Banyan Tree is the National tree of India

  • Know about India’s National Tree, the Banyan tree. Its significance, its botanical side, giving nature, cultural and spiritual importance, medical and commercial use. 

This is one of my favourite trees (called Ficus benghalensis) and I truly admire the vastness and the spiritual structure of the tree. When we hear about the great Banyan many must be remembering hanging on its hanging roots as a child, having meetings sitting under the tree, worshiping the tree, taking a break under its motherly shade and many more.


This tree is not just a tree but it holds immense significance in India, it has sacred values, it has mythological stories, culture, history and many more. Talking about The Banyan Tree is going to be never complete with whatever knowledge I gather from all parameters…as it is so ancient and grounded just like its physical structure. It is one of the 750 plus species of fig trees pollinated by own species. Fig wasps breeds on this tree.


Understanding the botanical side, Banyan tree has one of the largest canopy trees in the word. It has thick and oval shaped leaves which are dark green in colour having leathery and glossy feel. It’s a fat and evergreen tree. These drought resistance trees are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and many other countries. These great trees live for 500 years making history; these old trees are found in some botanical gardens of the world especially in ancient temples of India. The biggest Banyan tree is in Andhra Pradesh covering 4.7 acres.       


This sacred tree is an epiphyte which grows on other trees and derives nutrition from air and rain water. It produces fig fruits which shelter the fig wasps on which the trees depend upon for their pollination. Many fruit eating birds are responsible for dispersing the tiny seeds of fig. We have often seen a tree rooting out from buildings, temples etc., where the birds have dropped seeds. Banyan trees produce fig fruits which shelters so many species that disperse seeds everywhere.


And not to forget the massive network of the roots which is a prominent feature of the tree spreading and encompassing the area giving the tree the name Strangler Fig. These hanging roots are aerial, thick and woody which later unite with the earth!


The massive tree is described by Lord Shri Krishna in Bhagwat Geeta as: "There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas." (Chapter/Verse 15.1)


Banyan tree has various names in different languages: Sanskrit–Bahupada, Malyalam-Ala, Marathi–Vada, Bengali– Bar, Hindi–Bargad, Gujarati–Vad, Tamil- Al, Telugu-Peddamarri to name a few.


Cultural and spiritual aspects

It is widely known as the tree of life and tree of knowledge due to its various aspects. In the state of Maharastra, Goa and Gujarat it is worshipped by women during the month of May and June especially for the wellbeing of husbands. This festival is known as “Vat Purnima”

Vaat Purnima. 

The spiritual name of Banyan tree is nyagrodha which means “down grower”. It’s also called as bahupada meaning having many feet. In Hindu tradition, it is called “Kalpavriskha” the tree that fulfills wishes. Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva the Trimurti resembles the tree, Bramha the roots, Vishnu the bark and Shiva the branches.


The British noticed the Gujarati community-Baniya siting under banyan tree which gave the tree its common name. For Buddhist, this tree is sacred as Lord Buddha meditated under the tree.

Banyan Tree Bodhgaya 

Not to forget Lord Krishna delivered the song of “Bhagwat Geeta” below Banyan Tree.


Medical values

The extract of the stems have analgesic property. Fruits have potential to fight cancer. The Seeds act as astringent and are used in dysentery. Bark is used to cure diabetes, while the leaves are said to help cure ulcers. Leaves are also anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant which help lower the cholesterol levels.

The anti-analgesic property helps reducing pain related to arthritis. The roots are useful to reduce liver inflammation. Besides the above, diseases like oral disorders, rheumatism, asthma, nausea, toothache, digestive issues, skin disorders to name a few are also cured. To add on, the leaves are considered as mosquito repellant.     

Commercial uses

The leaves of Banyan are used to make plates and as it has 9.63% crude protein they are useful for fodder too. In some parts of India, a traditional drink is made from the fruits. The timber can used for furniture and paper making. The aerial roots rare strong and hence used in cart and tent making.

Banyan tree are said to hold water and hence are also planted for conservation purposes. You will see many a times a well and a Banyan tree together. It also purifies air improving the air quality thus reducing pollution due to its vast foliage.

Wrapping up the essay Banyan tree is also believed to be as male tree and hence its planted with Peepal tree. After reading auspicious notes of this revered tree it was difficult to accept this that in some parts of India Banyan tree is not included in marriages or births as it does not allow any tree or grass blades to grow beneath it.


Also read  About Peepal Tree , Sacred Trees of the Hindus


To read all articles by author



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