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Project submitted to the

University of Kannur in partial fulfillment

Of the requirements for the degree of





I, MONISHA MOHAN.T. K, do hereby declare that this project, STUDY ON SOCIO- CULTURAL ASPECTS AND PTERIDOPHYTIC PLANT SPECIES IN THREE SELECTED SACRED GROVES OF CHAKKARAKKAL AREA OF KANNUR DISTRICT has not been submitted by me for the award of a Degree, Diploma, Title or Recognition before.

SUM college of Teacher Education




I ,TREESA VARGHESE M, do hereby certify that this project, STUDY ON SOCIO- CULTURAL ASPECTS AND PTERIDOPHYTIC PLANT SPECIES IN THREE SELECTED SACRED GROVES OF CHAKKARAKKAL AREA OF KANNUR DISTRICT is a record of bonafide study carried out by MONISHA MOHAN.T. K, under my supervision and guidance. The report has not been submitted by her for the award of a Degree, Diploma, Title, or Recognition before.

SUM College of Teacher Education



Lecturer in Natural Science


SUM College of Teacher Education


At the very out set the investigator thanks the most benevolent God who enabled her to complete the task of undertaking the present study successfully.

The investigator records her indebtedness with deep felt gratitude to Ms. Treesa Varghese. M, Lecturer in Natural Science, SUM College of Teacher Education for her guidance extended for the conduct of this study.

The investigator express her deep sense of gratitude to Dr. Jayasree. C. V, for her overall guidance in her efforts and all other teachers for their encouragement and supports throughout this study.

The investigator owes her heartly thanks to her parents and other family members for their encouragements and blessings.

The investigator is greatful to her friends and all other who have helped her to come through this way.





















The present study deals with the pteridophytic richness of the sacred groves of Kudan Gurukkanmar Temple, Iriveri Pulideva Temple, and Vayanattukulavan Temple situated in Chakkarakkal area in Kannur district. Altogether 15 pteridophytes (ferns) were enumerated. They include Alsophylla, Adiantum, Selaginella, etc., angiosperm species, bryophytes and fauna including birds such as dove, eagle, crew, etc. and animals including cat, cow, dog, etc. Of these 15 are found in Iriveri Pulideva Temple, 10 found in Kudan Gurukkanmar Temple and 5 are found in Vayanattukulavan Temple. The people came mainly womens followed by childrens. The religious belief is an important one. The main followers are Hindus. All the groves are having religious rituals and it may retain the status of the sacred grove and ensured the protection of the grove vegetation.


Since immemorial, conservation of natural resources has been an integral part of diverse cultures in different ways. The traditional worship practices show the symbiotic relation of human beings and nature. Indigenous communities all over the world lived in harmony with the nature and conserved its biodiversity. In course of time, science and technology developed and industries were established and expanded to meet the increasing demands of the people.

India has a rich and varied heritage of biodiversity, encompassing a wide spectrum of habitats from tropical rain forests to alpine vegetation and from temperate forests to coastal wetlands. Because of its unique biogeographic location India is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and has led to its recognition as one of the 12 mega diverse countries of the world. The Western Ghats which have been considered as a ‘hot spot’ due to its wide range of endemic forms of biodiversity of genera, species and races which includes nearly 2000 species of higher plants, 84 species of fishes, 87 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles, 15 species of birds and 12 species of mammals – all endemic to Western Ghats.

Today, the world is losing plant and animal species faster than any other time in the history, largely because of human actions. Various anthropogenic activities have altered the structure and function of different ecosystems all over the world. Disappearance of species due to habitat alteration, over exploitation, pollution, global climate change and invasion of exotic species is so fast. So what is significant in this context is that conserving biological diversity at all its dimensions.

For the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity, IUCN protect rich biodiversity areas by declaring them as national parks, wild life sanctuary, biosphere reserves and ecologically fragile and sensitive areas. Many laws governing the biodiversity conservation have also been enacted from time to time which includes Forest

Act 1927, Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Environment Protection Act 1986, Biological Diversity Act 2002, etc.

Besides these laws, there were many traditional practices which also contributed to the protection of biodiversity. An example of such traditional practices is the conservation and protection of small forest patches by dedicating them to the local deities by various indigenous communities of the world. Such forest patches are called “Sacred Groves”.

The concepts of “Nature” and “Sacred” have long been interlinked. Various cultural aspects such as religion, faith, traditions, etc. bring people closer to the nature and the natural environment. Sacred groves are one such natural landscape that exists today. Sacred groves are the tracts of virgin forest that were left untouched by the local inhabitants, harbor rich biodiversity, and are protected by the local people due to their cultural and religious beliefs and taboos that the deities reside in them.


The sacred virgin forests date back to thousands of years when human society was in the primitive state. Gadgil and Vartak (1976) have traced the historical link of the sacred groves to the pre – agricultural, hunting and gathering stage of societies. Hence, these virgin forests are believed to be pre-Vedic in origin. The area of sacred groves ranges from few square meters to several hectares. Physically, it is a piece of forest land, but culturally, it is associated with deities, rituals and taboos. Sacred groves provide the inextricable link between present society to the past in terms of biodiversity, culture, religious and ethnic heritage (Vartak and Gadgil, 1981).

Hughes and Chandran (1997) have presented an overview on the distribution of sacred groves around the earth in Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The sacred groves of Asia and Africa and royal hunting forests are the historical examples (Chandrashekara and Sankar1998, Kanowski et al.1999). Some of the species present in sacred groves are considered as sacred. Frazer (1935) reports that the groves of ‘Mugumu’ trees are sacred in east Africa.

Sacred groves are also reported from Ghana, Nigeria, Syria, Turkey and Japan (Gadgil and Vartak, 1976). A document of MAB (1995) has described the sacred groves present in Ghana, Senegal and Sumatra. Several small size sacred groves were reported from Nepal by Ingles (1994). Various sacred sites associated with rich vegetation in Bangladesh were reported by Hussain (1998). Ramakrishnan (1996) reported the existence of sacred groves in different parts of India and they are known by different names in different areas (Bhakat, 1990).

Sacred groves exist in most regions of Asia, and they are associated with many different traditions. As per the Hindu mythology the basic elements of nature in the form of Prithvi(Earth), Agni(Fire), Jal(Water), Vayu(Air) and Akash(Space) were always worshipped (Anthwal et al., 2006).


The importance of sacred groves in the conservation of biological diversity has high value. According to several reports there is a concentration of rare, endemic and endangered species in sacred groves. Chandrashekara and Sankar (1998) recorded 73 species in three sacred groves of Kerala, and among them 13 are endemic to South Western Ghats, 3 are endemic to Western Ghats and 1 is endemic to peninsular India.

The sacred groves are ideal centers for biodiversity conservation. They are important reservoirs of biodiversity. They indicate a meaningful fusion of religion and ecology.

One of the most important traditional uses of sacred groves was that it acted as a repository for various Ayurvedic medicines. Other uses involved a source of replenishable resources like fruits and honey. However, in most sacred groves it was taboo to hunt or chop wood. The vegetation cover helps reduce soil erosion and prevents desertification (R.S.Tripathi, 1985).

Sacred groves provide ample material for further genetic experiments in Agricultural research. More than 50% of the plants found in the sacred groves are medicinal, 18% have high timber value and 32% is yielding non-wood forest produces (Arora and Nair, 1964).

The main role of sacred groves is the protection and conservation of plant and animal species. Certain endemic species of plants are found only in the sacred groves. The Pteridophytic plants such as Alsophila, Hymenophyllum, Acrostichum, Lygodium …. etc. are some of the endemic species of plants found only in the sacred groves of North Kerala (Unnikrishnan, 1997). Pteridophytes otherwise known as “Vascular Cryptogams”. They are mainly found in terrestrial, aquatic, semi-aquatic, etc. Also many angiosperm families are found in all groves. In this regard sacred groves are significant in the preservation of genetic diversity as a micro ecological niche.

It is also estimated that approximately 11 species of Amphibia are identified in the sacred groves of Kerala. About 50% of the birds in Kerala are noticed in the sacred groves. Animals like Civet, Flying Fox and a large number of different families of Butterflies and Spiders are also identified from the sacred groves (Bindu Ramachandran, 1999).

Apart from ferns, a wide variety of trees, shrubs, lianas, orchids, bryophytes and microbes abound in the sacred forests. So that, sacred groves are often the last refuge for threatened species along with medicinal plants. Many sacred groves contain ponds and streams (Tripathi, 1985).The role of sacred groves is briefed as follows:

Sacred groves provide shelter to thousands of species of other plants and animals.

Sacred groves help in the recharge of aquifers.

It has a great power to heal body and spirit.

Sacred groves are important reservoirs of biodiversity.

These are storehouses of medicinal plants valuable to village communities as well as modern pharmacopoeia.

Sacred groves play an important role in keeping the water cycle in local areas.

These improve soil stability, prevent top-soil erosion and provide irrigation for agriculture in drier climates (Khan et al., 2008).


Sacred groves (kavukal) are seen throughout Kerala, having varied forms, cultural practices and belief systems. The vegetation and the deities worshipped are highly varied. One such type is the sacred grove dedicated to serpent God and serpent worship, which is considered to be one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of nature worship in the world. Only in Kerala, people worship serpent in the sacred groves dedicated to them called “Sarpakavu”. Estimate tells us that there are over 2,000 well protected sacred groves in Kerala, and are usually associated with Hindu temples and ancestral homes of old Hindu and Muslim families (Rajendraprasad, 1995). The ‘Kavu’ in Malayalam vernacular means a garden or a consortium of trees generally dedicated to God and Serpents. About 500 ha of forest area is under sacred groves (Prasad and Mohanan, 1995). In Kerala, the area of sacred groves varies from one cent to more than 20 hectares. One of the important sacred groves in Southern part of the state is the 2.75 acre Kurinjikavu at Ramapuram village in Kottayam. This grove has historical importance because of several dolmens within it. Iringol kavu, Kunnathurpadi kavu, Theyyottu kavu are the other large kavus in Kerala.


In Kerala, all the districts have numerous sacred groves and which are ecologically and economically very important. The no. of sacred groves is more in Thiruvananthapuram district having 152 sacred groves. The second place is goes to Kozhikode district having 33 groves. The next is Kollam district with 28 groves and Alappuzha district have 17 sacred groves. Both the Kannur and Kottayam districts have

13 sacred groves and also the Pathanamthitta and Kasargod districts, both have 12 sacred groves. Thrissur district have 8 sacred groves while Ernakulam district have 6 sacred groves. There are 3 sacred groves are found in Malappuram district and 2 are found in Wayanadu district. The high ranges such as Idukki and Palakkad have only a single sacred grove.


Sacred groves are dedicated by local communit5ies to their ancestral spirits or deities. Such a grove may consist of multi-species, multi-tier primary forest or a clump of trees, depending on the history of the vegetation. These are protected through social taboos and sanctions that reflect spiritual and ecological ethos of the communities.

Approximately 400 types of ‘Theyyam’ are found in Kerala. It is believed to be connected with the sacred groves of Kerala (Bindu Ramachandran, 1999).


Generally, sacred groves are believed to be a treasure house of medicinal, rare and endemic plants, as refugia for relic flora of a region and as a centre of seed dispersal (Whittaker, 1975). Gadgil and Vartak (1975) reports that, owing to their religious significance sacred groves are better protected and managed and hence harbor richer plant diversity than other forests. Nair and Mohanan (1981) also reported about certain rare pteridophytes such as Alsophylla, Ophioglossum, Isoetes and Osmunda which are found only in some groves in Kerala.

Considering the pteridophytic diversity in the sacred groves of Kerala, there contains more than 150 types of ferns of which few are endemic in nature. There is also equally rich fauna belt is present. The diversity of lower plants and animal groups, and the marine flora and fauna in particular, even though not fully known, is remarkably rich.

The presence of ‘Tree Ferns’ such as Alsophylla, ‘Filmy Ferns’ like Hymenophyllum are reported from some sacred groves of Kerala (Chandran et al., 1998).

Ecologically valuable ferns like Salvinia and Azolla and also medicinally useful ferns such as Lycopodium, Equisetum, Marsilea and dye yielding ferns like Equisetum, Pteridium, etc. are found in several sacred groves of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, etc.(Malhotra et al., 2001). Lepidodendron, Lepidocarpon, Calamites, etc. are expels of fossil pteridophytes.


1.To document the pteridophytic diversity in 3 selected sacred groves in Chakkarakkal area of Kannur District.

2.To document the socio-cultural aspects of the 3 selected sacred groves in Chakkarakkal area of Kannur District.


Sacred grove is a primitive holy place which may have an image and may gradually become an elaborate temple. Descriptive accounts of religious and cultural practices, and people’s attitudes related to sacred groves, forests, ecosystems and landscapes have been given by several workers (Gadgil and Vartak, 1976, Khiewtam and Ramakrishnan, 1989, Ramakrishnan, 1996, Nair et al., 1997, Tiwari et al., 1999). The socio-cultural functions of sacred groves are very important and it is a part of each persons culture and custom (Swamy et. al., 1998, Basu, 2000).

Although sacred groves are important ecological centers to study the potential vegetation, they are less studied and least understood by the scientific community. The first authentic report on the sacred groves of Kerala appeared in the census report of Travancore published in 1891 in which Lt. Ward and Lt. Corner reported the presence of 1500 sacred groves in Travancore (1827).

Wingate (1888) reported that the sacred groves of Uttara Kannada, Karnataka play a great role in the existence of springs and perennial streams in the region.

In India, Gadgil and Vartak (1975) are the pioneers of scientific study in this field. Mohanan and Nair, 1981 reported about certain rare pteridophytes, Alsophylla, Hymenophyllum, Cyathula from some sacred groves in Kerala.

Vartak highlighted that the function of sacred groves is to maintain a hierarchical order within the community. Many works supports the fact that sacred groves act as the last refuge of many wild animals (Chandran and Gadgil (1993). Rajendraprasad (1995) reported that the soil of sacred groves shows high porosity and low bulk density compared to the soil of nearby regions. Broadly, the

vegetation of these groves has been classified into two types viz. evergreen type and the moist deciduous type.

Balasubramanyan and Induchoodan (1996) reported 761 sacred groves in Kerala with floristic wealth of over 722 species belonging to 217 families and 474 genera. Induchoodan (1996) reported that out of the 761 sacred groves in Kerala, 39 (32.17%) were of less than 0.02ha. in extent and only 362 groves were larger than 0.02 ha.

Ecologically valuable species like Equisetum, Lycopodium, Salvinia, Azolla, etc. are found in several sacred groves in Manipur (Malhotra et al., 2001). The role of sacred groves in the conservation of the regional medicinal plants has been emphasized in several studies. A total of 13fern species which are used as medicine were reported from 4 sacred groves of Manipur (Khumbongmayum et al., 2005).

Rajendraprasad (1995) reported that sacred groves with their complex interactions influence the flora and fauna of the region as well as the micro climate of that locality. He estimated that the average density of soil fungi in sacred groves of Kerala is 328666 individuals per gram of soil. The groves in Kodagu district, Karnataka also shelter a diversity of micro fungi, 49 out of 163 species are unique to this groves.


The groves selected for the study are Mundayode Kudan Gurukkanmar Temple, Iriveri Pulideva Temple and Mundayode Vayanattu Kulavan Temple, which are all situated in the Chakkarakkal area of Kannur District, during the time period of December 3 to January 5.


Mundayode Kudan Gurukkanmar Temple belongs to an Thiyya family in Mundayode. The famous Sarpakavu is found here. Also main poojas are found in the “Ayilyam” day of all months. The other idols are Kudan Gurukkanmar, Bhairavan, Gulikan and Bhagawathi.


Iriveri Pulideva Temple is a very famous temple in Chakkarakkal area. It is mainly belongs under Malabar Devaswam Board and is a safe shelter for holy Ayyappa travelers. Its also belongs to privileged Thiyya family. This temple is bounded by a dense forest of 2 acres consist of many varieties of Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, Ferns and other groups. It is an shelter for many birds and animals. Here, the main idol is Pulidaivam and the other idols include Gulikan, Gandakarnan, Bhairavan, Vishnumoorthi, Chamundi, etc. Also Serpents, Bhagawathi, Nagakanya are other co- deities. The serpent worship is done in the “Ayilyam” day of every month.The main festival is in Makaram (a Malayalam month).


Mundayode Vayannattu Kulavan Temple belongs to a Thiyya family in Mundayode. It is an small sacred grove consisting in an small area. The vegetation is not thick. The main deity is Vayanasttu Kulavan. Serpents, Nagakanya, Bhagawathi are the co-deities. The monthly poojas are not found here. The main festival found in Meenam (a Malayalam month).


Field study was conducted to analyse the pteridophytic diversity. Using the data the following floristic analysis were conducted.

The plant specimens were collected and identified with the help of experts, Pteridophyta text books and from web.

The data regarding diversity of plants are categorized and presented graphically, as a fraction of hundred for obtaining uniformity in presentation and comparison.


Class- Leptosporangiopsida

Order- Pteridales

Family- Pteridaceae

The plant body is differentiated into rhizome, root and leaves. Sporangia are spore producing organs. The sporangia are densely covering the lower surface of pinnae without distinction of sori and this condition is known as ‘Acrostichoid Condition’ and the sori are mixed with hairs.


Class- Pteridopsida

Order- Polypodiales

Family- Pteridaceae

Adiantum is commonly known as ‘Maiden Hair Fern’, is a genus of about 200 species of ferns. Their stem is golden brownish coloured.


Class- Pteridopsida

Order- Marattiales

Family- Angiopteridaceae

Plant body is differentiated into stem, leaf and root. Different types of steles are present. Represented very well in Western Hemisphere. Sporangia is seen in back of the leaves.


Class- Leptosporangiopsida

Order- Salviniales

Family- Azollaceae

Azolla is an ‘Water Fern’. Roots are arising from the lower surface and are unbranched. A special structure callrd ‘Glochidia’ is present.


Class- Filicopsida

Family- Polypodiaceae

It is a small, greenish pteridophyte. The fern grows easily on poorly drained, nutrient-poor soils and in disturbed habitat and steep slopes. It does not tolerate shade, so once established it will eventually be shaded out by taller vegetation unless it climbs above it. It may suppress the growth of new stands of trees, especially when it becomes a dense thicket.


Class- Leptosporangiopsida

Order- Filicales

Family- Gleicheniaceae

Sporophyte differentiated into rhizome, root and leaves. The anatomy of petiole is ‘C-shaped’. A common plant, often seen growing under waterfalls, in swamps, under cliffs and in tall open forest. It prefers high humidity and good levels of sunshine and moisture.


Class- Lycopodiopsida

Order- Lycopodiales

Family- Lycopodiacea

Its known as “clubmesses”. And is also known as ground pines or creeping adar. Their sporangia is known as strobilus. It has many species. The saprophyte differentiated in to rhizome leaves and roots.




Family- schizalceal

Lygodium japanica is common. Plant body is differentiated into rhizome , roots and leaves. Sparangia are born on fertile leaflets called sporophylls: Here, present ‘monanial Sorus’.





It is a genius of about 30 species. It is used as an garden variety. It has thick green leaves and an elaborate rhizome. The younger leaves are greenish in nature.


Division - Pteropsida

Class - Protoleptosporangiopsida.

Order - Osmundales

Family - Osmundaceal

Osmunda regalis is common species. Plant body differentiated into rhizome, leaves and roots.Plant is homosporous and spores were produced within the sporangia . They are not arranged in district sori and are usually marginal in position. They are called ‘Tassel’.


Class - Psilotopsida

Order - Psilotales

Family - Psilotaceal

The common species is P. nudum .Here, the sporangia is trilobed and in younger ones its yellow coloured. Psilotum superficially resembles certain extinct early vascular plants. The unusual features of Psilotum that suggest an affinity with early vascular plants include dichotomously branching sporophytes, aerial stems arising from horizontal rhizomes, a simple vascular cylinder, homosporous and terminal eusporangia and a lack of roots


Class - Pteridopsida

Order - Dennstaedtiales

Family - Dennsatedatiaceal

P.aquilinum is the common species. It mostly found in the temperature

&sub-tropical region. It has large fronds and rhizome. It shows circinate coiling.





Sub family-petridoidea.

Plant body differentiated in to rhizome ,root and leaves. It has fertile and sterile leaves. It is homosporous.the reproduction is by linear sorus on ‘Coenosorus’. Coenosorus is a group of sporangia which are not differentiated and is present in the leaf margins.





Salvinia molesta is common in Kerala .There are two types of leaves such as floating leaves and submerged leaves. Sporocarp are formed in clusters on the segments of sub-merged leaves.”Massula” is present.






Commonly called ‘spike moss’ .This has 700 species and most common are S.pilifera, S.lepidophylla, etc. found in tropical and sub tropical regions. The sporophytic Plant body is differentiated into root, stem and leaves . Microspores and megaspores are present.


Socio-cultural analysis based on these groves were done. For this mainly collected the details about the main corners in the groves & the main religion found in the groves ,

For these mainly analysed the daily comers in the groves and are categorized in to Men, Women and Chiildrens. From this observed that womens are the main category and also analysed and observed the religious groups. In this mainly Hindus are come in these groves.It is followed by Muslims. (Table 2 and Figure 2 and 3).

The main Socio- cultural details of these sacred groves presenting below.


This temple was formed and furnished in many years back. The “Manikkunnu Mavila” family is the main pioneers of this sacred grove.its story is that once this family’s youngest women chakki has no children. Once a day, Chakki dreamed Bhagawathi and he has an annoying that she has to get a child when pray daily the Bhagawathi and the child is named Kudan. This grove was formed around 650 years back and Kudan gurukkanmar is the main idol. Also Panchamoorthies, two ancestors, Urppazhassithaivathar and Vettakkorumakan are Co-deities. There is a huge forest as sacred, which is mainly for serpent worship.

Recovery from problems and serpent worship are the main importance of

this grove.


This temple was formed around 800 years back and the main idol is Pulidaivam. It’s believed that Pulidaivam is an “avathar” of Sreekrishna and Narasimha.

Years back the place is a forest and the found many tigers and other animals. And this idol is the king of those animals.

Once a lady to go the forest for take wood and suddenly some animals came there and they attack here. The people believed that Pulidaivam present there and escapes the lady. So that place the temple is now found.

In the festival season there were a huge crowd of people and many taboos and culture is found there. Daily retrovals are found there and people came here for all the day. The pilgrimates came here and is a well known temple.


The Vayanattukulavan temple is a small temple with huge histories. It is maid about 500 years before. There, the main idol is vayanattukulavan. Its history says that there is a high similarity towards the hunting. The main festivals the “theyyam” take “ambum villum” and also other devices.

In festival seasons many co- deities are also present as “theyyam”. The festival season is April.

Rituals and taboos

Kudan gurukanmar temple

The main rituals in this temple are ‘sarpabali’ and ‘noorum palum’ for serpents. It’s done in all ‘ayilyam’ day in every month. The main festival is in khumbam(a Malayalam month). These time many people from various parts of the district will come here. There is no caste and religious positioning and taboos are there as ‘pula’, ‘balayma’ etc.. The main ‘prasadam’ is ‘manjal podi’(turmeric powder).

Iriveri pulideva kshethram

The main rituals present here is ‘gurusi’. The festival season is in khumbam(a malayalam month). There is also no caste and religion differences. But here also ‘balayma’, ’pula’ etc. are present.

Vayanattukulavan temple

In vayanattukulavan temple the main rituals are not found. But the offering of coconut oil, agarbathies, manjalpodi(turmeric powder) etc. are present. But in times of death, child birth, etc. there are cut off.

These data are tabulated and made graphical representation using bar



The results of the present study are compiled under the head vegetation analysis.


A total of 10 pteridophytes were identified in the Kudan Gurukkanamar Temple.Iriveri Pulideva Temple comprises15 pteridophytes and Vayanattu Kulavan Temple comprises 5 pteridophytes.(table 1 and plate 3-4).

Vegetation analysis of the sacred groves were carried out by attempting the tabulation of the observed plants. With the respect to it, Iriveri Pulideva temple is having heighest number of pteridophytes(15) followed by Kudan Gurukkanmar temple(10) and Vayanattu Kulavan temple(5).The diversity of ferns was found to below in sacred groves associatedWith Vayanattukulavan Temple(figure 1).


Botanical Name


Sacred groves





















Psilotum nudum












Lycopodium arnum












Selaginella pilifera












Osmunda Regalis












Gleichenia lilearis












Lygodiun japonica












Salvinia molesta











































































































Figure 1.distribution of vegetation in the sacred groves



No of fern15























Sacred groves




Table 2 : The Daily comers on the basic of religion (gender & age)


























































































Figure 2 : The Daily comers in the sacred grov es










Figure 3 : The main religion coming in the gro ves










The importance of sacred groves in the conservation of biological diversity has been well recognized Gadgil and Vartak (1975). Data concerning floristic richness and socio-cultural aspects are limited and is difficult to make comparisons among them. The plant associations in sacred groves are found to be vary with respect to many factors. They include flowering and fruiting behavior, high seeding populations, rnycorrhizal associations, high resin contents and a seasonal climate (Barik, et al., 1992).

The vegetation of the sacred groves has certain distinctive ecological characteristics. Descriptive accounts of religious and cultural practices, and people’s attitudes related to sacred groves, forests/ecosystems/landscapes have been given by several workers (Nair et al. 1997, Tiwari et al. 1999). It has been reported that, the role of beliefs, folklores and taboos associated with sacred groves has been add to its conservation and maintenances (Gadgil and Vartak, 1975). Similar practices are observed in the present study also supporting the richness of the grove. Singh et al., (1998) reported that the religious and cultural importance of the species is a factor promoting their sustainable utilization as well as conservation. Importance of the sociologically recognized plants which have linkage with the deities of the groves or other religious practices is add up to maintaining the ecological balance.


Scared groves are natural sanctuaries dedicated to local deities are protected through social traditions. They incorporate both spiritual and ecological values. They act as ideal centers for biodiversity conservation. The present study aimed study the diversity pteridophytic plants in sacred groves associated with Kudan Gurukkanmar Temple, Iriveri Pulideva Temple and Vayanattu Kulavan Temple. In all the three sites the vegetation comprises mainly 15 different fern types. According to the socio-cultural bases, the main people come to the groves are womens. On the bases of religion, also Hindus are mostly come in all the groves. All the groves are sites of religious worshiping. This limits the deterioration of diversity by bounding regulations in exploring the resources.


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