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     Volume 2 Issue 12 | June 9, 2007 |


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Journey through Bangldesh

From Jhenidah
The Biggest Banyan Tree of Asia
Azibor Rahman

A few kilometers from Kaligonj town you will come across a rather bulky banyan tree. Hailed as the largest banyan tree of Asia, the tree stands as yet. The surrounding people know it as Mallick Purer Batgachh. The largest banyan tree of Asia, Mallick Purer Batgachh is located eight kilometers to the east of Kaligonj. The tree lies on twenty bighas of land, its height is ninety six feet and it has one thousand four hundred and sixty sub-trunks. An old man tells me about the birth of the tree. At the end of the fourteenth century, inside a well the banyan tree sprang to life. In contrast to the other trees this tree kept growing very fast and in a few years, it assumed the shape of a full fledged banyan tree. Mallickpur has been nicknamed Suitala Mallickpur because of this. Four hundred years ago, the population of Mallickpur was very low. No one really bothered with the importance of the tree. But the tree has some special virtues that can be seen. For example, the tree extends one yard per year in its eastern corner.

It is said that the Banyan tree also has some divine properties. In 1974 a constable of the Rakhkhi Bahini, to collect fuel, cut some off shoots of the tree. Within a few moment he became seriously ill, after a prolonged treatment he met death. A few years ago one Kudratullah of Mallickpur village breathed his last after a long confinement to a sick bed for collecting and utilizing fuel from this tree. The banyan tree not only bears the historic recollection but also possesses a divine power. The women of the Hindu community offer their worship at different times at the feet of the tree. The Muslims also highly esteem the tree relative to other trees. In spite of the fuel crisis in the country, most people no longer dare to cut off branches of this tree.

When people need some relief from the heat, they take shelter under the peaceful cold shade of this tree. Hundreds of people from in and out of Mallickpur come here. A foreign tourist commented that the Banyan tree at the Botanical Garden of India was probably larger than this one. To confirm, he measured the dimensions, height, width and the suspending trunks of the Mallickpur Banyan and declared with surety that the tree of Mallickpur is actually much bigger.

Officials of the concerned government departments actually care very little about it. Some might be dissatisfied that the tree is in the rural areas. If the tree was located in the capital city, the public would pay just to see it. In 1970 a tourist center was built which actually does not offer any benefits a center should.

Mysteriously, the furniture and equipment bought for the center never even arrived there. It's a shame that this great wonder of nature has been neglected so.


The winners of Star Insight's “Cartoon Contest Against Corruption” will be announced on 8th July, 2007. Ten winners will be named.

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