Matrimandir, Auroville, Pondicherry

The Banyan Tree of Auroville

The Banyan Tree of Auroville

Aerial prop roots have grown into thick woody trunks supporting the banyan tree as it extends laterally. Click on the photo for more info.

I always thought बर (Banyan) was the husband of पीपल (Peepal). It’s not because the word बर also means husband in Nepali :). It’s probably because I have always seen these trees together on चौतारीहरु (chautaris) in villages- mostly on the opposing sides of a chautari. On certain days people go to chautaris or whereever Banyan and Peepal are and “marry” them. They garland both trees- single garland- amidst a ceremony. This should explain the significance that Banyan (बर) along with Peepal holds in Nepali society. Peepal is considered more religous and sacred than Banyan, I believe. Both of these trees are deeply rooted in our culture too. A lot of songs talk about them.

खोला वारी खोला पारी पीपल र बर
हावा चल्यो पात हल्यो माया वर वर

[Thanks to my significant half who told me about the existence of this particular song.]


Tourists and Matrimandir

Tourists in front of Matrimandir, Auroville

I remember hanging and swinging on the aerial prop roots of Banyan tree in my childhood. But I had never seen a Banyan tree with APR fully developed into woody trunks before I visited Auroville in Pondicherry last month. An hour ago I also knew that Banyan is the national tree of India. I was completely awed by the sight of this giant banyan tree near Matrimandir. All Indian tourists who were traveling with us and other Westerners we saw at Matrimandir completely ignored the tree and kept walking ahead. We branded them fools for not stopping by the tree and admiring its shape, size and beauty.

Pics by cotraveler

3 thoughts on “The Banyan Tree of Auroville

  1. barsha

    5 stars! Not for ur article, but for the magnificent banyan tree. hehe…
    Well, this tree reminds me of a particular tree at Sanga, Kavre. I dont know the name of the tree (never been good in Botany). I get to take a glimpse of that tree en route to my mamaghar. And it’s one amazing tree with its flying branches. It’s quite a miniature form of that banyan tree of yours. We, that’s me and my sister, always get awestruck and mesmerized by that tree. My mother says it’s been there for as long as she can remember. But I wonder if I could say the very same thing to my daughter. I mean, sometimes I dare think that the tree might be chopped off. I haven’t really been near that tree; and u might as well brand me as one of those fools. But, I was thinking one of these days, I might at least take its photo. By the way, I think this tree I’ve been rambling about has been featured in this song called “ritu” by Deepak Bajracharya.
    And 5 stars n more for that banyan tree, that tree at Sanga; and for ur article too!!!


    1. Dinesh

      Some trees, like humans, have different personalities from the rest! You should take a photo of the photo of that tree and share that with others, barsha. Thank you and a thumbs up for your observation too.



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