The Indian culture is unique. It is deeply rooted in worshiping of nature.
Nature manifest itself in various forms in the daily lives of people.
The worshipping of flora adds zests, vibrancy and colour to the Indian life and civilization.
Since the earliest phase of human civilization on the banks of river Sindhu, nature worship has been an inseparable part of the human lives.
The worship of tree has also been a part of Indian cultural tradition.
It can be observed that, the trees have been made part of religious discourses.
For instance, Tulsi has been part of Indian mythology and Tulsi is highly revered tree in India.
Almost every household aspires to keep a Tulsi sapling.
In Odisha, Tulsi chaunra [plant pedestal in the courtyard of house wherein Tulsi sapling is planted ] is an essential feature.
After taking bath members of household pour water to the Tulsi Chaunra everyday and bow before it.
It is pertinent to mention here that, every evening the women members of household light the earthen lamp before the Tulsi plant.
The Yogis also put on beads of Tulsi to purify soul, body and mind.
The other tree which is worshipped is Amla. There is a specific socio-cultural-religious significance attached to Amla tree.
Amla tree is worshipped on Amla Navamee.
Day which is considered to be one of the most auspicious day.
Married women puts bangels on te branches of Amla tree.
Savitree Amabasya another most auspicious and sacred religious festival in India. Married women worship the Sun God for a long life of their husbands.
They worship the Peeppal tree on Savitree Amabasya .
Naveen Patnaik’s book critically analyses the close relationship between worship of flora and Indian culture.
He argues that over the period of time the common Indian lives have been enriched with the understanding of relevance of flora in sustaining the life.
The scientific understanding has been made to be part of daily life and culture also.
The Indian way of life attaches significance to the healthy life.
Haldee happens to be the most important ingredient in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes in India.
It has got medicinal value and quick healing properties also.
There is a festival dedicated to the first born child in Odisha.
A special sweet dish is prepared known as Enduree Pitha on that day.
It is boiled pancake prepared with rice powder stuffed with sweet elements and most importantly wrapped with Haldee leafs.
This is a superb example of mingling of religious ideas, celebration of life and healthy cuisine.
The other notable tradition attached to Haldee has been the marriage festival.
Before the marriage, both groom and bride-groom get immersed with Haldee over their entire body as a healthy tradition of
disinfecting them before marriage and safe life after the marriage.
Nuakhai happens to be a widely celebrated festival in Odisha.
It is celebrated much before the harvest as a mark of thanks and gratitude to the mother earth. It is the celebration of new crop.
People worship the land, the ruling deity etc and then receive the new grain with high reverence.
The close relationship between nature and cultural activities can be seen various festivals.
Naveen Patnaik as a celebrated author has keenly observed and rightly said that both culture and worship of nature and specially flora are intrinsically related each other.
Their intrinsic relationship has enriched the Indian cultural fabric since time immemorial.
The description provided by author Naveen Patnaik in his book ‘ The Garden of Life’ on another revered tree Bel is certainly praiseworthy. Bel leaves are offered to Lord Shiva.
The twig containing three and five leaves are specially procured by the devotees to offer at the temples of Lord Shiva.
The leaves of Bel are used to heal constipation along with its fruit.
A concoction prepared with Bel fruit along with jiggery, coconut is known as pana is offered to everyone on the occasion of Visuba Sankranti which happens to be the Odia new year.
Credit goes to author Naveen Patnaik as he captures the patterns of worship of flora in folklore also.
In many tribal societies, the plants of tress like Mahul, Sal & Bahada are planted in the centre of the courtyard of the groom and bridegroom.
The traditional worship and marriage related rituals are performed around the plants.
Dalkhai happens to be a local deity who is worshipped in folk traditions in western Odisha.
The term Dal means twig and there are many popular folk songs like Dalkhai which narrates the glory of Goddess Dalkhai and solicit Her Blessings.
In Indian culture and tradition a sacred tree named Parijaat is highly revered.
Parijaat is found in Uttar Pradesh and is associated with ancient literary work like Mahabharat.
It is believed that Parijaat is born out of Kuntee’s ashes and Lord Krushna brought the plant to earth from heaven.
Author Naveen Patnaik’s creative writing ‘ The Garden of Life’ is certainly a classic on Indian culture and pantheism.