Banyan Tree is often referred to as the ‘Ashwath Vriksha’. This tree is mentioned in various religious texts as Bargad, Vatavriksh and Barh. Hindus believe that the banyan tree is a 'wish fulfilling divine tree.' In legends and folklores, God Shiva as Dakshinamurthy is depicted sitting in silence under the banyan, with rishis at his feet. This symbolizes an eternal life due to the tree's unending expansion.
Bodhi Tree is an old sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, under which Gautama Buddha, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism had achieved enlightenment. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is identifiable by its heart-shaped leaves. The Peepul Tree or Ashvastha Tree is also a sacred fig tree and a symbol of happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. In Bhagwat Gita, it is mentioned that Lord Krishna had said "among trees, I am Ashvastha".
Coconut Tree is mentioned in mythology as ‘Kalpa Vriksha’. Kalpa Vriksha means a ‘wish-fulfilling tree’ or the tree, which provides all the necessities of life. It is important to note that the three black marks on the coconut shell are believed to be the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Coconut is an important part of all the Hindu rituals. Prior to puja, sthapana with water filled pot, mango leaves and coconut takes place.
The significance of Bael Tree is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. It is believed that Goddess Parvati's perspiration, which fell on the ground while she performed penance, gave birth to the Bael Tree. According to Hindu mythology, various incarnations of Parvati reside in different parts of the Bael Tree.
Ashoka Tree is associated with the myth of Lord Buddha taking birth under it in Lumbini. Lord Mahavira is known to renounce the world under the Ashoka tree in Vaishali. In Ramayana, Ashoka Tree is mentioned as the ‘Ashoka Vatika’, where Hanuman first met goddess Sita.
Bamboo Tree is associated with Lord Krishna. It is known that His 'bansuri' was made up of bamboo.
Plants in Indian Mythology and Folklore
In Indian mythology and folklore, several plants are mentioned that are revered in India and have been given a sacred status. Tulsi Plant is an important mythological plant with a Puranic background. According to myths and legends, goddess Mahalakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu, had once taken the form of Tulsi. Therefore, Tulsi Plant is often seen at numerous Hindu temples, especially those dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. Lotus, a symbol of beauty, purity and divinity acts as the sitting platform of many Hindu deities.