Aishwarya Rai And The Lotus Flower: Symbols Of India

by : Wesley Berry, AAF

Aishwarya Rai is one of the latest beauties to come out of India. She burst into the spotlight twelve years ago when she competed in the 1994 Miss World pageant as a representative of India. After winning the pageant, she went on to become a very successful model and actress who has been dubbed "The Queen of Bollywood." But, Rai isn't the only beauty to come out of India; the gorgeous and exotic lotus flower is an ancient flower so revered in India that it was named their national flower.

The lotus flower has been given a sacred place in Indian culture. It plays a huge role in the art and mythology there and has done so for centuries. In Indian society, the lotus represents divinity, fertility, wealth, knowledge, and enlightenment. Perhaps the reverence of the flower stems from the fact that is an unquestionable beauty despite the fact that it grows out of murky waters and mud. Because of its ability to grow in the water, the lotus is often referred to as the water lily.

Though they have an exotic look, lotuses are actually fairly simple to grow. However, first time lotus gardeners should be aware that the lotus is a very invasive plant that can take over your entire water garden if not tended to carefully. Also, you'll notice that lotus plants may not bloom during their first year-don't be discouraged, the plants will almost surely blossom in the second year. As you watch your lotus plants grow and blossom, watch for yellowing foliage and faded blooms; you'll want to remove them to allow other leaves and blossoms to grow healthy and strong.

Lotuses come in a variety of types that include small plants with one-inch blossoms and larger ones with blossoms as big as your face. Lotus colors include red, yellow, white, peach, violet, and cream.

The lotus plant loves the heat-the hotter the better! In fact, the hotter it is at night, the bigger the flowers will be. During the winter you'll need to make certain the lotus tuber doesn't freeze or it will die. If you're growing them in your garden pond, the pond will need to be at least three feet deep so that it doesn't freeze solid, which will jeopardize the tubers. If you're growing them in pots, bring the pots inside for the winter.

With proper care, your lotus flowers will grow to exotic and fragrant flowers worthy of their status in India. They're exquisite beauty will rival that of fellow Indian Aishwarya Rai.