Bengaluru: The Central University of Karnataka (CUK) has awarded an honorary doctorate to 108-year-old environmentalist Saalumarada Thimmakka.

The 108-year-old was handed the doctorate by university officials at her residence in Bengaluru on Saturday, November 7.

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CUK Vice Chancellor HM Maheshwaraiah, Linguistics Professor Rajeshwari Maheshwariah, Basavaraj P Donur, Dean, School of Humanities and Languages, and Vikram Visaji, Associate Professor, were among those present to confer the honour on Thimmakka.

Being Karnataka’s most popular environmentalist, Saalumarada Thimmakka is known for growing close to 400 banyan trees and protecting them on a 4 kilometre stretch between Hulikal and Kudur near her husband’s hometown in Tumakuru district. She is also known as the mother of trees.

It is said that Thimmakka and her husband do not have children and they started spending their evenings tending to trees until they grew sturdy.

For the uninitiated, the environmentalist has also won the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the Nadoja Award from Hampi University, and the National Citizen Award from the Government of India, among other international and national recognitions for her work.