City Landmark – Banyan Tree, Gurgaon Railway Station
No small wonder.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
In our fast-changing ever-uncertain times, it stands tall and dense as an emblem of great endurance. It was here long before the coronavirus pandemic, and will, hopefully continues to exist for time to come.
This luscious banyan tree in Gurgaon is a megapolis. Its each branch is like a road, each cluster of leaves like a neighbourhood. The tree is huge and unwieldy. Indeed, it has to be among the grandest in the Delhi region. There certainly might be bigger and grander trees anonymously tucked in ridges, parks and private bungalows, but this one is more special because it possesses a stateliness despite being stranded amid the disadvantages of an unruly public place.
The tree stands beside to the city’s tiny railway station, next to the rail tracks. The otherwise ordinary station itself has a set of some incredibly beautiful banyans—especially the ones growing on the middle platform. This particular tree is particularly noteworthy because it “is regularly trimmed by the authorities, otherwise it would block the trains”—a man said, who lives nearby.
Indeed, the tree spreads into such a thicket of leafy branches that it gives the vibes of an equatorial jungle where the daylight has not entered for ages. However, the graceful banyan suffers from one unfortunate aspect. It is a giant, true, but rests on a slender trunk, and thus looks like a six-packs Bollywood hero standing uncertainly on a pair of chicken legs.
Since banyans are sacred, the ground around the tree is enmeshed with broken statues of gods and goddesses — it is considered inauspicious to keep damaged idols at home. The best vantage point to study its majesty is from the southernmost end of the station. The more you gaze upon the tree, the more it draws you into its impenetrable universe of mysteries.