Wonderful Tree, Khotan
The legend of the Wonderful tree in Khotan
There are many attractions in Khotan, both in the city itself and in the surrounding area. One of the most amazing places is found outside the city. This is neither a museum, nor ruins of an ancient temple, but just an old relic tree with a small pagoda near it.
This tree is over 1,300 years old, according to a corresponding inscription on a plate next to it. It is impossible to determine which family it belongs to, but that tree is so huge in width and length, that it requires a special stairs to an observation deck to inspect it from.
Like most ancient monuments and sites of Xinjiang, the history of this miraculous tree is associated with Buddhism. In 628 a lonely Buddhist monk, who was travelling from India to Luoyang, was caught in a sandstorm on the border the Khotan oasis. In search of shelter, he came across a huge tree in the shade of which he took refuge from the storm, and found food – a tree fruit as big as a huge nut. The weary traveler was exhausted by the long journey and many adversities; however, having tasted the fruits of this wonderful tree, he immediately got a fit of energy and euphrasia. Soon the repute of the miraculous tree spread across Khotan.
For more than a thousand years, the locals revere and hold sacred that peculiar attraction. Its wood is used to make different handmade articles and cooking utensils, while the fruits of the tree have the ability to cure some diseases, so they are often used for medical purposes and for the preparation of decoctions.
Today, many tourists who come to look at this monument can buy kitchen utensils, as well as a variety of decoctions from the tree fruit in a wonderful souvenir shop near the Natural Museum. In addition, on the way to the tree, moving along the road, decorated like an arched walkway and entwined with grape leaves, you can relax and have a light meal in restaurants, offering traditional Uyghur food.