In Hinduism, flowers constitute an important offering made to the deities. Flowers are used while doing puja at home, temples and at sacred places. In fact, rarely do we come across a puja in Hindu religion without flowers. The idol or image of the deity in temple and home is decorated with garlands of flowers and leaves. Flowers are also placed at the feet of deity and the idol is also showered with flowers.
Details about the types of flowers that can be used for puja and the method in which they are to be used in puja and rituals are mentioned in the scriptures. Some flowers are associated by a particular deity; while a particular flower is never used due to a curse etc.
Generally, flowers with strong odor are not used. Similarly, flowers without fragrance are also not used. Flowers that are not fully blossomed are not used. Mutilated and flowers eaten by insects are avoided. Flowers grown in a garden is considered apt for puja. Flowers collected from forest are also used.
Flowers used in a Hindu puja are classified into Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The classification is based on their color, fragrance, shape and origin. Sattva and Rajas flowers are used in daily worship. Tamas flowers are avoided and some are used during festivals.
Flowers like Arka, Nandyavartham, drona, white lotus, jasmine, coral tree flowers etc are considered as Sattva flowers. The Rajas flowers include Red lotus, trumpet flowers, white thorn apple flowers etc. The Tamas flowers include ketaki, China rose, cotton plant, Kasa grass etc.