Take A Tour Of Tamil Culture And History With These Old Trees Around The State

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Trees are the first inhabitants and many tell interesting stories that connect us to our roots. We found such trees within Tamil Nadu that have helped shape the history of this state. The trees mentioned here have been recognised by the locals and under their protection, have been standing strong to this day.


Named after the Tamil poet, This 500-year-old Neermaruthu tree is one of the oldest in the state. Situated in Esanthimangalam village near Nagercoil, the bark of this tree is used in medicinal remedies, including those for the heart and skin, by the locals of the region. They have nicknamed the tree Arjuna, after the sacred figure who protects.

Matrimandir Banyan Tree

Over fifty years ago, when ‘The Mother’ of Auroville had chosen the land she wanted to build her township on, the only tree standing on that piece of barren land was a banyan tree. The age of the tree was estimated to be over a hundred years old and she designed the entire town around this tree. The famous banyan tree sits at the center and gives shade to devotees and visitors alike, even to this day. Many tie ribbons or pieces of cloth to the tree and make a wish.

Ancient Ashoka Tree In Tharangambadi

Just 15 kms away from Karaikal, This Ashoka tree sits in a former (and one of the first) Dutch settlement, then called Tranquebar. Now a small town and a plush tourist destination, Tharangambadi (it’s current name) is famous for its fort and museum which display old Dutch artifacts that were carried to our country. The Ashoka tree is said to have been planted by the first Dutch settlers here and it still stands to this day, very close to the fort.

Le Grande Semals

These are two large semal trees you’ll find in the Botanical garden in Pondicherry called the Jardin Botanique. They have been dated back over 250 years and now stand as a memory of the French colony that had settled there. 

Tamarind Tree, Vivekananda Ashram

At the Vivekananda Ashram in Kanyakumari, you’ll find a large forest grove that has been conserved and protected by the residents of the ashram in memory of Swami Vivekananda, as he was a pioneer in conserving forests and spreading awareness about the same. This tamarind tree, very close to the Aashram, was planted by his devotees over a hundred years ago and is now part of the grove. 

Longwood Giant Celtis

In the Kotagiri district, near Ooty, lies an ancient ‘Shola’ forest which houses these giant Longwood Celtis trees. A shola forest is a small patch of forest that takes root across valleys in the mountainside. This forest is one of the largest of its kind in the country. It is also home to many rainforest species so keep an eye out!

Cypress tree, Ooty

The Californian cypress in the Ooty botanical garden is one of it’s kind in the country and can otherwise only be found along the Californian coast. Said to have been planted by wayfaring travellers over 200 years ago, this tree is now massive and the center of attraction at the botanical garden. 

Shola Forests Of Kodaikanal

We found another patch of Shola forests at the foothills of Kodaikanal. This small rainforest is home to two local tribes of which the Jenukurubas are the primary occupants. They worship this forest and source all their necessities from here. They speak of the same forest in the legends and have built mythological stories around it too. The Jenukurubas residing amidst the ancient forest are considered holy and closest to god, amongst their kind.

If you are looking for me, I'm probably under a tree looking out onto the mountains.