Article by Mr.M.Amritalingam
In 1857, Brandis first described sacred groves. According to Fergusson (1971), sacred groves are believed to be pre-Vedic in origin. More recently, scientists like Gadgil and Vartak (1981) reviewed the presence of sacred groves in different states. There are about 13,270 sacred groves intact in the country, though certain estimates suggest that the total number of groves may be as high as one lakh. In Tamilnadu, nearly five hundred sacred groves have been reported.
Sacred groves are called by different names in different parts of India: Deorali in Darjeeling, Law Lyngdoh in Khasi Hills, Sarna in Central India, Mawphlong and Gomphas in North-East, Gamkhal, Nagvan in Manipur, Pengada in Gond, Jaher in Santal, Oran and Jogmaya in Rajasthan, Aravalli Hills, Van, Deovani, Deorai in Maharashtra, Sharanas, Dev, Samas in Madhya Pradesh, Kan, Dev Vana, Devara kade in Karnataka, Kaavu and Sarpa kaavu in Kerala and Koil kaadu and Sami solai in Tamilnadu 6 .
(source : . M. Amrithalingam, 1998, Sacred groves of Tamil Nadu. A survey. CPR environmental education centre, The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu (Chennai : CPR environmental education centre, 1997)