When the Kesharwanis decided to expand their family home, they found a way to preserve an old giant fig tree in their garden. Rather than shoot it down, they built around the trees.
Today, the thick trunk of the 150-year-old tree is the centerpiece of their home. Its branches and leaves come out through the roof and the windows.
“We are nature lovers and my father insisted we keep the trees,” said Yogesh Kesharwani, whose parents built the house in 1994 with the help of a friend that is an engineer. The tree is about 150 years old. We knew it was easy to cut down a tree but difficult to grow a tree like this,” he told AFP.
The fig tree, known as pipal in Hindi, is considered sacred in India and killing it is seen as a bad omen. “We believe that 350 million gods and goddesses reside in a single fig tree. The tree is also mentioned in the Gita, a Hindu religious text,” says Kesharwani.
His wife can pray without even having to leave the house, sitting in front of the tree in the morning. According to him, their decision to build around the trees are a message that man can cohabit with nature. The four-storey building is a local landmark because of its unique facade. Located in the heart of the city of Jabalpur, it attracts the curious gaze of the passer-by.
“When the house was built for the first time, engineering students would come here to try to understand the unique design of the house,” said Kesharwani. The tree has never caused practical problems for the family. “We do not even realize that the tree exists because it does not bother us. He stands right there, silent,” says Yogesh Kesharwani.