Blessings Between Petals Juanita egan

Vibrant yellow, orange and red flowers flood the roadsides of Jaipur.

Piles of Marigolds are picked from as vendors thread string meticulously through each stem to create ornate garlands.

Stalls are scattered along the streets leading up to the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Window Palace.

Locals stop on their way to the temple to purchase a small handful, carefully wrapped in newspaper to offer to the Gods.

Devendra Singh Rathore is a tour guide at the Bus Singh Rathore company and said the locals rely on these flower vendors for their religious practices.

“The ladies on the roadside [are] selling the flowers… for the temples and the devotees buy those flowers as offerings,” Mr Rathore said.

Locals of the Hindu faith also use the flowers and garlands in the home to decorate shrines,

as well as hanging them on their vehicles for safety and protection.

Not only are the flowers sold as garlands or in bunches, but are harvested for their oil to make perfumes.

For many vendors, this is a family business that has carried on through generations, as is the case for local vendor and owner of the Indian Natural Perfume Centre, Abdul Smad.

“This is my family business, this was my father’s and his father’s,”

“The perfumes are from the natural flowers that are used in the temples,”

“We get the flowers from a local farm one kilometer from here,” Mr Smad said.

As tourists walk through the temples they often buy the garlands as a souvenir but the vendors' businesses flourish off of the local trade Mr Rathore said.

"Tourists [also] find the charm, especially with the local flower marigold,”

“It is considered a blessing because when the hundreds of the people offer the garland flower to the temple, sometimes when it’s in excess then the priest distribute those garlands back to the devotees,” he said.

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