Madras Week Special 2012

Adyar - 2

Called ‘Adyar aala maram’ in Tamil, the mammoth Adyar banyan tree, which is believed to be 150 years old, lured people of all ages. Tourists from foreign countries flocked to this tree which is revered by the Hindus.

Its trunk weighs 30 tonnes and its roots are like pillars. A visit to Madras was incomplete without a visit to this serene place. I stood there speechless looking at the banyan tree when I went there on a school excursion.

We have heard rivers spawning civilisations have you heard of a tree spawning many movement and events?

The bBanyan tree has a rich, layered history. It has been a mute witness to several congregations which were held under its massive branches.

Luminaries like philosopher J. Krishnamurthi, popularly called JK, Annie Beasant and Mari Montessori used to gather under the green canopy to deliver lectures and plan for a school or social movement.

The history of Theosophical Society is intertwined with that of the famed banyan tree.

The sylvan surroundings is an ideal location for the internationally-renowned Theosophical Society.

The pristine forest which resembles a veritable herbarium would have enticed Madam. Blavatsky and Col Olcott that they decided to build a world headquarters of Theosophical Society in this idyllic spot with life revolving around this tree.

I am intoxicated by the unpolluted air that I stroll around this area every morning, declares Gopu, who nostalgically discussed the meetings that took place under this tree with distinguished personalities participating.

The tree with its extensive branches can accommodate hundreds of people under its green roof.

A O Hume, a staunch Theosophist, mooted the idea of founding the Indian National Congress under this tree.

Annie Beasant, who is synonymous with Theosophical Society, organised a rally and the Indian Scouts Movement was born out of this rally. The natural choice of place for the rally was in a natural surrounding and the banyan tree was chosen for this purpose.

Considered one of the largest trees in the world, it cast a magical spell.

Adyar river

Adyar river added to the natural beauty of Madras. It originated at Chembarambakkam lake in Chengalpattu district, near Madras and joins the Bay of Bengal at Adyar Estuary.

The river contributed to the estuarine eco-system of Madras.

(To be contd)

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