Locals throng to worship once-a-year love blossom

Himalayan News Service

Lahan, April 14:

A Sal tree, believed to be 2,500 years old, flowers only once on New Year, in the historic Salhesh Garden here. The lovestruck worship it in the belief that doing so will help bring their amour to fruition. This year also, thousands thronged Salhesh Garden to pray for togetherness with their loved one. Legend has it that Salhesh, regarded as clan deity of the Dusadh caste of the dalits, ruled here 2,500 years ago. The worship is also held at Manikdah, Dhamindham of Golbazar and Laxmipur Batari. People believe King Salhesh fell in love with a gardener girl. He built the garden as a private bower. Credulous locals later built the Salhesh temple in that garden to commemorate his love for a commoner. Locals insist each year,

on New Year, the Sal tree in the garden bears a single flower. Couples in love believe that worshipping the tree on New Year will help them tie the knot with their inamoratae.

Highlighting the historical significance of Salhesh, CDO Deepak Kumar Joshi opened a “Salhesh Mahotsav” today. Inaugurating the festival, president of the International Maithili Council, Prof Dr Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Gurmaita described King Salhesh as a symbol of Nepali-Indian unity. In honour of Salhesh, who is said to be a wrestler par excellence, organisers of the festival staged a wrestling competition here.