Mohammedi Durbar, 85, wants to plant nearly 50,000 trees along the entire 80-km pilgrimage route between Iraq’s Muslim holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
“I immediately realized there was no shade,” Durbar told Reuters at his farm on the outskirts of the city of Karachi.
Durbar traveled to Iraq, spoke to officials, and got permission for his project, and a promise the trees would be cared for. He also planted some trees in Najaf to see if they could thrive there.
A first batch of 9,800 saplings of eight types of trees, up to eight months old, set off from Karachi by truck on Friday for their journey across Iran to Iraq.
Millions of people make the pilgrimage every year for the religious ritual of Arba’een, which marks the 40-day mourning period for the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. They walk most of the way under a baking sun.