Around the World: Dodda Aladha Mara

Bangalore, India

 When visiting India, you should definitely see the forests. Not only are they the inspiration for stories like The Jungle Book, they are some of the most unique forests on the planet. In fact, the “forest” of Dodda Aladha Mara is really a forest of one plant. That’s right: a single tree appears to grow as a forest.

The Magic of Banyan Trees

Banyans start off as epiphytes, which means they grow upon another plant, like a tree, without harming the other plant. This may sound borderline parasitic, but epiphytes only use their plant companion for physical support. In short, Banyans get by with a little help from their friends. Being a fig tree, banyan seeds are typically dispersed by fruit-eating birds.

You may be wondering how a tree could grow so large and wide and it appears to be a forest. Banyans have special roots known as “prop” roots. They grow into thick trunks and become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Older banyans, like Dodda Aladha Mara, can spread out laterally and use their roots to cover a wide area.

Prop roots allow banyan trees to grow laterally. Photo Credit: By Kiran Gopi - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 in,
Prop roots allow banyan trees to grow laterally.
Photo Credit: By Kiran Gopi – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 in,

Big Banyan Tree

This is what Dodda Aladha Mara translates to, and it’s not hard to see why. Covering 3 acres (12,000 m2 ) makes Dodda one of the largest banyan trees in the world – quite a lot of ambition for a tree! At 400-years-old, it’s still going strong, though the main root was lost to disease in the early 2000s. Without the main root to visually connect the prop roots, the tree seems to be a forest of many banyans.

Mischevious Monkeys

A large number of monkeys make their home in the Big Banyan, and while they are cute, visitors should exercise caution. Be sure to secure valuables like cameras, food, and hats.


A 50-minute car ride will get you to the car park, which has space for about 30 vehicles. In addition, there are bus routes which will drop off visitors right beside the tree. For flights to Bangalore, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to the India. Call or email us today to get started!


Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!



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