Trees grow old with us, and we love the green leaves and shade it gives us. We often share an emotional bond with trees in our backyard. They carry a lot of our childhood memories. From climbing the uppermost branches, swinging on them to enjoying every bite of the fruits under its shade. One such tree is the Great Banyan which has been sharing a strong bond with us for centuries.
The Great Kolkata
The Great Banyan tree is located in Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden in Howrah, near Kolkata. Kolkata, the second largest city in India after Mumbai. The city is famous for its rich culture and of course fish and rasgulla. This place gave us the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. From Subhash Chandra Bose to Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Kolkata has a special place in Indian history. It is the birthplace of Noble Laureates CV Raman, Amartya Sen, and Mother Terresa. However, when we hear the word Kolkata the first name that pops in our brain is of the great Rabindranath Tagore, a man born with every talent on this planet who can be called an all-rounder. But apart from these great personalities, there is something more great about Kolkata and it’s the Great Banyan Tree.
The Greatness of the Great Banyan Tree
The great banyan tree is more than 250 years old, However, the date of birth of this tree is doubtful. The East India Company made Kolkata its capital in 1773 which was known as Calcutta. The banyan tree was around 20 years old when the garden was made in 1787. The canopy area of the tree is 14,500 square meters, which is approximately 4.67 acres. In terms of area covered the great banyan is the worlds widest tree the tree is as wide as a cricket field. Which is why it acquires a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
During the first census conducted in 1850, the tree had 89 prop roots and the total canopy circumference was 240 meters. Prop roots of a tree are those which grows from the twigs and stems of a tree to fix a strong support on the ground. As of now, the tree has 3,772 prop roots and the canopy circumference increased to 486 meters and the height of the tree is 24.5 meters.
Strong as Rock
If the roots are strong anything can behold. A strong foundation is necessary for everything around the world. Which is why during the massive cyclones of 1884 and 1887 in West Bengal, this banyan tree stood strong as a rock. However, the cyclone was strong enough to infect the main trunk of the tree. The amputation of the trunk was necessary or else the infection would have spread to other parts of the tree. Therefore, in 1925 the main trunk of the tree was cut down.
The great banyan tree is home to a large species of birds and animals. The tree has created it’s on ecosystem over the years. The tree is home for around 89 species of birds along with a large number of squirrels and monkeys.
Moreover, the Government of India released a postage stamp featuring the Great Banyan Tree. The stamps also feature the emblem of the Botanical Survey of India. The greatness of the tree teaches us that with patience and dedication nothing is impossible. It may take years to achieve greatness but when we do we should make sure our roots are strong as the great banyan. Let us hope the greatness of the tree continues for the young generations to come to feel moist under its branches.