Tamarind – Tamarindus indica

Sacred to: Krishna

 

Myth 1: There are various popular myths, which explain why the leaves are composed of many leaflets. These include the tale that the leaves were split by arrows shot by Lakshmana, a hero from the Hindu epic Ramayana which dates from about the 4th century BC. This proves that the tree has been known in South Asia for over two millennia

Myth 2: Tamarind is commonly known in north India as imli, and Imli-tala or shade of the imli is sacred to Krishna in mythology. The popular deity is an incarnation of the great god Vishnu, and personifies idealised love together with Radha. It is said that Krishna sat under a tamarind tree when separated from Radha and experienced an intense epiphany with her spirit permeating him.

Myth 3: In Hindu mythology, tamarind is associated with the wedding of the god Krishna which is celebrated by a feast in November.

Myth 4: Legend has it that the tree was cursed by Radhrani. One day when she was walking to meet Krishna, she stepped on the thick bark of a ripe tamarind fruit and it cut her foot. This made her late for her meeting with Lord Krishna. She therefore cursed the tree that its fruits would never ripen. Even today, the fruits of this tree fall down before getting fully ripened.

 

Other Notes: In Sanskrit legend connects it to Usha, the daughter of the goddess Parvati. In honour of Usha, tamarind may be used instead of salt in the month of Chet

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