Big Banyan Tree gets bigger, needs more space

400 and going strong

Big Banyan Tree gets bigger, needs more space

The Big Banyan Tree is getting bigger and needs more space to spread its roots. In this regard, the Horticulture department is now surveying land around Kethohalli, to buy more land around it for the tree to spread.

Joint Director of the Horticulture Department, C Nagaraj told Deccan Herald: “We have to expand the area, but are unable to do it immediately as the land in the vicinity belongs to many private individuals and companies. Land prices too are escalating rapidly. There are housing projects and there is a main road connecting Magadi Road to Mysore Road.

We have thus requested the government and urban local bodies to help us. A formal proposal too will be placed before the government very soon. In the mean time we are surveying areas around the tree to know which land belongs to whom and how much area we need. The details will then be given to the government to purchase.”

Big Banyan Tree, popularly known as Dodda Aalada Mara, is around 400 years old and is said to be one of the oldest trees in Karnataka. This popular tourist destination is just 28 km from City centre en route to Mysore. The main tree trunk is said to have died a natural death two decades ago.

About fifteen years later, a prop root fell two months ago. People who have religious sentiments attached to the tree have not allowed the officials to clear the dead root. Many offer prayers to the Jade Muneshwara temple inside the three acre campus of the tree. Environmental groups, visitors and residents of Ramohalli village speculate that the whole tree will die gradually. But the horticulture department officials assure that they will not let the tree die like the one at Monkey Park in Basaveshwaranagar or other Ficus Trees.

“There is scarcity of water in this part of the City because of the increasing
development activities. Many layouts and apartment complexes are coming up. “One borewell in the area has also dried up. While we are drawing water from other borewells, we are also buying water tankers. Sufficient water is required to for the huge tree and to maintain basic amenities in the tourist destination.

As the tree is growing, more water will be required. Thus we also want to acquire more land so that commercialisation and water exploitation can also be curtailed,” Nagaraj added.

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