Lotus

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is aquatic perennial plant whose roots are in the bottom of pond or river. It is also known as Indian Lotus, Bean of India or Sacred Lotus. It has leaves floating on the water surface. Its beautiful flower is on a thick stem few centimetres above leaves.

Lotus
Lotus

Ancient Egyptians believed that their goddess Isis was born from a lotus flower. They used to put lotus flower on hands of their deceased. This flower was the symbol of new life for dead souls.

Lotus exists in Hinduism and Buddhism. When Buddha walked on Earth he left lotus flowers instead of footprints. According to Hinduism the god Brahma appeared from lotus which was the nevel or centre of the whole universe. The goddess Lakshmi is often depicted holding some lotus plants and standing on one. The goddess Padma appears in both religions. Lotus is her symbol. In Asian mythology lotus is the symbol of fertility, birth and rebirth.

Many people will maybe found unusual that lotus is often used in Asian cuisine. For example, Korean herbal tea Yeonkkotcha is made with dried petals of white lotus. In Vietnam people use lotus petals in their salads. The plant rhizomes ("roots") are used in herbal medicine too. At the Inle Lake, Myanmar there is a firm who uses lotus plant fibres to make special cloth. This cloth is used in decoration of Buddha's images.