Thursday, 7 May 2015

Largest banyan tree in the world ,Kolkata, Man and tree 01


The Great Banyan Tree,Howrah, Kolkata. www.arizonahandbook.com

Banyan"- the Indian  banyan (Ficus  benghalensis; in Tamil  known as Ala Maram.), is  the national  tree  of  the  Republic of India. It refers  to  the  subgenus Urostigma. It  grows  on  another  plants   in the cracks and  crevices  on a  host  tree (or on structures  like  buildings  and  bridges,etc ). This tree  depends  on  fig wasps  for  pollination  and  the seeds  are dispersed  across the land  by birds. Seeds landing  on the ground seldom ever  grow, whereas, the  seeds that  land  on  tree  branches, cracks in the buildings  grow. When  the  seeds  germinate, they  send  strong  roots towards  ground  and  part of  it grow  round  the  host  tree. Thus a full-grown tree  may  have innumerable  roots  connecting  the tree  branches  and  ground  and  the  areal branches and  leaves  form a beautiful  canopy. It throws a vast, cool  shadow and  for  the  fatigued travelers in the olden days, it  served as  a comfortable  place for rest  and  relaxation and, perhaps, a nap  from scorching, tropical sun. As  for  people  who  need peace  of  mind  and  be  free  from  stressful life, the huge shadow  of  the  banyan  tree  offers a  perfect ambiance  to  meditate.  

In  the Hindu religion, the banyan tree  is also considered sacred and is called "Vat Vriksha"(a Sanskrit term;in Tamil known as Ala Maram). The god Shiva as Dakshina Murthy is  shown sitting in silence  under  the  banyan  with rishis (saints) at his feet, symbolizing eternal life and bliss due to its  unending  expansion  for decades, may  be for a few centuries in the future.


Near Kolkata, at the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden, Howrah, lies  yet another living
The 250 year old Great Banyan Tree, jingalex.wordpress.com
proof  of  nature's  wonder. The 250 year  old  Great Banyan tree, with a canopy  covering  an  area  of  4 acres (14,500 square meters), and  is  believed  to be  the  widest  tree  in  the world. With  its  large  number  of  aerial  roots ( 3300 aerial roots reaching down to the ground), the Great Banyan  looks  more  like a mini-forest than an individual tree. The tree was  damaged after a  lightning  strike  and  the  trunk  had  to  be  removed  in 1925.  The circumference  of  the original  trunk was 1.7 m and  The  present  summit  of  the tree  has  a circumference  of nearly half  a kilometer. The  huge  tree  continues  to  grow  even  today  without  its  main  trunk and  its  3300 aerial  roots  reaching  down  to  the  ground offer strength and stability to withstand  a  heavy  gale or storm. Thick  and  widespread  it  covers  vast  area - actually  one  single  huge  tree  gives  the appearance  of  a  forest  if  you  stand  under  it  in  the middle. 


In  Hindu  mythology,  the  banyan  tree  is  also called  kalpavriksha (in Sanskrit Viriksham  means tree), meaning "wish- fulfilling tree", as  it represents eternal  life  because  of its  seemingly  ever expanding branches.

Ref:  

"National Tree". Government of India Official website. Retrieved 2012-01-16.