Posted on: 9 May 2013

Banyan tree, or Indian fig tree, with Hindu shrine at Gaya, Bihar. India
Coloured Aquatint 1796 By: Thomas Daniell
Printed: Published as the act directs for Tho[ma]s Daniell by Rob[er]t Bowyer,[London] (Historic Gallery Pall Mall) :
May 1796

Credit: Wellcome Library, London

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A still young tree then. Wonder if it still stands and what it looks like today!

Have a look, please:

This seems to be the Bodhi tree

This Daniells work is circa 1796. The english re-discovery of Bodhgaya ( Edwin Arnold, Alexander Cunningham, Buchanan etc) is around 1886. In Gaya & in other places across Bihar ( from "Vihara" or Buddhist shrine), many temples/shrines/viharas existed in close proximity to banyan & peepul trees. Did the Daniells get to the right spot , based on local feedback ( the spot was known to many locals & to burmese travellers all along - see - ? The iconography in this daniells aquatint should tell us the story . Sometimes artists can find answers/solutions more easily than scientists/archaeologists. May be we should read Daniell's "Oriental Scenery" as seriously as Edwin Arnold's "In the light of asia" ...

Bodhi Briksh of Gaya