The Nil Mahanel flower was declared the National Flower of Sri Lanka on February 26, 1986. Its botanical name is Nympheae Stellata. This flower is mentioned in many Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit Literary works. The flower which is also referred to as "Kuvalaya", "Indheewara", "Niluppala", "Nilothpala", and "Nilupul" occupies a pre eminent position in Buddhist literature too. It is said the "Nil Mahanel Flower" was among the 108 ceremonial designs found on the footprint of Prince Siddhartha. This proves that it had been a ceremonial flower throughout history. It is believed that the damsels depicted in Sigiriya Frescoes also carry the Nil Mahanel flower in their hands. Traditional poetry known as "Sandesa Kavya" likend women's eyes to the Nil Mahanel flower which has also used as an ear ornament.
The Nil Mahanel plant which grown in shallow waters is found in all parts of the country. The flower which is purplish blue in colour has a heavy concentration of petals in the centre. The Nil Mahanel flower is also considered a symbol of truth, purity abd discipline.
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