Banyan Tree, Bareilly
Artist: Smith, Robert (1787-1873)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of a banyan tree at Bareilly by Robert Smith (1787-1873) in February 1813. This is one of 18 drawings (20 folios) of landscapes and architecture in Uttar Pradesh taken in 1813. Inscribed on the original album cover is: 'No. 5. Ganges, Soane R. Cawnpore Jaunpoor.' Captain Robert Smith was a military engineer with the East India Company and was in India from 1805 to 1833. He designed a number of buildings in India and also repaired various Indian monuments including the Kutb Minar and the Jami Masjid at Delhi. In 1813 to 1814 he was surveying on the Mirzapur South frontier.
Bareilly, in Uttar Prasdesh, was founded in 1537 by the Katehriya Rajputs and in 1657 became the capital of Katehr or Rohilkhand for the Afghan Rohillas. Bareilly was part of Uttar Pradesh which was ceeded to the British in 1801.
The banyan or Indian fig tree is the national tree of India, renowned for the fact that its branches and roots extend and regenerate themselves like new trees over a large area. This characteristic and its longevity has made the tree a focus of sacred beliefs and it is an integral part of the myths and legends of India. Venerable banyan trees, sometimes hundreds of years old, are known to spread over an astonishing acreage.