Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lotus Flowers in Hanoi

Lotus flowers, although nurtured in mud, have been cherished as a rare species of flower by the Vietnamese people. From time immemorial, they have widely grown nationwide.

Hanoi also has many precious lotus varieties, especially those from the West Lake area. Some parts of lotus flowers are used as medications or to scent tea, making it a tonic drink for a healthy physical and metal life.  To extract lotus essence is really an art and it can be said that nothing is more romantic and purer than "catching" the lotus fragrance.

In early morning, when everything is just waking, so pure and anew, it's time to pick lotus flowers from the lake. Over one night sleeping amid the natural environment with cool dews and fresh wind, the fragile petals seem to hold the whole pure essence of the earth. Soon after, the petals are separated, showing the stamen.
Around the stamen there are bright yellow filements, at the ends of which are little white anthers which provide the special alluring fragrance of this species of flower. Under gentle and skilful hands, the anthers are separated and used to extract a special perfume and scent the tea, turning out a special product, i.e. lotus scented tea. It is hard to find another flower with a fragrance that is more attracting than that of lotus.

Beautiful and charming lotus petals.

Lotus flowers from the West Lake area in Hanoi are famous for their fragrance.

Getting the anthers to scent tea.

A Hanoi girl in a lotus lake.

Lotus flowers in bloom.

Lotus receptacle. The seeds used to make sweeten porridge are good for health.

Lotus capel.

Faded lotus leaves still have unique beauty, like a painting.

Lotus flowers from the West Lake area are special varieties
which grow well and provide fragrance to scent tea.

A lot of secrets about the Vietnamese people's good health and beauty can be related to lotus flowers. In the old days in the royal palaces, the king's beloved concubines were often presented with a lotus bath. After one night, the morning dew that lingered on the lotus leaves was carefully collected as water for the bath. Lotus flowers are not only a luring bouquet, but also have a direct effect to man's nervous system.

Many doctors said that a small cup of tea made from lotus sprouts (green sprouts lying in the centre of the lotus seed) would be a super effective tranquillizer.  It's really hard to fully evaluate the pure beauty of lotus flower, which has become so familiar with many Vietnamese people. Wherever they might go, when seeing lotus flowers, they think of their native homeland and memories about this special flower return to their mind. A symbol of culture, spirit and elegant personality of the Vietnamese, the lotus flower is really worthy of that.
Story: An Na  Photos: An Thanh Hai

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