This is the banyan tree by our house, in the coconut grove. It's a small one, by banyan tree standards.
It is the national tree of India. From Wikipedia:
Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as slender vine. Once these roots reach the ground, they take root and grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main trunk.
These trees are often considered sacred in Hinduism. Also from Wikipedia:
...it is one of the most sheltering trees in the heat of the land, with a large and deep shade, and is thus extremely useful for travellers of the old sort - on foot, bicycles or oxcarts, or horse riders - travelling for hours or days; traditionally it was found almost ubiquitously on roads and in village centres, the latter very useful for any formal or informal gathering to be conducted in a cool place or even for any poor person or a traveller to sleep under.
Or play volleyball under.
Or practice aerial silk under. That's what the red cloth is for.
The big one that we go to sometimes is the size of a courthouse. A school. It's a forest, except it's not; it's a tree.
And just for kicks, here's a shot of the coconut grove. Chinua and a group of people recently cleaned the litter off this area, but it looks like some of it has returned. Oof.
This concludes the banyan tree post. Thank you, God, for banyan trees.