Van Mahotsav: History, Importance, Significance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 7, 2023, 13:21

In India, Van Mahotsav is celebrated every year in the first week of July. This festival was founded in 1950 to raise people's awareness of the importance of trees and forests in our lives and to protect the environment.

Hopes to provide shade, reduce drought conditions, provide more alternative fuel sources, provide more ecological balance, increase food production, and minimise soil erosion are the key objectives of this festival.

Importance of Van Mahotsav

According to the Global Forest Watch, India lost approximately 38.5,000 hectares of tropical forest in 2019 and 2020, reducing tree coverage by almost 14%. The country's total tropical forest area decreased by 0.38% over the same period, and the country's total tree coverage decreased by 0.67%.

Deforestation in this country has caused the loss of 16% of its forest coverage over the last decade. Therefore, Van Mahotsav plays an important role when forests and trees are more threatened by human activity than ever before. This festival is an opportunity to protect the country's forests through more tree-planting initiatives.

Such festivals raise people's awareness of trees and show the need for tree planting and care, as trees are one of the best ways to prevent global warming and reduce pollution.

Significance of Van Mahotsav

The name Van Mahotsav signifies and means "Festival of Trees". The festival began in July 1947 after botanist MS Randhawa conducted a tree-planting activity in Delhi. That same year, then-Delhi Commissioner Ahmad Khan held the first event by planting Bauhinia seedlings.

In 1950, then Minister of Food and Agriculture Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi declared plantation a national activity. Later that same year, Munshi moved the event to the 1st week of July and changed its name to Van Mahotsav.

Since then, thousands of seedlings of different species have been planted with the active participation of locals and various authorities such as the Forest Department.

Van Mahotsav 2021

The Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar began the week of Van Mahotsav 2021 by planting Parijat saplings in New Delhi on July 1, 2021. He urged people to plant more trees and create a breathable and sustainable atmosphere.

Celebration of Van Mahotsav in India

  • People celebrate Van Mahotsav in India by planting trees and saplings in colleges, schools, homes, offices, etc.
  • Awareness campaigns are conducted at various levels.
  • New promotions such as free tree circulation are also featured by various organizations and volunteers.

Tree planting during the festival provides alternative fuels, increases the production of food resources, creates protective belts around fields to increase productivity, provides food for livestock as well as shade and decorative landscapes.

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FAQs on Van Mahotsav

Q.1. When is Van Mahotsav celebrated?

Van Mahotsav is celebrated in the month of July every year.

Q.2. How much forest cover has been lost over the past decade?

Deforestation has caused the loss of 16% of India's forest coverage over the last decade.

Q.3. How is Van Mahotsav celebrated in India?

Van Mahotsav is celebrated by planting tens of thousands of seedlings.