The world of plants is central to the Ramayana, and this Indian pre-historical book written in long poem describes several trees and plants that are geographically accurate, and even today, the plants that are described are found growing in the exact locations all over India where Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, has placed them. It is both geographically and botanically correct.

Mr. M. Amerthalingam, botanist with the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, presented the paper, “Plant Diversity in the Valmiki Ramayana” at the February 2013 Conference on The Ramayana in Literature, Society, and the Arts. The proceedings have recently been published. Dr. P. Sudhakar, the co-author*, was invaluable in tracing the botanical and modern names for several of the plant species, which are named in Sanskrit. Valmiki Ramayana is replete with superb descriptions of nature’s glory. It hinges on two major events, namely Rama’s fourteen year exile in the forests…

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