I am a huge admirer of native trees. This is a story of an Indian fig tree that has been on this planet for as long as one can imagine. For some indigenous people, this tree is 100 years old and according to some old folk, this banian tree is more than 200 years ago.

(The banyan in old days was usually spelt as banian or banius because of its reference to the trader’s community who used to sit and sold their precious products under the mighty shade of these trees.)

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

From a historical perspective, it has been rumoured that Mahatama Gandhi used to sit beneath the green shade of this tree. The Zoo was known as a Mahatama Gandhi Garden in those unforgettable times.

This is a little known fact that the Karachi zoo came into existence in the year 1878. Because of his immense fondness for that botanical garden, it was initially called a Mahatama Gandhi Garden. It was turned into the zoo after the partition in 1947 and hence the name was mercilessly changed for the generations to come.

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

The banyan tree is a popular Pakistani village tree and in the native language, it is commonly known as the Barghad ka darakht. According to the local community, a banyan is a tree that makes wishes comes true.

It is a fig tree that has happily begun its life as an epiphyte. If you are not familiar with the term epiphyte then I would like to describe it as a kind of plant that usually grows on another plant but not as a parasite.

It grows on a host plant but unlike a parasitic plant, it takes no nutrients from the host tree but mostly relies on nutrients from other resources such as from the air, rainwater etc.

I am an ardent lover of three kinds of trees and their names are as per excellence. These are Naeem, peepal and banyan tree because my childhood was mostly spent under the shade of these beautiful trees. Native trees are usually aggressive and invasive in their behaviour and they have that innate ability to grow almost everywhere in a very short period.

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

The leaves of the tree as can be seen in these pictures are large, green, and elliptical. Some leaves are glossy, bright in appearance where there is sufficient sunlight and some leaves are dusty and thick, leathery in texture.

The trunks are painted white to signify that it is government property and hence, it is protected by law. In my opinion, old trees should not be painted white or in any colour possible so that people should respect and protect all old trees equally in their vicinity.

The fallen leaves are yellow and noticeably, there is no trace of grass under the shade of this tree. It is quite proverbial that nothing ever grows under the Banyan tree. The banyan tree does not let any grass or weed grow under it and believe me the reason for this is quite alluring and satisfying. As you can see that banyan leaves are quite thick and leathery and the entire tree looks like a huge mushroom type. Therefore the foliage of thick leaves doesn’t allow anything to flourish or sprout on its own. Only the plants that lacks chlorophyll can survive under a huge banyan tree.


14 thoughts on “Old Banyan tree located in Karachi Zoological and Botanical Garden

  1. How gorgeous! And I didn’t know that a banyan is a ficus. I have a bonsai ficus. My parents had bonsais. We all forgot to water when my mother was dying of ovarian cancer and all died but three. My father kept those three. He died 13 years later, 13 months after my little sister. He died of emphysema, my sister of breast cancer. Again, watering went right out of my head. Two of the bonsais died. I still have the ficus and it is still alive.

    1. I am deeply saddened to know about the deaths of your family members. A few people know that the banyan tree is also associated with death and the afterlife. It was originally considered to be the tree of life. I love bonsais art. I think it is a very sacred and holy process. I would love to see your bonsai focus someday if you allow.

      1. I will try to get a decent photo. It has some dead branches which I keep not trimming off. Maybe they are a remembrance of my beloved dead.

  2. Thanks for sharing the story about this very old and special tree.
    Trees are the lungs of earth and therefore so important, we have to protect them as much as we can.
    My compliments for your blog !
    Kind regards,

    1. Thank you for liking this age old native tree. I deeply love your comment on my blog. Yes, trees are an important asset of mankind. Thanks again.

  3. Great information, I had no idea about this.

    Banyan tree is a part of our culture. Even today, there will be no city in India that does not have few banyan historical trees. The huge banyan tree of the Botanical Garden, located in Kolkata (india) is known as the Great Banyan tree.After reading this post written by you, a story of Ruskin Bond (The great British-Indian writer settled in India) kiltmaker remembered . Must read.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, banyan tree is the most admirable tree for South Asian community. I have heard about the the great Banyan tree of Kolkata. Glad you have mentioned it. Do you have any link to the story of the Ruskin bond? It’s looking promising.

      1. Two stories of Ruskin Bond are on the banyan tree.
        1-Banyan tree
        2. the kite maker

        The banyan tree is written for young children, while the kite maker is a serious story,
        Absolutely both these stories are available on the internet.

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