Kolkata: The Great Banyan Tree And Botanical Garden

Kolkata: The Great Banyan Tree And Botanical Garden

The Great Banyan Tree

is located in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, near Kolkata.

The great banyan tree draws more visitors to the garden than its collection of exotic plants from five continents. Its main trunk became diseased after it was struck by two cyclones, so in 1925 the  main trunk of the tree was amputated to keep the remainder healthy. So from that time it is more colony than a single tree. A 330 metre long road was built around its circumference, but the tree continues to spread beyond it.

The Great Banyan tree is over 250 years old, and its date of birth is doubtful. There is no clear history of the tree as to the time of planting etc. but it is mentioned in many travel books of the nineteenth century as a very spectacular element. It survived two great cyclones in 1864 and 1867, when some of its main branches were broken. With its large number of aerial roots, which grow from the branches and run vertically to the ground and looks like is has so many trunks, The Great Banyan looks more like a forest than an individual tree. The tree survives without its main trunk. A monument has been erected to the dead trunk, but is hardly accessible to visitors, who only have access to the perimeter of the tree. The area occupied by the tree is about 18,918 square metres (about 1.5 hectares or 4 acres).

The present crown of the tree has a circumference of 486 m. and the highest branch rises to 24.5 m; it has at present 3772 aerial roots reaching down to the ground as a prop root.

The Botanical Garden

Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden,

The gardens were founded in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an army officer of the British East India Company, primarily for the purpose of identifying new plants of commercial value, such as teak, and growing spices for trade. Joseph Dalton Hooker says of this Botanical Garden that “Amongst its greatest triumphs may be considered the introduction of the tea-plant from China … the establishment of the tea-trade in the Himalaya and Assam is almost entirely the work of the superintendents of the gardens of Calcutta and Seharunpore.”

The best-known landmark of the garden is The Great Banyan, an enormous banyan tree that is reckoned to be the largest tree in the world, at more than 330 metres in circumference. It partially inspired the novel Hothouse by Brian Aldiss. The gardens are also famous for their enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus.

The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares. It is under Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Animals seen inside the Botanic Garden include the Jackal, Indian mongoose and the Indian Fox. A large numbers of varieties snakes are also found in the garden.

The Garden reminds a big park. When we came in i was confused but after I understood that each part in the garden have different kinds of trees from all over India. It can be very helpful for people who are interested in Botanic. But I recommend the not interested one to come there to just relax. There is a lake on which you can rent a boat. You can come there for a walk. Or you can seat on one of the benches and have an contrast to any ordinary Indian street.

It is a perfect place to take a brake from street noise.


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