Municipal corporation of my city promotes alien species to the terrain in tree plantation drive. We also fall for it and planted one in front of home.

When a family friend, planting trees for last 30 years came home, he pointed the trap. He said, why don’t you plant native trees? Sacred Trees?

Idea was accepted by family and we selected Bakul for plantation.

Today, after 15 days, we have new leaves and that is sign of acceptance. Sapling has accepted the place, people and surrounding.

Fruit of Bakul is edible. The seed kernel yield oil. Flowers play important role for many local rituals.

Bakul tree is mentioned several times in Ramayana:

चूत नीप महा सालान् पनसान् कुरवान् धवान् |
दाडिमान् अपि तान् गत्वा दृष्ट्वा रामो महायशाः || ३-६०-२१
बकुलान् अथ पुन्नागान् च चंदनान्केतकान् तथा |
पृच्छन् रामो वने भ्रान्त उन्मत्त इव लक्ष्यते || ३-६०-२२

Rama has gone on asking trees like mango, niipa, massive saala, jack-fruit, kuruva, dhava, and even around daaDima, bakula, punnaaga, sandalwood, ketaka trees, and when he is running around them that highly glorious Rama appeared like a madman. [3-60-21, 22]

वेश नलिनीम् रम्याम् पंकजैः च समावृताम् |
तिलकाशोकपुंनागबकुलोद्दालकाशिनीम् – यद्वा –
तिलक अशोक पुन्नाग बकुल उद्दाल काशिनीम् || ३-७५-१६

Rama entered the area of that beautiful lake which is beaming forth with lotuses hemming in from inside, and trees like Tilaka, Ashoka, Punnaga, Bakula, Uddala, are hemming it from outside.

चिरिबिल्वा मधूकाः च वञ्जुला वकुलाः तथा |
चम्पकाः तिलकाः च एव नागवृक्षाः च पुष्पिताः || ४-१-७८

“Charming are the saplings of Bilva, and Madhooka, and plants like Vakula, Champaka, Tilaka, Naaga trees are well flowered…. [4-1-78]

वानीरैः तिमिदैः चैव वकुलैः केतकैः अपि |
हिन्तालैः तिनिशैः नीपैः वेतसैः कृतमालकैः || ४-२७-१८
तीरजैः शोभिता भाति नाना रूपैः ततः ततः |
वसन आभरण उपेत प्रमद एव अभ्यलंकृता || ४-२७-१९

“With the trees born on the riverbank and available here and there in various shapes, like Vaaniira, Timida, Vakula, Ketaka, and with Hintaala, Tinisha, Niipa, Vetasa, Kritamaala trees, that river is brightened up, and thus that river appears as a dame finely bedecked with raiment and ornaments. [4-27-18, 19]

अशोक वनिका च इयम् दृढम् रम्या दुरात्मनः |
चम्पकैः चन्दनैः च अपि बकुलैः च विभूषिता || ५-१४-४३

This Ashoka garden of evil-souled Ravana is definitely beautiful; it is well decorated by Champaka trees, by sandal trees and by Vakula trees.

तालान् दाडिमगुल्मांश्च नारिकेलविभीतकान् || २-२२-५७
करीरान् बकुलान्निम्बान् समाजह्रुरितस्ततः |

From here and there the monkeys brought Palmyra trees, pomegranate shrubs, coconut and Vibhitaka, Karira, Bakula and neem trees.

From above references, it is inferred that:

  • Trees grows well near water bodies. Or rather it was planted near water bodies.
  • It is also good option for planting @ home-garden or community pathways.
  • Flowers and fragrance are center of attraction.

This observation is supported by Brihad Samhita where it is mentioned that Bakula is sacred tree to be planted near home, temple and other  religious places. In same scripture, there is a method mentioned to prepare 84 types of perfumes out of Bakula flowers.

Bakula_1 Bakula_2


In Buddhism, अर्हत् arahant (Pali) as “one who is worthy”[1] or as a “perfected person”[1][2]having attained nirvana. One of the अर्हत् is Bakula अर्हत् .Bakula was first an accomplished scholar and then lived as a wandering ascetic. It is said that he used to wear clothes made up from Bakula tree bark and leaves.

There is interesting aspect of trees in Jainism. Naminatha was the twenty-first tirthankara of the present half time cycle, Avsarpini. He attained Kevala jñāna (means omniscience in Jainism and is roughly translated as absolute knowledge or supreme knowledge.) under Bakula tree.

It is interesting to note that all the 24 tirthankaras meditated under the trees and not any other place like caves or river banks etc. to get enlightenment.
There is so much importance of plants and their medicinal values in Jainism that all Tirthankaras of present (Avasarpani Era) got their enlightenment meditating under various trees of medicinal value.
The Tirthankaras and their respective Kewali Vrikshas (Trees) are given in the following Table. [1]

Medicinal Benefits

Apart from its usage for preparing perfumes, there are several medicinal benefits too.

There is growing demand in the cosmetics Industry for exotic plants and fruits which have interesting beneficial properties for skin and hair care.

The latest of these is an Indian tree known as Bakula.

  1. Lotion prepared from flowers is used to clear wounds and ulcers.
  2. A decoction of bark generates tissues, controls bleeding and controls excessive mucus secretion.
  3. Bakula uses as per Traditional Ayurveda:
    Indicated in –
    Visha – Toxic conditions, poisoning
    Shvitra – leucoderma, vitiligo
    Krumi – worm infestation
    Dantaroga – tooth decay

    Bullet wood fruit –
    Madhura – sweet
    Snigdha – unctuous, oily
    kashaya – astringent,
    Vishada – clarity, non slimy
    Hima – coolant
    kaphapittahara – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha
    Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
    Dantya – good for teeth
    Sangrahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
    Vatala – increases Vata Dosha
    Guru – heavy to digest [2]

Modern studies

Bakul3 Bakula4 Bakula5 Bakula6