The Adyar Banyan Tree is one of the hidden gems of Chennai. While the jury is still out about whether this tree is the oldest one or the biggest Banyan in the World / India let me share what I learnt about it.
Adyar Banyan Tree or The Great Banyan Tree is known to be around 450 years old. Located on the sprawling campus of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, it is the oldest existing tree in the city of Chennai.
The rambling branches cover 40, 000 sq ft and the tree measures 238 feet from the North to the South and 250 feet from the East to the West. Yes, that is how gigantic it is!
At first sight you would be excused it you assumed that it is multiple trees grouped together .Your vision cannot encompass the tree at one go. You need to walk around it, slowly, to take it all in.
Interestingly, the main tree or the mother tree was uprooted in 1989, or 1984 as some claim, when a Cyclone hit the city, leading everyone to believe that the rest of the tree would slowly wither and die too. It surprised everyone, by not only surviving but thriving. A Banyan Tree is known to live on and on, and this one is proof that it does.
The aerial roots of the original tree have taken ground and grown so that each of them resembles a tree by itself.
The Watchman there told us that this tree is not watered externally, it only absorbs dew and rainwater as Metro Water could kill it. Looking at the Adyar Banyan Tree you cannot help doffing one’s hat to Nature. It is a sight to be captured by the eyes and stored away in memory.
If you would like to visit
Monday to Saturday: 8:30 am to 10:00 am and 2pm to 4 pm.
Closed on Sunday.
Entry is free.
Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Carry a hat or an umbrella, the sun is unrelenting.
Respect nature and your surroundings and don’t litter.
While you are in Theosophical Society do walk around and take in the other amazing sights too.
Temples dedicated to various faiths, Zorashtrian, Sikh, Buddhism dot the premises.
You’ll also see a Bodhi Tree which has sprouted from a sapling of the original tree at Buddhagaya. The sapling was planted on 24-12-1950 and is this full grown tree now.
Another massive tree, full of screeching Bats, is sure to creep you out. At least it creeped me out!
Along with preserving the past, The Theosophical Society also believes in moving towards the future. They have a Rainwater Harvesting Facility where the Total Volume of Rain Water Harvested in a year is 2.02 Crore Litres! How awesome is that?
After visiting the Adyar Banyan Tree I realised that it does not get the attention it deserves, either in print or otherwise. I hope that changes soon.
Written for the theme