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Rice


Botanical Name Oryza sativa
Common NameRice, Chaval (Hindi), Nellu / Arisi (Tamil), Vrihi / Dhanya (Sanskrit)

Distribution

Cultivated throughout India

Religious association

Hindus associate rice grains with Goddess Annapoorni and also Goddess Lakshmi. It is referred to as Deva Dhanya and is believed to be a symbol of prosperity. From ancient times, Dhanya Lakshmi is often depicted holding a few sheaves of paddy in her hand.

There are numerous festivals connected with the sowing, planting and harvesting of rice. Major harvest festivals include Pongal in Tamilnadu, Onam in Kerala and Hutri in Coorg.

Akshata (rice mixed with turmeric) forms part of many religious rites and rituals. It is even offered to deities along with flowers.

Uses

Rice is the staple food for a large part of India. Rice straw is used for animal feeding. It can also be made into paper and board pulp. Bran oil is used for cooking and is also used in textile and leather industries as a finisher.

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