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What Does 'Jatalo' Mean?

‘Jatalo’ means ‘banyan tree’ in Sanskrit, which is one of the oldest languages of India (and the world). The banyan tree is a unique species of fig trees that possesses distinctive aerial roots, which are roots that spring up from the ground rather than shoot downwards. The tree has enormous significance in Indian culture as a symbol for trade, education, and enlightenment.

It is said that during his spiritual travels, Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under a large banyan tree in India. This tree, named the Bodhi Tree, still stands in Bodh Gaya, which is in northeast India and is frequented by followers and tourists.

In Indian culture, the banyan tree is also called ‘kalpavriksha,’ which translates to ‘wish fulfilling divine tree.’ In ancient times, ‘gurukulams,’ or residential schools, were situated around these trees. Teachers, or gurus, would recite lessons from the base of the banyan tree to disciples, who would sit around the tree’s perimeter.

The banyan tree holds importance in several other cultures as well. In Phillipine mythology, the tree is said to be the home of various spirits. In several Central American cultures, the banyan tree represents nature and animal life.

At Jatalo, we view the banyan tree as a symbol of hope and optimism for children who need support. These children are the seeds of the future but lack proper cultivation to reach their true potential. Like the aerial roots of the banyan, Jatalo’s goal is to enable these kids to emerge from their humble beginnings to achieve their dreams.