The Ceremonial One

Plated: Saffron glazed Marigold petals, Dark chocolate cottage cheese, with mint puree.

If you have ever visited Dadar flower market in Mumbai in early hours of the day you must have seen all these vendors with their vibrant flowers. Everyday fresh flowers are sold at this market and its a sight to watch, colours and fragrance all around. What catches my eye is this very simple and ordinary flower that we have been using for a long time now.

Marigold: A simple looking flower but auspicious in religions and cultures around the world. In Hinduism, marigold or as they call it Genda is used for almost every ceremonial occasion. It’s said that the word Genda possibly comes from the ‘Gonda’, the tribe in Chhatisgarh where the flower is cultivated in abundance.

Marigold is a very hardy flower & has a erect stalk (hence the scientific name of ‘erecta’) – in fact, the Sanskrit name for marigold is Sthulapushpa which signifies this. It symbolizes a trust in the divine and a will to overcome obstacles. Therefore its widely used during Dushherra- a day of victory over evil. In villages & in few city houses, shops one can see it at entry point used as Toran. In Sanskrit, Toran means gateway. The flower has piercing fragrance for insects and it keeps them away, one more reason to offer the flower to Gods.

The purpose behind curating this savoury dish is a reminder of the uses of marigolds, beyond just Dussehra and Diwali decoration.

History fact: Marigold are originally from Mexico and has been part of Indian cultures for just over 350 years now. We were introduced to the flower by Portuguese.

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