Uttarakhand will soon launch a multi million dollar search to find the herb Sanjeevani Booti, which is mentioned in Indian epic Ramayana as a life saving drug that saved the life of Lord Lakshaman, younger brother of Lord Ram.
According to a report by AFP news agency, Uttarakhand will spend Rs 25 crore ($37 million) of state money to hunt the herb Sanjeevani Booti.
While many wild plants with medicinal properties grow in the Himalayas, there is scant evidence that the plant ever existed, with sages and modern researchers failing for centuries to find it.
"We have to try and it will never go to waste. If we are determined we will certainly find it," Surendra Singh Negi, the state's minister for alternative medicine, told AFP.
Negi said the search would focus on the Dronagiri range of the Himalayas near the Chinese border, where there is a mountain mentioned in the epic Ramayana as being the site where the magical herb grows.
“We have set an initial budget of 250 million rupees ($37 million) for the project,” Negi said.
According to Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman was tasked by the god Rama with fetching the herb after a healer said it would cure his dying brother Laxman.
But Hanuman failed to identity the plant, instead uprooting the entire mountain and carrying it thousands of miles to treat the mortally injured prince during a war with demons in what is now Sri Lanka.
Ancient texts say the plant has life-restoring properties, grows in the high mountains of the Himalayas and glows in the dark.