A forest of a tree: Bengaluru’s big Banyan tree beckons nature lovers

Nature has countless ways to express itself, and it is every expression is wondrous. The cycle of a seed transforming into a sapling and then growing into a massive canopy, eventually producing flowers, seeds and fruits is nothing short of a miracle.

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Yet, we take it for granted, passing it by as if it warrants no attention of ours. Nature works this cycle in such abundance that it has ceased to draw our awe.

However, if we slow down, take a pause and ponder over such regular acts of creation such as a seed transforming into a giant canopy and producing more seeds, we might learn to appreciate more of the incessant, multifarious, magnanimous creation around us that make our existence possible!

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Located on the outskirts of Bengaluru this natural wonder is called Dodda Alada Mara or Big Banyan Tree.(Photo: Shafaat Shahbandari/Siasat.com)

A visit to one of Bengaluru’s natural wonders – the Big Banyan Tree – would give you this moment to pause and ponder. It will give you an opportunity to reflect on the power of life and the meaning of existence.

When you first set an eye on this forest of a tree, it doesn’t come across as odd or amazing. But as you approach it and stand amidst its overpowering presence it begins to grow on you. The long, tentacle-like overhanging roots hold your hands and pull you in.

It makes you ask how and why? What power wrought these branches and what has kept them alive for so long?

Located on the outskirts of Bengaluru, this natural wonder is known among the locals as Dodda Alada Mara or the Big Banyan Tree. Spread across three acres and still growing, calling it big is an understatement. This sprawling phenomenon is a true giant.

Located in the village of Ramohalli, off the Mysuru highway, this banyan tree is four centuries old. Just for context, it could have been existing before the manmade wonder Taj Mahal was even conceptualised.

Though it is the oldest known banyan tree in Karnataka, it is only the fourth oldest in India.

Imagine sitting under the natural canopies that have witnessed all the modern history of India, from the Mughal conquest to the British colonisation to the Independence of India!

This little forest amidst the urban madness around it has been developed into a park by the local authorities.

It could have been an ideal picnic spot if its long-tailed inhabitants would allow it.
The park is home to an army of monkeys who wouldn’t allow you to drop your guard if you are carrying food packets or bags.

Nestled amidst the encroaching urban development in the village of Ramohalli, off the Mysuru highway, this banyan tree is 400 years old.
(Photo: Shafaat Shahbandari/Siasat.com)

So, the ideal way to enjoy this natural wonder is to quietly explore the green canopies and ponder on the miracle of creation.

Never mind the fact that we need a 400-year-old banyan tree to remind us of the power of creation, the miracle of all existence, which includes us.

In our daily race to nowhere, we have grown so aloof, so out of touch with what keeps us going that we need these reminders more often. But, for that, we have to step out of our urban jungles more often, to places that will force us to think!

Developed into a park, this little jungle could be an ideal picnic spot if not for the monkeys. The park is home to an army of monkeys who bother visitors if they carry food packets or any bags. So for the best experience exploring nature without any baggage. (Photo: Shafaat Shahbandari/Siasat.com)

However, if we look around consciously, even in our busy urban lives we will find plenty of opportunities to find nature and connect with it.

Actually, we don’t need to look far, just look within, we are not separate from nature. All we need to ask is what is our relationship with the rest of the creation, is it healthy and mutually beneficial or is it toxic?

But, other than our regular reflections and introspections, we do need occasional visits to places such as the Big Banyan Tree to understand our equation with the rest of the creation.

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