Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lotus field of Kashmir


Lotus time comes in July, when the great flowers and leaves rise on their slender stalks three or four feet from the surface of the lake. They may be taken as the Hindu sacred flower, much as the rose is the first flower in the eyes of the secular Moslem poets ; and all the world goes out to gaze on the bright pink lotus blooms. To see these flowers in perfection one must start at dawn, before the sun has climbed the mountain crags, and row out towards the Nishat Bagh, where the lake-side gardens are lost in dim blue shadows and the surface of the water is pearly grey and mauve. Then forcing the light shikara through the sweeping freshness of the large leaves until the boat is almost lost among them, wait till the sun wakes the lotus buds of Brahma. As their rose-dyed petal tips disclose the golden heart you will know why AUM, MANI PADME HUM (" Hail, Lord Creator ! the Jewel is in the Lotus ") is the oldest and most sacred prayer in India.

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From C.M. Villiers Stuart's 'Gardens of the Great Mughals' (1913)

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About the image: View of Lotus fields of Dal lake in the month of June. While taking the photograph, I was specifically told by the Shikarawalla, 'Lotus bloom is still a month away.'

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