The Lotus: An Exquisite Flower and Symbol of Faith

Pink Lotus

There are few flowers more stunning than a lotus in full bloom. And while there are many gorgeous flowers, none have taken on the symbolic significance of the lotus.

The lotus thrives in muddy water. The bud rises from the muck, opens to expose an exquisite bloom, drinks in the sun, and then closes to return to the dirty water at day’s end. The following day, it rises again, perfect and clean. Because of this lifecycle, it’s long been associated with purity, divinity, and rebirth.

Lotus bud

The lotus grows in abundance in Asia, where both the Buddhists and Hindus recognize it as an important earthly symbol of desirable transcendent qualities. Also, lotus flowers growing on the Nile River were revered by the ancient Egyptians. All these cultures use it in their religious art and architecture.


In Buddhism, it’s a sign of purity of speech, body, and mind. It’s also a metaphor for a person’s path in life. We start as seeds in the mud, and with religious zeal, we emerge from the dirty water leaving attachment behind. When a person “blooms,” and is fully awakened, Nirvana is reached.

Gilded Lotus

The Hindu Faith assigns it a more complex role, but primarily it represents the concepts of creation and awakening.

Luxor Temple Lotus Columns

Because the lotus closes at night, sinks underwater, and re-emerges to bloom the following day, the ancient Egyptians saw it as a natural symbol of the sun and creation.

Flowers and flower symbolism have been a part of cultures since antiquity. The lotus can be just a lovely flower, but for many, it’s a sign of faith.

Happy Trails,

Pink Lotus in pond

Images: 2, 5.


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

37 thoughts

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. We traveled for a month in Java, and I remember all the beautiful flowers, particularly the lotus. It’s nice that you can grow them in a pot at your home. ~James

      1. We were in Java on our first RTW, which was 10 years ago. We traveled by train the length of the island with lots of interesting stop along the way. ~James

  1. FASCINATING! And inspirational. I’m so glad these magnificent RTW;s are being done by people who really notice and appreciate every little detail.

    1. Thanks Louise. As you and Tom are no doubt beginning to learn, being a traveler instead of a tourist provides the luxury of time to take in the details. We always have a few things on our “Must See” checklist, but we also take lots of unplanned rambles to see what pops up. Sometimes the unexpected things steal the show. ~James

    1. Thanks for your comment Liz, and for dropping by the blog. I’m sure that the only lotus flowers you see in Sweden are in a greenhouse, but I’m sure that makes them all the more welcome to see. ~James

    1. Thanks for the link Denise. I read your interesting post on lotus symbolism. You provide lots of additional information on the lotus and Buddhism that I’m sure our readers will find interesting. ~James

    1. Thanks for dropping by the blog, and for the comment. I was really lucky on a couple of these shots. Normally, the best lilies seem to be too far from the edge of the pool. ~James

  2. Thanks for sharing not only these beautiful pictures but also the symbolism. When we traveled through Nepal, we were told that the curved yellow strokes atop the white stupas were symbols of the lotus flower. Makes sense now that I read your post.

    1. Thanks Curt. I didn’t know this lily, but after checking it out online, they are very similar. We don’t have lilies on the island (salt tolerance??), but farther south in FL, there are tons of them. In fact, in the lake district of central Florida, they are so numerous that they clog up the small fresh-water lakes. ~James

    1. Thanks Amy. I particularly like the photo with the grasshopper. Luckily, the bloom was located close to the edge of the pool, and the grasshopper was just a bonus. Good karma I guess. ~James

    1. Thanks Cathy. After reading the life cycle of the lotus, it’s obvious that it could be symbolic of lots of things in life. But, it seems that the daily cycle and the rise from the muck is the most important. ~James

    1. Thanks Pam, I was lucky to catch this lotus at its peak. This bloom was in a pool in front a Buddhist temple in Ubud, Bali, and I must admit that I’m partial this photo as well. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Jennifer and for dropping by the blog. I agree that the life cycle of the lotus does make an interesting story, and it’s amazing that such a beautiful flower goes through this cycle each day.

    1. Thanks LuAnn. I love lotus flowers as well. With their beautiful colors, they’re always such a wonderful contrast to their surroundings. And if you can get close enough (without going wading), they’re very photogenic. ~James

  3. Hi James-Terri, It is very impressive for this post about lotus. Can I share, In school, my teacher used to teach to be grow up like lotus above the water. Not be a lotus stay under water with muddy is mean not bright or smart thinking on Buddhist way. Besides Lotus flower can bring to temple, We can do Thai cooking from roots, stem make a good curry, petal leaves can eat, the seed can eat fresh. thank you for a nice story. / Luksana

    1. Thanks Luksana, for your charming comment and story. It’s great to hear a story from someone for which the the lotus has a personal meaning. Also, I had no idea that most of the plant was edible. I’m sure that our readers will be happy to read your story, and it certainly adds some authenticity to our post. How are the preparations going for the big journey? ~James

    1. Thanks Sam. Lotus flowers are some of my favorites. I see that you’re an avid gardener. Do you know how difficult it is to grow Lotus flowers at home, and are they cold tolerant? ~James

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