The Many Uses of the Banyan Tree
The Banyan tree is one of the most magical trees – not only in the way its aerial roots create an astounding structure, but also in the properties that each and every part of the tree holds. It is one of the few elements in nature which is useful in every single aspect. This is the reason that the Banyan tree is the National tree of India.
One of the largest trees named the Great Banyan can be found Kolkata in India. It is said to be over two hundred and fifty years old. Another such tree can be found in Bangalore and has a spread of over 2 acres.
Here’s an interesting fact about this tree: Originally from India, this tree received its name from the Banias or Indian traders who sat below the tree shades. Village meetings and other useful gatherings would also take place in its shade, thereby giving it its name.
In Indian culture, the Banyan tree is considered to be sacred and leaves of the tree is considered to be the resting place of god Krishna. In fact, it is also believed that Buddha achieved enlightenment while sitting under a Banyan tree. There are various uses of the Banyan tree. From medicinal to recreational – there’s no part of life in which this tree doesn’t aid humanity.
Let’s have a look at some of the multiple uses the Banyan tree has…
- The Banyan tree is still used as a source of shade in many villages.
- Each and every part of this tree has its own unique medical uses.
- The bark and seeds can be used as a tonic to maintain body temperature and treat diabetes.
- The roots can be used to strengthen your teeth and gums by brushing with them.
- The sap treats external skin bruising and inflammation.
- Skin disease treatment is also possible with some properties of Banyan tree.
- Shellac has a large number of roles in making adhesive and surface finishes.
- Using the bark of the tree, paper can be created.
- Fiber can also be made from the bark of the tree in order to create ropes.
- Women from the Indo-Nepal region crush the prop root to paste and apply it to their hair. This keeps hair healthy and shiny
- The wood is soft and often used as firewood.
- Even the leaves are useful and are used as natural biodegradable plates to serve food on.
National Symbols of India and Their Meaning
April 23, 2013
by Ramandeep Kaur
National symbols of India depict the country’s image and have been chosen very carefully. The national animal, tiger symbolises power; the national flower, lotus symbolises purity;the national tree, banyan symbolises immortality, the national bird, peacock symbolises elegance and the national fruit, mango symbolises the tropical climate of India. Similarly, our national song and national anthem were a source of inspiration during the freedom struggle. The national emblem of India depicts four lions standing back to back, symbolising power, courage, pride and confidence. Hockey was at its peak when it was adopted as the national game of India. Here is some more information about the national symbols of India:
List of National Symbols of India
National Bird of India:
The peacock, commomly known as Indian peafowl was declared the national bird of India in 1963, because it was entirely a part of Indian custom and culture. A peacock is a symbol of grace and beauty. Another reason why the peacock was chosen as the national bird was because of its presence across the country, so much so that even common people are familiar with the bird. Moreover, no other country had the peacocok as its national bird either. The peacock fulfilled all these and hence became the national bird of India.
National Animal of India:
The tiger is known as the Lord of the Jungle and displays India’s wildlife wealth. Also strength, agility and power are the basic aspect of the tiger. The Bengal Tiger was declared as the national animal of India in April 1973, with the initiation of Project Tiger, to protect the tigers in India. Prior to this, the lion was the national animal of India.
National Anthem of India:
The national anthem of India is the Hindi version of an anthem which was originally composed in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore. It was adopted as the national anthem of India on 24 January 1950. Since the Bengali song ‘Vande Mataram’ faced opposition from non-Hindu segments of society, the Jana Gana Mana was adopted as the national anthem of India.
National Flower of India:
The lotus flower has a very significant position in Indian mythology. It is the flower of goddess Laxmi and symbolises wealth, prosperity, and fertility. Also, it grows very uniquely in dirty water with its long stalk far above the water, bearing the flower on the top. The lotus flower remains untouched from impurity. It symbolises purity, achievement, long life, and good fate.
The National Fruit of India: Mangoes are native to India and thus truly Indian. Since time immemorial, mangoes have been cultivated in India. In ancient times as well, deliciousness of mangoes have been defined by many renowned poets. The great Mughal emperor Akbar had planted about 1,00,000 mango trees in Lakhi Bagh in Darbhanga.
The National Song of India:
India’s national song was composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterjee. It has inspired many freedom fighters during the freedom struggle. Initially ‘Vande Mataram’ was the national anthem of India, but after independence ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was adopted as the national anthem. This was done because non-Hindu communities in India had considered Vande Mataram as biased. These communities felt that the nation was represented by ‘Maa Durga’ in the song. So that is why it was made the national song of India and not the national anthem.
National Flag of India:
The national flag of India is horizontal rectangular in shape and has three colours – deep saffron, white and green with Ashoka chakra (Wheel of Law) at its centre. It was adopted on 22 July 1947 during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly. It is also called as tricolor. The flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya.
The National Game of India:
In spite of cricket’s huge popularity in India, hockey is still the national game of India. Hockey when declared as the national game was very popular. The game has seen a golden era during 1928-1956, when India won 6 consecutive gold medals in the Olympics. Hockey was considered as the national game because of its unmatched distinction and incomparable talent at the time. At that time India had played 24 Olympic matches and won all of them.
The National Tree of India:
The Banyan tree represents eternal life, because of its ever-expanding branches. The country’s unity is symbolised by the trees huge structure and its deep roots. The tree is also known as Kalpavriksha, which means ‘wish fulfilling tree’.The Banyan tree is called so, because the Banyan tree has immense medicinal properties and is associated with longevity. The Banyan tree also gives shelter to many different kinds of animals and birds, which represent India and its people from different races, religions and castes.
The National Emblem of India:
The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of India. It consists of four Asiatic Lions standing back to back on a circular abacus. The abacus has sculptures of an elephant, a horse, a bull and a lion. These are separated by wheels in between. The national emblem stands on a full bloomed inverted lotus flower.
National River of India:
The Ganges or Ganga is the national river of India. According to the Hindus, this is the most sacred river on the earth. In fact, they perform many rituals on the bank of this river. The Indian cities which are famous for this river are Varanasi, Allahabad and Haridwar. Ganga flows over 2510 km of mountains, plains and valleys, and is the longest river in the country.
National Currency of India:
Indian Rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. The flow of this currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India. The symbol of Indian rupee is derived from the Devanagari consonant “र” (ra). The Indian rupee is named after silver coin, which is called rupiya. It was first issued by Sultan Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century and later the Mughal Empire continued it.
National Heritage Animal of India:
The national heritage animals of India is Elephant. The Indian elephant is a subspecies of the Asian elephant and found in the mainland Asia. It is listed as one of the endangered animals by IUCN. It can be spotted at four different regions in the country.
National Aquatic Animal of India:
The national aquatic animal of India is River Dolphin, which is also called as the Ganges river dolphin. The mammal once used to live in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, Kamaphuli and Sangu rivers of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. However, the species is no more found in its early distribution ranges. The river dolphin is essentially blind and lives only in freshwater.