Ankola or Eru Alinjal Tree ( Botanical Name: Alangium salvifolium) is a rare species found in the souther parts of India and parts of Africa. This tree has several uses in Ayurveda , the ancient system of Indian medicine.
Deity at Alinjel Tree
This tree was earlier found as the sacred tree inside several temples due to its mystical properties. But rapid deforestation has resulted in tree become very rare. One unique feature of this tree is that the seeds of the tree will cling back to the tree. In very rarest of rare cases its get dispersed. If its gets dispersed the seeds travel hundreds of kilometres before it settles down.It is very difficult to grow or replant this tree unless it happens automatically ( or by divine intervention!)
It is said that tree grows only in very unique surroundings and produces a lot of spiritual vibrations. Mantras chanted near the tree are said to be bring manifold effects, if they are chanted for a good cause.
The famous Tamil literature work Seevaka Chintamani refers to this tree.Sri Adi Sankara mentions this tree in his Sivananda Lahiri (Sloka 61).
Ankolam nija beeja santhathi rayaskkantho soochika,
Sadhvi naija vibhum latha kshithiruham sindhussaridvallabham,
Prapnothiha yadha thadha pasupathe padara sindhu dwaiyam,
Chetho vruthi roopethya thishtathi sada saa bhakthirithyuchyathe.
Like the real seed progeny reaches for the mother ankola tree,
Like the iron needle reaches for the load stone.
Like the chaste woman reaches for her lord,
Like the tender creeper reaches for near by trees,
Like the river reaches for the sea,
If the spirit of the mind,Reaches for the lotus feet of Pasupathi,
And stays there always,Then that state is called devotion.
Temples associated with this tree
Vairavapatti (near Madurai) - This temple is considered as the Kala Bhairava temple of the south (Like Kala Bhairav of Kashi). The village gets its name from the deity. This tree was the stala vriksha (something like a temple's official tree :-)) but now its no longer there
Singaperumal Temple, Near Chennai - We can see this when come around the small hill around the Narasimha temple.
Board at Singa perumal temple mentioning
Nootreteeswarar temple at Chinna Kavanam, near Chennai - Here the tree is said to be 2500 years old. The priests and other people have tried to take the seeds of the tree and tried to grow it elsewhere but with no success
This tree can be seen in a small Amman temple Somanahalli village near Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu making it a perfect place for meditation and mantra chanting.
Ankola Alinjal Tree Somanahalli