Recently I was in Jaypore ( not Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan) , Jaypore is in Koraput district Orissa. I was there with some work at judicial court. I reached there early at 9 am as the working hours starts in Indian offices at 10 morning. But there the seen was very interesting, a large gathering of people were there before I reach there. They were sitting under a huge banyan tree in front of the court and enjoying the shade by sipping tea and having snacks ( idly and chatni). Really tree is very huge and covering about 2000 square feet. A platform is made around it with arrangements to sit.
As in my home state Kerala , there I had not seen such huge banyan trees,except in road sides, which were also not so huge I have seen here. But I heard from my father that , at Adayar in Chennai, there is a huge banyan tree which cover a area of about one kilo-meter.
Someone , who was with me to assist in court work said me that they are taking medicated oxygen, because in early morning hours it release a large amount of oxygen that have such a curative power even help to get cured from TB. I don’t know is it true or not. May it be also a “satta”(Hindi word, meaning Guess)
Whatever, here I would like to tell here something about the importance of Banyan tree to Indians.
Banyan tree known in different names regionally, asBargad,Bor,Ber,Ala,Nayagrodha,Bar,Vad,Vatnam,Bahupada,Peddamarri,VatVriksha,Marri Vrikshamu ,Aal Maram, Vatavriksh, and Barh
Banyan tree is considered as National tree of India. one can see banyan tree through out India irrespective of region and climate, that might be the reason to consider it as national tree.
Hindus consider bargad as a sacred tree. As per belief, the leaf of bargad is the resting place of the god Krishna. Also there is a belief that Lord Dhakshina Murthy (Shiva) sits under this tree for meditation accompanied with rishies.
The rishies used the shade of this trees for their meditation. And belief is there that ,this tree helps to fulfill the wishes, so it also called kalpavriksha mean 'wish fulfilling divine tree'.In India people used to grow banyan tree near peepal tree as it considered sacred because in Hindu concept banyan tree is male and peepal tree is female.
Bhagavan Buddha have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a banyan tree at Bhod Gaya(Bihar), so also called Bodhi vriksha.
In India the twigs of banyan tree are sold as toothpicks , it believes to promote dental health.
Banyan tree is well known for its medicinal values in Ayur Veda. Its sap is a medicine for treating external skin problems and infections, stomach problems, toothaches and ulcers. Diabetic patients are also treated by the tonic made from banyan tree.
Banyan tree is one of the best plant for preparing Bonsais due to complex hanging roots, style and less requirement of space to grow.