The flower is a favourite of Goddess Durga. In the Ramayana, before His final battle with Ravana, Lord Rama seeked the blessings of Goddess Durga. He came to know that the Goddess would be pleased only if she is worshipped with one hundred Neelkamal or blue waterlilies. After traveling and searching the whole world, He could gather only ninety nine Neelkamal. He then decided to offer one of His eyes, which resembled a blue lily to the Goddess. The Goddess pleased with His devotion appeared and blessed Him.
The dark complexion of Lord Krishna is often compared to that of the Neelkamal.