Old Baobab Tree & Rangnath Temple Nanakramguda Hyderabad
Before Chandra Babu Naidu said “ Let there be Investments in IT”, Nanakramguda was a sleepy village with its only claim to fame being 400-year-old Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple. Today it is difficult to find from the main road as it is surrounded by glass faced IT parks. But my reason for visiting Nanankramguda village was not to visit the temple, though I did click some pictures from outside of the temple. No, I am not an atheist; I will tell you why I did not enter the temple later in the post.
I have read about this huge Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) also called boab, boaboa, tabaldi, bottle tree, upside-down tree, monkey bread tree, and Haati Jhaad, in Nanakramguda village. I always use to slow down my car when passing from the village road to locate it but was unsuccessful.
So today when I was coming back from airport highway I decided to take a detour and enter the village, I parked my car next to an under construction building and look around. Multiple cricket matches were being played in the open grounds, and in one corner next to the white building, stood the majestic Baobab Tree with its magnificent trunk, wounded by the careless dumping of construction material next to it. There are thousands of IT professionals in the area and I am pretty sure a lot of them are involved in CSR initiatives of their companies, but most of them would have never heard of this magnificent tree.
Now you may wonder why I am writing about a tree, that is not even native to India and is an import from African plains. Good question, let me try to answer based on my limited knowledge gained from Wikipedia and before that when I use to actively participate in monthly meetings of ISOCS or Indian Society of Cacti and Succulents. You see Baobab is a miracle of nature, it grows in places where nothing else will grow, and it attains gigantic proportions with a girth that will put to shame to biggest of behinds you may have seen. They take ages to grow and the specimen you see pictures in this post could be easily 500+ years old. The trunk can grow more than 25ft in width and they can grow up to 90+ feet.
In various parts of India, they have mythology and legends attached to them. There are few trees in Savanur Fort in Karnataka that are believed to be planted by none other than the divine flutist Krishna himself! What could be more plausible is the theory that they were brought to India as saplings or seeds by wandering Sufis, who brought them to India from Africa. This brings me to the name of the village Nanakramguda, now we all know Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikh faith and is believed to have traveled all over the northern hemisphere, to spread the message of love and harmony. We do know Guru Nanak visited Bidar, which is less than 100 KM from Nanakramguda in Hyderabad. No, I am not drawing any conclusions, but presenting a hypothesis, that is it possible that Guru Nanak or one of his disciples had brought this Baobab to Nanakramguda. Guess we will never find out.
There are other ruins beside the Baobab tree, I call the tree a ruin because the construction material surrounding it has really damaged the bark of the tree and very few leaves are left on it, though the shedding of leaves could be seasonal also.
I decided to look around and beyond the ground where cricket matches were taking place. There are ruins of a small temple close to the tree, from the ruins you can see the new temple of Nanakramguda called the Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple, believed to be 400 years old. Now if the new temple which is still used for worship and is in good shape is 400 years old, you can guess how old these other ruins are. True to the tradition of Vishnu Temples in South India, there is a huge Chariot used to take out a procession during festivals; it is housed in a room made to order outside the temple. There is also another small ruins, I was unable to find anybody who could tell me about the ruins. Wiki says that the temple and its surrounding lands were purchased by Seth Shivalal Pitti in 1861. It was a part of the private property of the Pitti family until 1954. Now it is under a trust belonging to the Pitti family.
But I am more worried about the Baobab tree, as it is taking too much hit from the construction material. This white building is coming up on the left side of the road, opposite to the Wipro building. I would request you dear reader to send this post to all your friends who work in IT industry, as I am sure some of them would be working in this IT company that is building the new campus and the top management may not be even aware of that they are slowly killing a tree that is more than 500 years old. This could be their chance to show some CSR and help in saving this tree which has both historical and mythological significance.
As to why I did not enter the temple? it was because just as I was about to enter the same a few SUV entered the premises at full speed and a few machine gun toting guys came out of it, they were protecting some politician cum property dealer type whose girth was giving competition to our giant Baobab in the Nanakramguda village, and I wanted to avoid meeting them, hence saved the visit to the temple for next time. The highlight of the visit were these sisters Krishnaveni and Chinnamai ( I am sure I have this one wrong), who kept on smiling at me and finally asked me in Telugu to click their pictures, we did not understand a word of each other but communicated effortlessly. They were posing and suggesting to me how I should click their pictures; here is one for you to see.
How to reach Ranganath Temple and Baobab Tree in Nanakramguda Village
On the ORR ( Outer Ring Road Hyderabad ) you will find boards mentioning exit to Nanakramguda Village and Financial District follow them if you are on the ISB road, lake the left from Wipro building, and you will see the tree next to this under construction white building opposite to the side gate of Wipro building in the financial district. I have tried to pin in the Google maps here. Be careful while walking around as a lot of discarded liquor bottles are spread around and can hurt you, the temple pond is also in very bad shape without proper boundary and be careful while moving around it as kids can fall in it.
Some time back I revisited the Old Baobab Tree and clicked some more pictures, to give a better idea of its size. You can check them here.
If you have liked reading the post do share it with your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and Google+. You can subscribe to the email updates to received new posts automatically in your inbox. I promise that I will not sell, rent, or donate your email to spammers.
Some long years back I remember seeing a Baobab tree within Vanasthalipuram colony; bound by a fence and heritage notice( I think). I do not know if it is still there
I have read about the Baobab trees in Vanasthalipuram, including a few in the Vanasthalipuram Park, but have never been there.
I visited the site yesterday and managed to get few pictures. Sad to see the tree’s plight. However there’s a ray of hope.. a small wall is built around the tree’s base, at least someone has tried to protect it.
Thanks for sharing an update, can you please share an image I would love to share it here with readers…thanks
The tree is now behind a high steel wall within the builders compund. The is a 100 ft hole about 50 ft away. However the tree does now have leaves, so must be alive. The temple buildings are completely inaccessible, both being within builders compounds. I hope the plan is to preserve them as part of the new buildings. It is a terrible condition all round that area.
Hey Neil: Thanks for sharing the update…. I wish to visit soon but your post gives some hope…
Great article for a greater cause. Yesterday I visited the place. Builder has included the tree in the construction premises. I was asked to neither photograph nor go near it. I think it deserves more attention.
Oh, it is so sad to know that..greed is killing this living heritage…
I have visited naya qila.but cud nt find germplasm(fruits) of dt tree fr my research. Can you say me whr cud I get fruits,seeds etc
It is right in front of the Old Mosque in the new fort complex Check pics in the post I mention. Fruits come in season, Keep an eye on the trees as they start flowering around April / May types only… http://desitraveler.com/hatiyan-jhad-biggest-baobab-tree-india/
Is this tree still present at nanakramguda? Am phd student n doing research on this tree. Plz do rly me or send me ua contact num or mail id via comment.waiting fr ua rly
It is still there, you can just go to the temple it is outside the boundary..,. you can not miss it.. Also visit the Naya Qila ( near Golf course) in Golconda and you will find the famous Hatiyan Jhaad that has a secret chamber in it, where thieves use to hide.
Can you tell me the exact land mark of this tree? or guide me by google maps….I was following this tree some 13 years back and today I am so happy to know that there are souls in this country who are following my fav tree.Back then I didnt know its name but was awe struck by its elephant like looks and magnificient flowers.Considering all the other trees this is still the best by form,shape size and leaf,….Please contact me if any one is interested to visit the tree with me….first let me know the name of the new construction…..to trace the tree.
I have just created a group to honour my first find Baobab in my life with a name “Baobab @ Nanakram guda, Hyderabad” So as I was writing my comments I just created a group.You can reach the group by following the link below.Its an open group.Please fell to join.
Thank you all…..and my heartful regards to Desi traveller who have written and shared his passion for my dear friend “the Baobab”,……………..!
Dear Dr.Kanumuri: The Baobab is right at the boundary of the Ranganath Swamy temple, once you reach financial district look for the road where Wipro and Amar Raja Battery is located, diagonally opposite to Amar Raja Battery you will see a Dominos Outlet, there next to the wall of the play ground you will find the Baobab. If you are going there please tie some red thread to its stem that will keep the name carvers away from it. I do it every time I go there. Here is the Google map to reach the tree: https://goo.gl/maps/8iiOQ
Very informative article and different from other regular travel items. Thanks for this.
I wish a very long life to this majestic Baobab. Loved going through this post, a wonderful read.
Hi Ruprekha… Thanks for your good wishes for the Baobab, I recently revisited the tree to clcik some more pictures, should post them tomorrow. Please do visit again.
By last picture, I meant picture of the two girls. Kindly excuse me for the typo 🙁
Hi Arti… I have been able to garner some support for the tree, and Mr.Mohan Chandra Pargaien who is a blogger and Forest Officer has shared contact details for DFO Hyderabad with me, I plan to contact him to to see what can be done to save the tree.
Thanks for liking the pictures.
How sad to see such a magnificent tree – our national heritage and treasure in such a poor state. Thank you for sharing the details around it and how it came to be planted. I sincerely hope the people there do something to save it from dying down in this way.
The temple carvings are very beautiful and those ruins look so fascinating to explore. Btw, I loved the last picture – it’s beautiful!
It’s really painful to see that we have become so insensitive about the things and affairs happening just under our nose . I have my own reservations about so called CSR of Corporate groups. Any way even at this stage the majestic tree can be saved from further degradation and damages if following steps are taken.
1. An Iron grill of around 2 meter height is fixed around the tree.(leaving some space ..app. 75 cm from the outer girth of the tree).
2.Stones/tiles are removed around the tree in such a way that at least a circular rim of app 60-75 cm is made available for putting soil and manures and also for watering .
3. The Company or Building owner whose premises this tree is located can be requested to retain this tree and in case of his or her refusal ,DFO Hyderabad may be requested to not to grant tree felling permission to the concerned when they approach for the same to Forest deptt under the WALTA Act.
M C Pargaien
Dear Sir… Thanks for your valuable inputs. Based on my observation the tree is outside the premises of the company which is dumping the construction material. I would be grateful if you can share the contact details of the DFO Hyderabad so that I can proactively approach them. Also will try to mobilize support for building iron grill around the same.
Mr Nagabhushanam DFO Hyderabad
Thanks I have got the number from your email….
Going to be a commercial tree. Kindly go through the link below.
Hi Vincent… thanks for your inputs, yes the fruits of Baobab tree are very nutritious, but they are avaialble only when the tree is alive. All trees have some commercial value for their produce and wood, but it is when they are alive they are priceless 🙂
I work in near by IT company and I have known about this tree for the past 7 years. Not sure how long it is going to stand over there . Real estate sharks are simply waiting for the opportunity.
That is too sad..this tree is older than most monuments in Hyderabad and should be saved.
Wow!. I guessed as much there is more to this tree , thank what I saw!. Hope some It people will take up the issue. I am sending this out soon.
Thanks Pattu Mam, I am also trying to get in touch with Forest department if they can do something about the same.
I went through all the comments DT. A positive sign, that some thing can be done. Appreciate your interest very much. Hope the tree will be around for long.
I also hope so..thanks.