|Thimmamma Marrimanu, Telengana, India .Alamy.com|
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|location map. Kadri, telengana. /frontline.thehindu.com|
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The credit goes to one Sathyanarayana Iyer, a freelance journalist and photographer from Bangalore, Karnataka, who brought to light for the first time, the presence of this huge old tree here and he was responsible for its entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.
This interesting tree, presently under the management of Telengana Forest department (since January 2018) because it became weak and facing slow death. Part of the reason is its continuous massive lateral growth and lack of strength in aerial roots that are not good enough to support the enormous weight of this rare banyan tree. In the recent past one of its branches came crashing down. The Forest deptt. is engaged in conservation and restoration work, as the huge tree has become weak to bear its own weight that increases as the tree grows side wise with weak roots under the soil. The Forest officials banned the entry of public as many visitors hung on to the aerial roots and sometime used them to swing hard. This resulted in damage to Pillalamarri which loses many aerial roots to support its growth and weight. The Forest deptt., at certain important places, built 35 concrete pillars to prevent crashing down of any tree branches in the future. There is a need to preserve every branch of this antiquated tree.
Last year, in consultation with experts under the chief officer of the Forest deptt. at selected places small holes were driven in the tree and pesticide solution (IV drip of pesticide) was injected in the holes to fight termite attack. Termites pose threats to such old trees. Every two days about 200 plastic bottles were emptied for this purpose. Checking every sign of elapse, the conservation officials frequently observed the new aerial roots for their easy growth. Besides, they also went deep into the roots into the ground to check their growth and strength. This precaution was taken regularly, though termite attack is almost under control now.
Yet another major problem being faced by the forest officials is lack of good soil cover. This means the tree is unable to get enough nutrients for its further growth and strength of aerial roots to penetrate the earth. Tilling and moisture conservation work was under way to enable soil growth. The Forest deptt., is making every effort for continuous supply of water to the tree in this almost semi- arid plain and the growth of its huge canopy. They already installed water pipe line to introduce drip irrigation to cover the entire area of the tree and its revival.
|Local temple under the banyan tree, telengana. frontline.thehindu.com|
Banyan in literature:
''The banyan has often been talked about in literature too. John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, was not unaware of the great Indian banyans. In the sensational Ninth Book of the epic poem, where he describes the scene immediately after Eve and Adam become aware of their shameful nakedness following the great sin they committed, Milton says they cover themselves with the leaves of the banyan tree.
He writes: “...and both together went/ Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose/ The fig tree; not that kind for fruit renowned. But such as at this day, to Indians known/ In Malabar or Deccan, spreads her arms/ Branching so broad and long, that in the ground/ The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow/ About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade/ High over-arch'd, and echoing walks between:/ There oft the Indian herdsmen shunning heat,/ Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds/ At loop-holes cut through the thickest shade. Those leaves/ They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe,/ And with what skill they had together sew'd/ To gird their waist. Vain covering, if to hide/ Their guilt and dreaded shame!” (lines 1,099 to 1,114).
''In another literary instance, Robinson Crusoe (the protagonist of Daniel Defoe's novel of the same name) builds his home in a banyan tree. A famous collection of short stories by R.K. Narayan is titled Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories. The banyan also has a religious significance in India; it finds mention in the Bhagvad Gita.'' (https://frontline.thehindu.com/static/html/fl2911/stories/20120615291108300.html)
The Hindu Sunday Magazine (Tiruchi Edition): dated Jan. 19, 2020:: ''Addressing the root of the problem''.