By : Neha Dhyani
Updated : Jan 6, 2022, 11:45
Trees generally have a long life span ranging from a hundred to more than a few thousand years. India is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. These ancient trees are not only charming but also historically relevant. Especially in a culture where trees are revered like Gods, the oldest tree in India holds much significance both religiously and spiritually.
The Baobab tree of Jhusi, Allahabad, and the Parijaat tree at Kintoor, UP are two of the oldest trees in India. A radiocarbon investigation of the two trees was conducted recently. The radiocarbon date of Baobab of Jhusi was found to be 779+ 41 BP and that of Kintoor to be 793+ 37 BP. This indicates that both these trees are over 800 years of age.
This iconic Baobab tree of Jhusi is also known by the name of 'Baba Shaik Ped' or 'Hathi ka Pawn'. It is believed to have been planted by Shaik Taqi, a Sufi saint born in Jhusi in 1320. Legends have it that Shaik Taqi had placed his 'daaton' (twig used as a toothbrush) upside down on the ground, which later grew into this tree. The tomb of Shaik Taqi is located inside the tree.
The Parijaat of Kintoor also has many interesting legends surrounding it. As per a popular legend, the tree was brought from heaven by Arjun. Others believe that Lord Krishna brought this tree for his beloved queen Rukmini.
Besides this, there are several other fascinating old trees in India.
Found in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden in Howrah, near Kolkata, the Great Banyan Tree is said to be over 250 years old. This gigantic tree covers about 18,918 square meters of land (4.67 acres), making it the widest tree in the world.
With over 3700 aerial roots, the tree gives the appearance of a dense forest rather than a single tree. Every year thousands of tourists visit the garden to witness its magnificence, and owing to its size, the tree is hard to miss.
The Thimmamma Marrimanu, popularly known as the Old Banyan Tree, is another large Banyan Tree located in Anantpur, about 25kms from Kadiri, Andhra Pradesh. It also finds its mention in the Guinness Book of World Record as having “the greatest perimeter length for a tree”. Its canopy extends over an area of 4.721 acres.
If local myths are to be believed, the tree is named after Thimmamma, a woman who committed the ritual of Sati in the 1400s after the death of her husband. The tree is believed to have grown from one of the poles used in the funeral pyre.
The tree also houses a small temple beneath it. The area's residents believe that a childless couple can beget a child by offering their prayers to the temple. A large Jatra is conducted here on the day of Shivratri, where people come in thousands to worship the tree.
Yet another Banyan Tree that has outlived our great ancestors is the Kabirvad Banyan Tree, found on a small river island near Bharuch in Gujarat. The tree and the temple beneath it is dedicated to the 15th-century mystic poet Kabir. The tree finds its mention in the records of Alexander the Great's expedition to the area.
Located on the campus of the Theosophical Society at Adyar in Chennai, Adyar Banyan Tree is another majestic banyan tree believed to be over 450 years old. It is undoubtedly one of the oldest trees in India. Many prominent philosophers, including J Krishnamurthi, had given discourses to thousands of pupils under the shade of this very tree.
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Ans: The Parijaat tree of Kintoor, UP and the Baobab tree of Jhusi, Allahabad are two of the oldest trees in India.
Ans: The estimated age of the Parijaat of Kintoor is found to be 793 + 40 years, while that of Jhusi is found to be 779 + 40 years.
Ans: The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus Longaeva) is considered the oldest tree in the world. The tree is over 5,000 years of age.