This blog post is part of the A to Z Challenge. This challenge involves writing a blog post on any topic/theme in the order of the alphabets from A-Z. The blog posts have to be written each day through the entire month of April, excluding Sundays.
My chosen theme is the city of Chennai - sights, sounds, tastes, its happenings, events, and my memories and experiences connected with this place.
This vibrantly hued flower is one of South India's pride and joys. Have seen them in red and the most common, orange coloured varieties. I believe there is a yellow and pink coloured one as well.
These flowers used to be the quintessential hair accessory for South Indian women. Until a couple of decades ago, most Tamilian women sported long braids and wore flowers like Kanakambaram or Mallipoo (Jasmine) in their hair; sometimes a combo of both. These glorious orange bursts were more popular than the fragrant Jasmine, probably due to their striking colour.
Nowadays, most Tamilian girls have very short hairdos, making it impossible to wear flowers in their hair. Moreover, it is not the in thing to do so, as long hair and flowers have a traditional appeal. Saris (traditional Indian costume) and flowers are mostly confined to special occasions such as weddings or festivals.
These flowers are a common sight in the early morning at traditional roadside flower markets. They are sold in bulk and loose and can be strung into garlands for the purpose of pooja (worship) offerings at temples and during festivals. They have strong white stalks that are useful when tying them together in a long garland. These are then sold by length known as 'molam', which is measured by the length of an arm. I have many childhood memories associated with these flowers since the Kanakambaram shrubs were a common sight in most gardens. Then again, there are very few trees and gardens either these days. These flowers are also used in floral decorations.
Haven't seen these flowers in a long time and kinda miss them. Also like the sound of the name, Kanakambaram - especially the way the word rolls off the tongue.
Its English name is Firefracker flower and the latin name is Crossandra infundibuliformis.