A tree trunk would need ten to twelve people to encircle it, holding each other’s arms.
You can guess the sheer size of its trunk – it is massive and impressive.
The dome-shaped trunk is more than 20 meters and has a height of more than 45 feet, with branches growing randomly out of the top, making the presence of the tree extremely magnificent.
This tree, called Baobab, is located in the village of Jhunsi in the Indian city of Prayagraj, extremely close to Sangam, where the Ganga River meets the Yamuna River, making this spot highly revered in Indian culture. Every 12 years, the area hosts millions of devotees in Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of pilgrims on earth, during which people dip in the sacred river.
Standing here, overlooking the sacred Sangam, the tree would have seen millions of people taking its shelter and many Kumbh melas over the centuries. The radiocarbon dating of the tree is about 800 years old, which makes the Prayagraj tree one of the oldest trees in India.
Interestingly, there is no fanfare around the Baobab Tree as it stands nonchalantly in an area filled with mud, with a concrete boundary wall to prevent erosion as it stands very close to the river.
The tomb of Sufi Saint Baba Shaik Taqi is a few steps away from the tree. A legend associated with this tree is that Shaik Taqi had placed his datum, a toot-cleaning twig, upside down on the ground, which later developed into this tree.
Locally, the tree is also known as the Vilaiti Imli and Parijaat Tree.
Another Baobab tree, about 220 kilometers from this Prayagraj Tree, in a small village of Kintoor, is a historical legend. According to local folklore, this Kintoor tree, known locally as Parijat, was brought from heaven and is believed to be 6500 years old. You can read the story here.
The radiocarbon dating of the Prayagrah tree and the Kintoor tree was done together, authorized by the National Biodiversity Authority of India. The radiocarbon dating of the Baobab trees indicates that both trees are around 800 years old and become the oldest dated African baobabs outside Africa.
Jhunsi village, Prayagraj
For a detailed visual perspective of this tree, watch this video.