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Baobab Tree at Mannar

Mannar, Jaffna and North, Sri Lanka.
Location : Mannar
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Overview

 A trip to Mannar means you see many beautiful and interesting places along the way. The Yodhawewa tank and the bird sanctuary with its many migratory birds, the Thiruketheeswaram Kovil with its tall Vel carts, the old Mannar fort, untouched beaches and the sacred Madhu church.  Another splendor of Mannar is none other than the Baobab Tree. 

Mannar is dotted with the Palmyrah tree and the waving leaves of the coconut tree however the most striking tree of all in Mannar is the Baobab tree. The Baobab tree is said to be the tree with the largest trunk in the island and this tree has leaves only on one side. During certain times of the year the Baobab tree sheds all its leaves making it look like it has been planted upside down with its roots up in the air. The tree is 7.5 meters tall and its girth is 19.5 meters. The history of this tree is said to be over 700 years old. It is thought to have been first brought to Sri Lanka by Arab merchants as Mannar was once known to be a vast centre for trade. The legend is that African slaves who were settled near Sirambiwadiya in Puttalam had brought this tree down from Africa. The tree is famously called by the Sinhalese as “aliya gaha which literally means elephant tree due to its girth and rough bark which resembles an elephant’s hide. The Tamils often refer to it as “Perukka” and the Catholics of Mannar call the baobab tree “Judas Bag” due to the 30 seeds its fruit contains. Monkeys are very fond of its fruit and therefore the tree has also been known to be called the Monkey – bread tree.
This tree is protected in Sri Lanka due to its rarity and antiquity and the trees in Mannar may be the last supporter in the island.  There is a widespread feeling that due to extreme resettlement and the lack of education in conservation these trees might be destroyed like the other baobabs in other areas of the island
 
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