Banyan trees are important as shady gathering places and they feature strongly in South Asian mythology. They also provide a source of shellac and dye. Shellac is an important ingredient in French polish. Shellac is produced by lac insects which parasites banyan trees.
Making a wish
In Hindu mythology, the banyan tree is also called kalpavriksha meaning 'wish fulfilling tree'. It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches and people have great respect for it. There are many stories about it in ancient literature.
The banyan tree is named after 'banyans' or 'banians', the Hindu traders seen resting or carrying out their business under the tree. In fact banyans have become important meeting places for many people who gather in its shade to relax or chant.
Banyan trees have aerial roots - running from branches to the ground - which enable trees to become very large - up to 200 metres in diameter.
Banyan tree tunnel
I remember this tunnel of Banyans since I was a little girl visiting my grandparents in Florida.