Thursday, August 22, 2013

KASHMIR AND LOTUS ( PLANT, FLOWER AND SEEDS )


                                                                            

( Lotus Plant cultivation in Dal Lake of kashmir )

                                      ( Lotus Plant cultivation in Nigeen Lake of kashmir )
                                                                           
                                                                               



(  Fresh Lotus seeds being sold On Ashai Bagh bridge near Nigeen Lake in Kashmir )
( Fresh  lotus seeds after removal of the green shell )


                        (  Bundles of Lotus stems ( locally known as Nadroo ) being sold in a shop in kashmir ) 

 Above Photographs by Autar Mota 


The lotus  flower comes from a   fresh water plant ( Botanical Name  Nelumbo Nucifera ) that has been cultivated mainly  in southeast Asia , Mediterranean and also in some latin American countries  since ages.   In  North and north east areas of the country , it is essentially grown in lakes  and ponds . Hindus, Buddhist and Egyptians  consider Lotus  as a sacred flower. The Mahayana sect of Buddhism believes  that all souls come out from a lotus . The Buddhist Mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum" refers to the "jewel in the lotus," which represents illumination or enlightenment . Budhists believe that   this mantra has great spiritual powers.
 In ancient Egypt, spiritual teachings held that the lotus represented the sun, and therefore is directly linked to creation and rebirth. This belief was reinforced    from the way a  lotus flower closes its petals at night and hides under water but   rising again at dawn  and opening its petals  .The ancient Egyptians believed that a lotus flower gave birth to sun.. The blue lotus, especially, is highly revered in Egyptian culture.

Hindus  consider the entire plant including its seeds as sacred as according to the Purāņas, Brahmā ( Creator of the universe ) is self-born in the lotus flower. In India Lotus  is known by various names like, Pundarika, Padma, Kamala, Utpala, etc.

                                                                   

There is a popular  saying in Kashmir “ LEMBI MUNZ PAMPOSH ” with regard to Lotus Flower which means that if one has to be in the  mud ,he must remain   above it and shine like a Lotus flower .Even its leaves were put to use in Kashmir  as saucers for eating food. The lotus stems are eaten as a favorite vegetable in Kashmir locally known as Nadroo.So popular was the lotus in Kashmir that  children were fondly named as PAMPOSH ( lotus in kashmiri ). We had many business houses  with names as Pamposh Traders , Pamposh Hotel, Pamposh Travels , Pamposh Houseboat etc.

Lotus seeds or lotus nuts locally ( in Kashmiri language ) known as PUMM-BUCHH  are abundantly grown in lakes of Kashmir . You come across this stuff  being sold by  footpath vegetable sellers  in and around Dal lake ; Quite frequently on Boulevard   Srinagar and also near Ashai Bagh Bridge , Nigeen lake Srinagar Kashmir   .. I saw this stuff being sold   near  Wular lake or along the footpaths of main Bazaar of Bandipore town which is situated on the  eastern bank  of  this Lake . I also saw PUMM BUCHH being sold near  Manasbal Lake ( Near TulaMula ) in Kashmir.The fresh variety of seeds held inside a green shell  are soft watery  white and sweet to taste . About twenty seeds are generally held on a spongy green bulb . Once exposed to heat and air , the shell of the seeds turns hard and black and the soft white seed   inside  dries up and  changes   its colour to  yellowish  brown   .

In Kashmir these lotus seeds are eaten raw . A good amount of  dried lotus seeds  are  used by  kashmiri Pandits  as Homa  Samagri ( Material for burning in sacred Homa   or Yajna  Agni  ).These seeds are also put to extensive use in North Eastern states of the country  as well. In many Asian countries the seeds are dried and  used in cuisine and medicines .The use of these seeds as medicine is quite popular in china .These seeds are also put to use in some Latin American countries . . I found them being sold in Amritsar on footpaths  just outside Ram Bagh park.

Chinese and Japanese use the paste of lotus  seeds in Bakery products especially in Pastries .It has been now established through  clinical tests that Lotus seeds act as  antioxidants  and are helpful in reducing  inflammation , fighting aging  and  in lowering hypertension. The  practitioners of Chinese system of medicine prescribe the seeds for well being of spleen, kidney and heart as well.

I end this post with some lines that depict grand imagery of kashmiri poet Dina Nath Naadim. A midnight scene has been described by Naadim in an altogether different manner that touches and moves hearts …..

Bijli Baaetti Aaendh Aaendh Maaehh Joraa
Veeegis pyaath Mahaarein Maharaaza
Guldaanus munz Doan Toorien Pyaath
Doan Sorfun hundh Aakaara Huue
Aandhei Aandhei sodraa Sheeshai Naagus
Pamposhus Thhanaa pyomutt Brahma
Bungrien Guvv Chhoinn Chhoin Ainna Aandhier
Me chhu Basaan Raatch Haenz Baah Aassun….

( Dina Nath Naadim )

Two insects dancing around the electric bulb,
Like bride and bridegroom on the marriage Rangoli ( Vyoog),
 Two flowers in the  flower pot
Looking like shadows of two serpents ,
And around these serpents the vastness of sheesh Naag lake ,
As if Brahma is just  born on a lotus flower,
 And Inside the mirror, a scene like the musical tinkling  of bangles

For sure , I believe it is midnight now.

so long so much .....

( Autar Mota 23.08.2013 )
Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

6 comments:

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