The Big Banyan Tree or Dodda Alada Mara, is a must among places to visit in Bangalore. Spread over 5 acres, the Big Banyan tree is nearly 400 years old and is an excellent specimen of nature’s bounty! Taking a walk alongside the labyrinth of roots and relaxing in the cool shade is irresistible and hence Big Banyan Tree makes the cut among places to visit in Bangalore.
The Big Banyan Tree or Dodda Alada Mara, is situated in Kethohalli village, just 28 kilometers from Bangalore and hence convenient among places to visit in Bangalore. Take the Mysore Road and take a deviation to the right at Kumbalagod junction soon after Kengeri. The Big banyan Tree will be 7 kms down the road.
Or take Magadi Road and turn left when you see the board for Big Banyan Tree located between Tavarekere and Chennenahalli. Carry on for 6 kms and you will find the Big Banyan Tree.
It is maintained by a public sector bank and is now popularly called Dodda Alada Mara Udyanavana or the Big Banyan Tree Garden.
It is very close to Ramnagaram, the famed location for Bollywood blockbuster "Sholay". For a travelogue on that, visit Ramnagaram of Sholay fame.
For homestays in India where you have a hospitable host and home cooked food, visit India Holiday Ideas.
The Big Banyan Tree is maintained by a public sector bank and is now popularly called Dodda Alada Mara Udyanavana or the Big Banyan Tree Garden. It has become popular among places to visit in Bangalore, much like the famed Lalbagh, the 240 acre botanical garden in Bangalore.
The main tree has over the years spread out with several prop roots as is typical of the Ficus Benghalensis species. While some of the prop roots have died down, new ones are still growing from the healthier branches, making it a perennial favourite among weekend getaways from Bangalore.
While talking about the Big Banyan Tree, it will be of interest to look at the etymology of the word “Banyan”. The tree got its name from “Banias” or Indian traders who relaxed under its shade and displayed their wares! From 17th century onwards English writers began to refer to the tree as Banyan Tree. Daniel Defoe featured it in his 1719 novel where Robinson Crusoe made his home in a Banyan Tree, as those with a good memory will recall from their school days!
While at the Big Banyan Tree, take the path along the roots on the pathway that leads to the prop root and can even walk in and out of the tree. In-fact, several feature films have been shot on this location with the hero and heroine walking in and out of the tree! Keep a look out for birds like the Drongo, Hoopoe, Doves and Pirnia. Several families of Monkeys have also made the Dodda Alada Mara their home, a fact you will realize if you happen to carry any food items in your person to this fascinating place to visit in Bangalore!
It is believed that the Big Banyan Tree symbolizes the holy trinity of Hindu Gods. The root, stem and branches represent Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively. The Banyan Tree has its place in Buddhism as well as Lord Buddha attained his enlightenment under a Bodhi Tree which is also a Banyan Tree of the species Sacred Fig.
You can also visit a temple of Lord Munisvara inside the Big Banyan Tree or Dodda Alada Mara complex. Interestingly, this shrine was placed after the main trunk collapsed a few years ago.
If go further towards Mandya, there is a deviation to the popular Melkote temple, which was set up by Ramanuja Acharya in 12th century AD.
One of the most famous Vishnu temples of south India is the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapatnam which is 100 Kms from Big Banyan Tree towards Mysore.
Mukti Naga Temple is another interesting place to visit on your way back from the Big Banyan Tree. The temple houses a giant idol of Lord Subramania in Serpent form.
If you have an unfilled wish, all you need to do is to make 9 rounds at Mukti Naga Temple around the ant hill in Big Banyan Tree and a legend promises its fulfillment in 90 days time, making this weekend getaway from Bangalore a fruitful one!
Talakadu is a good place to visit from the Big Banyan tree. It is an ancient town on the banks of River Cauvery and is a pilgrimage as well as a picnic spot. For a travelogue check Talakadu.
For my travelogues on other weekend getaways from Bangalore, visit Bangalore Weekend Ideas.