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India’s Great Banyan Tree Is Its Own Forest

If you were to see the Great Banyan Tree in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden from a distance, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a forest. Spanning more than 14,493 square meters, the tree is the widest in the world—so large that it covers more ground than the average Wal-Mart.

No one is quite sure exactly how old the Great Banyan Tree is due to a lack of official records, but experts estimate that the tree is at least 250 years old; the earliest references to the tree have been found in travel writing dating all the way back to the 19th century. Over the years, the tree has been through a lot. Not only has it survived 2 major cyclones in 1864 and 1867, but its main trunk was also infected with a deadly fungus. This infection meant that the main trunk of the tree needed to be removed in 1925.

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The African Village Where Crocodiles and Humans Live Side by Side in Peace

In cultures all across the globe, animals are revered, and even worshipped. In Hinduism, for example, cows are valued for their gentle nature. But not every sacred animal is quite so harmless; crocodiles were worshipped in Ancient Egypt, as they were believed to be living representations of the god Sobek. You may be surprised to learn that the deification of crocodiles is far from ancient history.

In Burkina Faso, just 30 kilometers away from the capital of Ouagadougou, there is a small village of Bazoule, where its people — descendents of Mossis warriors — have chosen the Crocodylus suchus as its totem. Although Bazoule is located in a landlocked country, it does have its own pond, where 150 of these unusually docile creatures reside. Despite the fearsome reputation of crocodiles, the villagers have no problem living alongside them. In fact, the Mossi boldly approach the crocodiles to play; they even sit on and lie next to them.

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Snow-White Beach in Australia Is Made Up of Billions of Cockle Shells

Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage Area is home to Shell Beach, one of only two places around the world where beach sand is completely replaced by sea shells.

Imagine billions of white cockle shells stretching out as far as the eye can see, and you get a pretty good idea of how amazing Shell Beach looks. Located on the western edge of the Australian continent, this unique tourist attraction stretches for a whopping 70 km, which makes it look like an endless sea of shells meeting the ocean. And if you’re thinking that the shells only make up a superficial layer, we’ll have you know that in some places, they reach 10 meters deep.

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Hallerbos – The Blue Forest of Belgium

Most times of the year, Hallerbos is a beautiful but unremarkable forest in central Belgium, near Brussels. However, in mid-April and all through May, it turns into the Blue Forest, a fairytale-like natural attraction unlike any other.

The Blue Forest of Belgium gets its intriguing name from the vibrant carpet of bluebells that replaces the usual brown floor of the forest. Imagine millions of flowers covering the ground as far as the eye can see and you can get a pretty good idea of what this place is like in full-bloom. Bluebell forests are not unusual in Europe, but what makes Hallerbos unique is the density of the flowers that make its floor look like a living carpet.

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This Chilean Sanctuary Gives Rescued Farm Animals the Love and Affection They Deserve

If there is such a place as heaven for farm animals, it must be a lot like Santuario Igualdad Interspecies, an incredible sanctuary for domestic animals destined for slaughter or left for dead. Here, not only do they get to live in perfect peace and harmony, but they receive all the love and affection they deserve.

A couple of days ago, I cam across this incredible video of a man cuddling with a grown cow. The animal seemed to be enjoying the human affection immensely, and responded by gently laying its head on the man’s chest and closing its eyes in delight as he petted and kissed its neck. It was very touching, and I decided that I had to learn more about it. I soon discovered an entire YouTube channel full of similar videos of two people affectionately interacting with various farm animals, like pigs, goats or ducks. They were shot at Santuario Igualdad Interspecie, a small animal sanctuary, in Chile, where tending to the emotional needs of rescued farm animals is of the utmost importance.

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The World’s Most Amazing Five-a-Side Football Field

This photo of a five-a-side football field surrounded by lush greenery in the jungle of Sabah, Malaysia, has been doing the rounds on the internet for the last few days. And for good reason, as it looks like a place that can only exist in someone’s fantasy.

The picture was captured by a teacher at the Longongon National School, in Nabawan, Malaysia, using a Mavic Pro drone. It shows the unreal-looking pitch located on a greenery-covered hillside, with thick vines seemingly encroaching on the playing field. Allowing the thick layer of living plants to completely take over the fencing around the pitch was apparently by design, as this helps cool the players during hot summer days and provides much-needed fresh air.

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