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A canopy? A forest? Or one big old tree? The Great Banyan Tree is one single tree that looks like a jungle.
What is it?
A 250-year-old Banyan tree in the Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose botanical garden has spread its branches to the greatest extent. The widest tree in the world, the Great Banyan Tree covers an area of almost 3.5 acres! One look and you’d think you’re entering a dense forest. But once in, it’s just one tree with 3300 aerial roots making their way to the ground. With about a kilometre huge circumference and a height of 25 meters, this one is worth a visit. No picture can do it justice. Where else are you going to find such a natural wonder? Being the widest tree in the world, it also holds a Guinness Record.
Well, besides its extraordinary size, it has some history too. The Great Banyan has survived two cyclones! That’s one strong tree. One in 1884 and the other in 1886. Both these cyclones infected the trunk with a disease. The tree was able to survive the disaster, but the trunk had to be removed to stop the spreading of the fungal infection. Believe it or not, the ever-growing tree stands tall and wide without a trunk. And, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like inside a tree, there’s a road that takes you into the large clonal colony.
This magnanimous tree is rooted in the Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden in Shibpur, Howrah. The garden also has a huge collection of 12000 specimens of rare plants. The tree continues to grow till today, you may see a bigger version the time you visit!
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