Age- old banyan tree in Chennai attracts curious crowds

102213-banSTORY: Adyar Banyan Tree or the Bodhi Tree at Adyar, believed to be nearly450 years old is considered to be one of world’s oldest banyan trees .Located on the campus of the Theosophical Society at Adyar city in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state, this tree attracts hundreds of curious visitors.

The sprawling branches of one of the largest trees in the world cover 40,000 sq feet and it measures 238 feet from north to south and 250 feet from east to west.

“This is about 450 years old. It is one of the two oldest trees; another tree is somewhere in Calcutta where also two branches have merged into one. The banyan tree has no death, it goes on. The present area is 62, 000 sq ft. such a big banyan tree on the seashore is very rare,” said General Manager, Theosophical Society, Harihara Ragavan on Monday (October 21).

The giant banyan tree came with property acquired in 1908. Its sprawling branches covered 40,000 square feet of space and were once held up by a 40-feet tall, 30-tonne trunk and thousands of pillar-like roots dropped from the canopy.

The aerial roots of this tree have become well- rooted and the entire tree appears like a bunch of several trees.

Many residents are upset that many people in and around the city are unaware of the tree’s existence and they also said the Theosophical Society officials should request the Tamil Nadu Tourism to take necessary steps to safeguard the tree so that coming generations get to watch this ancient tree.

“Adyar banyan Tree is the oldest symbol of Adyar but now it seems like that many people hardly know of its existence,” said a visitor, Ravichandran.

The Old Banyan Tree is geographically located at latitude (13.0113 degrees) 13° 0′ 40″ north of the Equator and longitude (80.2676 degrees) 80° 16′ 3″ east of the Prime Meridian on the Map of Chennai.