Ketki Ka Phool: A Tale of Divinity and Curses

The Ketki Ka Phool, known for its intoxicating fragrance and striking beauty, holds a unique place in the tapestry of Indian mythology. Despite its allure, this flower is shrouded in a tale of deceit and divine retribution that has led to its exclusion from the offerings made to Lord Shiva. In this article, we delve into the story behind the Ketki flower’s curse, its benefits, and the cultural nuances that surround it.

Ketki Ka Phool

The Divine Dispute and the Curse of Lord Shiva

At the dawn of creation, a dispute arose between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma over who was the superior deity. To settle this, they sought the beginning and end of a massive column of light, which was none other than Lord Shiva in disguise. Vishnu, in the form of a boar, sought the base, while Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards to find its top

.After a fruitless search, Vishnu conceded defeat, but Brahma, driven by ego, decided to fabricate his success. On his journey, he encountered the Ketaki flower, which was cursed by the gods, and had been present at the top of the divine column. Brahma convinced Ketki to bear false witness to his discovery.

The omniscient deities saw through the deceit when they presented their claim to Shiva. Enraged by the falsehood, Shiva cursed Brahma to be scarcely worshipped and the Ketki flower to never be used in his worship.

The Mythological Backdrop: Ketki Ka Phool

The story unfolds with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma stumbling upon the radiant Jyotirlinga. Their competitive spirits ignited, they agreed that whoever could find the end of the light would be deemed superior.

Vishnu transformed into a boar and delved into the earth, while Brahma took the form of a swan and soared into the skies. After an arduous search, Vishnu conceded defeat, but Brahma, driven by pride, decided to fabricate his success.

On his journey, Brahma encountered the Ketki flower, which had been resting atop the Jyotirlinga. Seizing the opportunity, Brahma convinced the flower to corroborate his false claim of having reached the pinnacle.

The omniscient deity saw through the deceit when they presented their case before Shiva. In a fit of fury, Shiva cursed Brahma to be scarcely worshipped and the Ketki flower to be forbidden from his worship.

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The Cultural Significance and Variations

The Ketki Ka Phool, with its myriad names like Kewda and Pandanus, is a symbol of cultural richness. It is used in religious ceremonies, weddings, and traditional medicine across India. However, its exclusion from Shiva’s worship remains a stark reminder of its mythological past.

The Fragrant Ketki: Benefits and Uses

Despite its mythological curse, the Ketki flower benefits, known as Kewda, is celebrated for its numerous benefits. It is a perennial shrub that blooms with vibrant red flowers, emitting a fragrance that captivates the senses. The flower and its derivatives, such as Kewra oil and Kewra water, are extensively used in perfumery, culinary arts, and traditional medicine.

Ketki oil is known to treat alopecia and enhance hair luster. It also serves as an effective ear drop and is used in various Ayurvedic preparations to manage diabetes, obesity, and joint pain. The flower extract is a common ingredient in aromatic oils, perfumes, and even in culinary dishes for its distinctive flavor.

Ketki Ka Phool

The Many Names of the Ketaki Flower

The Ketki Ka Phool is known by various names across different regions, reflecting its widespread recognition and use. In Hindi, it is called ‘Kewra, while in Tamil, it is known as ‘Thaazhampoo.’ Its botanical name is ‘Pandanus odorifer,’ and it is also referred to as the ‘Screw Pine‘ in English.

Why the Ketki Ka Phoo is Not Offered to Shiva

The reason the Ketki flower is not offered to Lord Shiva stems from the ancient curse. It serves as a reminder of the consequences of deceit and the importance of truthfulness in Hindu culture. The story emphasizes the virtues of honesty and humility, even in the face of divine tests.


The Ketki flower’s story is a fascinating blend of myth and reality, where divine narratives influence cultural practices. While it may be barred from the rituals dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Ketki flower continues to be revered for its otherworldly fragrance and its myriad benefits to human lives. It stands as a testament to the complex relationship between the divine and the earthly, where even the gods are not immune to the moral laws that govern the cosmos.

Ultimately, the Ketki flower’s tale is a poignant reminder of the eternal values that form the bedrock of Indian spirituality and the intricate ways in which they manifest in the natural world.

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