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Photographer's Note

Women and children in a temple waiting for the 'prasad' after being offered to God.

As the kalpavriksha, or the tree that fulfils the desires of mankind, the coconut palm plays a significant role in Indian community life. The coconut or nariyal, is used on all auspicious and religious occasions, be it birth, marriage, buying a new house or car or at the opening ceremony of a new company or firm. It signifies prosperity and is offered in temples as a symbol of the completeness of life.

According to myth, in bygone ages, all the seers used to sacrifice a goat in order to ward off evil forces during their religious rituals. As time passed, this practice of animal sacrifice became obsolete and religious rituals became non-violent. The coconut, called shrifal or the fruit of lustre, replaced the sacrifice and has since become a motif in Indias cultural life. Legend also decrees that the coconut is the primary fruit of the earth. It is likened to the head of Brahma, the creator of the universe.

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Additional Photos by Ashit Parikh (ash_parikh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 0 N: 172] (2266)
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