Plants with Religious Meaning Which has Great Importance in Many Rituals
1. Bael: Bael is used in the ritual rites of Hindus. Bael is considered one of the sacred trees of Hindus. Earliest evidence of religious importance of bael appears in Shri Shuktam of Rig Veda which reveres this plant as the residence of goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. Bael trees are considered an incarnation of goddess Sati. Bael trees can be usually seen near the Hindu temples and their home gardens. It is believed that Hindu deity Lord Shiva is fond of bael trees and its leaves and fruit still play a main role in his worship, because the leaf's triple shape symbolises his trident.
2. Peepal: The Peepal tree is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, "I am the Peepal tree among the trees, Narada among the Deva Rishi (Divine sages), Bhrigu among the Saptha-Maharishis, Chitraratha among the Gandharvas, And sage Kapila among the Siddhas.
3. Lotus: lotus that has historical cultural and spiritual significance. It is a sacred flower in both Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the path to spiritual awakening and enlightenment. It was also an important symbol in ancient Egypt, where it represented the path from death to rebirth to the afterlife. In Asian art a lotus throne is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian art, it followed Indian religions to East Asia in particular.
4. Tulsi: Tulsi is a sacred plant for Hindus, particularly the Vaishnavite sect. It is worshipped as the avatar of Lakshmi, and may be planted in front yards of Hindu houses or Hanuman temples. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartik includes the worship of the tulsi plant.Vaishnavas followers of Vishnu are known as "those who bear the tulsi around the neck". Tulsi Vivah is a ceremonial festival performed between Prabodhini Ekadashi (the 11th or 12th lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik) and Kartik Pournima.
6. Neem: The Neem tree is one of the most important religious plants located in the northern part of the subcontinent. The word "Nim" means to grow or multiply. It is also known as the Margosa tree in Sanskrit. In Hindu scriptures, neem is mentioned as a sacred plant and as a source of effective herbal medicine for a variety of ailments. In the modern world, neem has been further validated as a practical treatment for a multitude of ailments. From being used as traditional pest control to topical treatment for acne and dandruff, neem's uses have been proven through time and confirmed today.
7. Kadamb: Kadamba is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. In North India, it is associated with Krishna while in the south it is known as "Parvati’s tree". Radha and Krishna are supposed to have conducted their love play in the hospitable and sweet-scented shade of the kadamba tree. In the Sangam period of Tamil Nadu, Murugan of Tirupparankundram Hill of Madurai was referred to as a centre of nature worship. He was in the form of a spear under a kadamba tree.
8. Banyan: In Hinduism, it is a symbol of continuity, ancient wisdom and longevity. In Jainism it symbolizes purity. In ancient Buddhism to the banyan was sacred and highly revered. The oldest banyan tree still surviving is at Gobardhan in Jaipur, Rajasthan, with a canopy spread over more than 50 acres the present one is the descendant of a banyan planted by Adi Sankara nearly 1000 years ago. Banyan is a religious plant in Indian culture, most commonly worshipped in North India.