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Pala Tree Associated Yakshi – Ghosts In Kerala

Indian Devil Tree is known as Pala, Yakshippala, Daiva pala or ezhilam pala in Kerala. The tree is associated with ghosts, pretam, brahmarakshas, yakshi, goblins, elfs, demons and other malicious spirits.

To walk under the shade of pala tree at night is considered suicidal. It is believed that people never return back after walking or taking refuge under a pala tree at night.

The malicious spirits residing on the pala tree throw mud and round stones on passerby.

Pala Tree Associated Yakshi – Ghosts In Kerala

The tree is a favorite spot of poisonous snakes as the sap of the tree is milky. A cobra after biting a person goes up to a bough of a pala tree and hangs its head down till the person is dead.

The trunk of the tree emits a stinking smell and it is interpreted due to malicious spirits inhabiting it.

Hindus never cut pala tree as it is believed to bring bad luck and ill health to the family.

Pala tree is not grown in the household compounds.

There are numerous stories associated with the pala tree. People say that they have seen beautiful women sitting on the most fragile branch of the tree at night. It is believed that yakshi or pretam (female ghosts) appear under the pala tree taking the form of beautiful women eating pan (murukkan).

Many men have returned to tell story of ghosts taking them to the pala tree. Many have been found dead under the tree next morning.

The trunk of pala tree standing inside the eastern compound of the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple is full of nails. Evils spirits possessing human beings are imprisoned in the pala tree using nails.

The tree has white flowers and is famous for its clusters of seven leaves and therefore was known as saptacchada or saptaparna or saptapatra or saptapalasha in Sanskrit. The tree is known as chattiyan or chitavana in Hindi, chatim or chetanagach in Bengali, salavina in Marathi, satavaana in Gujarati, elilappalai or palai in Tamil. The scientific name f the tree is Alstonia Scholaris.

The tree grows all over India and flowers appear in October or March.