Great Banyan Tree, Kolkata

The Great Banyan tree is over 250 years old and in spread it is the largest known in India, perhaps in Asia. There is no clear history of the tree, but it is mentioned in some travel books of the nineteenth century. It was damaged by two great cyclones in 1884 and 1886, when some of its main branches were broken and exposed to the attack of a hard fungus. With its large number of aerial roots, The Great Banyan looks more like a forest than an individual tree.
The tree now lives without its main trunk, which decayed and was removed in 1925. The circumference of the original trunk was 1.7 m and from the ground was 15.7 m. The area occupied by the tree is about 14,500 square metres (about 1.5hectares or 4 acres). The present crown of the tree has a circumference of nearly half a kilometre and the highest branch rises to about 25 m; it has at present 3300 aerial roots reaching down to the ground.

From a distance, the tree has the appearance of a forest, but what appear to be individual trees are actually aerial roots- around 3,600 of them.
After two cyclones in the 19th century that led to a fungal attack, the tree’s main 15.7-meter-wide (51-foot) trunk had to be removed. Fortunately, the "clonal colony" of tree itself remains healthy.
A 330-meter-long road was constructed around the tree so that visitors could drive around the circumference, but the Great Banyan continues to spread beyond, growing wider with each passing year. Currently it is already over 450-meters.

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