The banyan tree as we know is an ‘epiphyte’ (a tree which grows on another) which grows to become one of the largest trees in the world. It derives its name from ‘banyan’ or ‘banian’ which means Indian businessmen or sellers who used to do business under the huge shade of this tree. One of the biggest banyan trees is the one which is located in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden
in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is known as the ‘Great Banyan Tree’. Here are seven reasons why you must have a look at this tree at least once in your life:
7. Is It A Canopy? Is It A Forest? No, It Is A Tree.
From a distance you will be able to see a thick green covering, which resembles that of a dense green forest. But as you proceed towards it, you will be able to realize that what actually seemed to be a forest from afar is actually one
tree. Many tourists throughout the world come to this place to have a look at this giant tree. And, most importantly, the tree is growing in size with each passing year.
6. The Widest Tree In The World
The Great Banyan Tree covers an area of a jaw-dropping 14,500 square meters of land surface, which is equal to 3.5 square acres. You will know about many forests which have a similar surface area. Because of its width and the huge acres of land it occupies, it is named as the widest tree in the world. Being one of a kind, it demands your visit.
5. Two Hundred And Fifty Years Old
What have you last heard of being two hundred and fifty years old? Definitely not a tree. Here is your chance to go visit a soul which is 250 years old and still kicking. It is the oldest tree in India and even Asia. There is no record or evidence of anyone older than this tree. The tree is nowhere near aging or withering. Rather, it is increasing. As long as you are fit enough, better go and have a look. The tree will remain while you may not.
4. It Survived Two Deadly Cyclones
The nineteenth century proved to be quite a destructive year for the Great banyan tree. There were two cyclones which struck first in 1884 and then in 1886. The tree was exposed to fungal attack which diseased it partially. It was actually hit by lightning which is very harmful for trees. The tree was strong enough to survive these catastrophes. But who survives such natural disasters? Therefore check out this one tree who proves to be a tough soul.
3. The Great Banyan Tree Has No Trunk
Believe it or not, the Great banyan Tree has no trunk. It has a sad history behind this loss. Due to the storm many of its branches were exposed to the attack of a number of fungi, which led to the eventual disease and decay of the trunk. It was removed in the year 1925 to save it from spreading the disease and eventual perishing. But even without the trunk the tree stands straight and tall because of the huge number of aerial roots which supports it from all sides. Further Reading: 7 Haunted Places In Kolkata You Should Better Avoid Visiting Alone
2. Lengthwise, Breadth-wise And Height-wise – It’s Above All
At present the Great banyan Tree has 3300 aerial roots reaching down to the soil. That already gives a clear picture of the circumference of the tree. The circumference of the original trunk (which is no more there) was 1.7 meter and from the ground it was 15.7 meters. The huge circumference of the tree presently covers about a kilometer. What about the highest branch? Well, it is 25 meters high. It is not possible to create a picture of this in mind, better go visit it.
1. You Can Enter The Tree With The Help Of A Road
There is a 330 meter long road which is built around the circumference of the tree. It is built for visitors who would like to watch the tree from a closer distance. If you have an interest in the Indian flora, you cannot miss out on this one. But, the tree has continued to grow beyond this road. A tree in the form a forest awaits you!