks you might have noticed a tree garlanded with colourful clothes all over the tree, but ever imagined where does these clothes come from and why only a specific tree is seen loaded with clothes.

The tree of ‘Afoye’ is the tree which is usually seen loaded with clothes but why is it so? According to a Botanist, “many people turn up to take bath under it and leave clothes to treat skin ailments as the myth persists since years that the tree bears medicinal value – which is yet to be confirmed by Medical experts.

The rarely grown tree is one of it kinds and one such is present in the spread of greenery in land area of 72.5 acre in Plaiwal Park. The tree of ‘afoye’ holds a great significance, as it is almost a 100-150-year-old tradition that is still followed by Agra residents.

“It is an age old tradition or can say home remedy for skin disease known as ‘udne wale phode’ (ulceration). It is believed that if anyone suffers from a certain type of ulceration and if he takes a bath under the tree of ‘Afoye’ during early morning hours before sunrise and leaves behind a cloth from his body then he could get rid of ulceration. I also went to take a bath under this tree in my village when I was 9-year-old and since then I advise others to opt for the same remedy,” informed 90 year old Bhudevi Sharma.

Further informing about the tree and its significance, Botanist Brij Kumar said, “Its been almost 25 years since I’ am witnessing this tradition being followed as people usually visit here during early morning hours and take a bath under the afoye tree and leave their clothes behind. Although we collect these clothes in every 15 days and burn them but within a week the tree again is loaded with clothes.”

“The tree of ‘afoye’ is a flowering tree and produce cream colour flowers. These trees grow in limited numbers as rarely these trees produce seeds,” added Brij.

Explaining about the scientific part of the tree Prof Rajendra of Botany department, Dr Bheem Rao Amberkar University informs, “ This tree has anti-microbial properties which is useful in ulceration and it is used as a paste, some elderly still use it with positive effect. The tradition of taking bath under the tree is being followed since years as people have faith in this tradition and for them result matters more than science behind.”