Indian fig tree, Ficus bengalensis, whose branches root themselves like new trees over a large area. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches. Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India. Even today, the banyan tree is the focal point of village life and the village council meets under the shade of this tree.
The Ganga or Ganges is the longest river of India flowing over 2,510 kms of mountains, valleys and plains. It originates in the snowfields of the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas as the Bhagirathi River. It is later joined by other rivers such as the Alaknanda, Yamuna, Son, Gumti, Kosi and Ghagra. The Ganga river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated areas of the world and covers an area of 1,000,000 sq. kms. There are two dams on the river – one at Haridwar and the other at Farakka. The Ganges River Dolphin is an endangered animal that specifically habitats this river.The Ganga is revered by Hindus as the most sacred river on earth. Key religious ceremonies are held on the banks of the river at cities such as Varanasi, Haridwar and Allahabad. The Ganga widens out into the Ganges Delta in the Sunderbans swamp of Bangladesh, before it ends its journey by emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris is a striped animal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India. Out of eight races of the species known, the Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region and also in the neighbouring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. To check the dwindling population of tigers in India, \’Project Tiger\’ was launched in April 1973. So far, 27 tiger reserves have been established in the country under this project, covering an area of 37,761 sq km.