The Banyan tree is one of the most revered trees in India. It has the ability to survive and grow for centuries, thereby symbolizing immortality and is often compared to the shelter given by God to his devotees.
We invariably find this tree planted in front of many temples and in many villages in rural India, life revolves around this tree under which, the village ‘council’ makes all important decisions, people gather and meet for social events, children play and sometimes even go to school, people worship etc
In Hindu mythology, the tree is called ‘Kalpavriksha’, the tree that provides fulfillment of wishes, fertility and material gains. On a recent visit to the Maldives, I found that even in what is now an essentially Islamic society, this aspect of the Banyan tree still resides in the heart of the Maldivian Society. This tree is also sacred to the Buddhists. Lord Buddha is believed to have sat under this tree in deep Meditation for 7 days after gaining enlightenment.
As a child in India, I was always fascinated by this massive tree with hanging roots and spent a lot of time lying on the ground, looking up into the tree. This is the perspective I used to paint ‘The Banyan Tree’