Kalmyk Lone Poplar wins Russian Tree of the Year All-Russian contest

A lone laurel poplar, growing near the village of Har-Buluk in Kalmykia, is the winner of Russian Tree of the Year contest.

Kalmyk Lone Poplar was approved among the contest nominees at a round table in the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in April.

 It should be noted that this special tree is a natural regional attraction. As soon as the voting began, it became clear that it was the leader and eventually it won the deserved victory. As you know, this All-Russian contest is a part of European Tree of the Year contest, which is held annually and is becoming most popular. I would like to believe that the mighty Lone Poplar from the Kalmykia village Har Buluk will become the winner of European

Tree of the Year 2020 contest, and all of Europe will know how diverse and amazing Russia and the steppe Republic of Kalmykia are!

As part of the All-Russian Trees are the Monuments of Wildlife programme, an commemorative event dedicated to the victory of the Lone Poplar will be held in November in Kalmykia.
Tourists visiting Elista always come to the Lone Poplar. This place has a special historical and religious significance. It is known that poplar is about 165 years old. Near the Lone Poplar, natural springs well up from the earth, the strength of which is known far beyond Kalmykia.
With the onset of warmth, pilgrims from all over the country rush to this place to bow to the sacred tree and draw water. This Buddhist poplar is a sacred tree; therefore, various religious rites are often performed here. Lone poplar is a natural memorial of national significance.
There are several legends associated with the history of this tree. One of them tells about the rich cattleman Shontan Zhanzh, who once lived in the Kalmyk steppes. In addition to numerous cattle, he also had innumerable wealth. Shontan was frightened that they would rob him of all his wealth and decided to hide it in the steppe. He spent all night in his wagon in prayers, and in the morning, he mounted his horse and went to the horizon. This was a thoughtful man, he buried gold bars deep in the ground and in order not to lose this place, he planted a poplar seedling on top. Time passed, the tree grew stronger guarding the treasure. The rich cattleman never returned, and in gratitude for the fact that people did not touch him, the poplar gave birth to life-giving sources emanating from it. This story was told by the famous Kalmyk writer Aleksei Balakayev in the book “They Become a Man Since Childhood”.
There is another legend about the poplar. It looks more like a beautiful fairy tale about the difficult life of a girl. She lived in the mountains, and then she was married to Kalmyk steppe. The girl yearned for high mountains, dreamed of seeing them again. And she fulfilled this dream by climbing a tall poplar. From its top, she saw familiar outlines of the ridges of Elbrus.
The latest version of the appearance of a lonely poplar is more believable. Once upon a time, a whole poplar grove was planted on this slope, but the evil winds and heat destroyed all the trees, leaving only one. The grove was planted by the Buddhist monk Purdash-Bagshi. He himself was a native of the village of Bordakhn, where he also served as khurul’s rector. At the beginning of the 19th century, he made a pilgrimage to the capital of Buddhism, Lhasa. There he met with the Dalai Lama, who presented poplar seeds as a gift and ordered that these trees be planted in the highest place. Which was done.
The fact that poplar is of particular importance to Buddhists is evidenced by numerous coloured shreds tied to the tree, and coins left at its foot. Thus, making prayers and special rites by the tree, people ask for rain, protection and harvest. They ask for health and well-being of loved ones.
For almost two centuries, the Lone Poplar has been standing there. No storms broke the mighty old-timer.