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The Sweet Scent of Gratitude – Watercolor Leaf Art (Maulsari – the Sacred Garland Tree)

gratitude leaf art journaling

Day 19 – It was Raksha Bandhan and I spent a lovely day with my family. When I came back home in the evening, I was feeling a little rushed because I had no idea what leaf I would work on let on what the art might look like. I had a few leaves from previous nature walks but identifying them had been a challenge. So, as soon as I stepped into home, I changed into casual clothes (for Raksha Bandhan I wore this festive Salwar suit and some light jewelry – it makes my family and specially mom really happy! wink!) and stepped out for a walk among the trees.

And after much hunting and closely observing each and every tree, I thought I was close to identifying the Maulsari tree and brought home some leaves. Clicking at that hour was a pain for the light conditions were so bad – it had rained, was late evening…

Turned out it was infact the Maulsari – a guy I met on my way home cleared my doubt. And the field guide back home confirmed too. Plus, I found some very heart-warming and interesting information about the Maulsari, which you’d like to read. :-) So, check out the rest of the post and this leaf art that I finished just before midnight! Phew! It was pretty rushed, yes! But, am happy with the idea and the message I want to send to myself.

Perfection? hmm…am really not keen on collaborating with that notorious split-slide of myself. ;-)

Grateful for Life, Family, Love, Relationships, Festivals, Moments

So, although I was feeling a little pressured for lack of time, my heart was brimming with happiness for the time I spent with my family on this beautiful brother-sister festival. I was (am) indeed grateful for these amazing people in my life and my relationship with them. Watching Pari and Sarah (my niece) play with each other is a joy.

Raksha Bandhan Mommy Labs

I wanted to capture that feeling of gratitude in my heart and the Maulsari (Indian Medlar) totally supported this intention.

Gratitude Raksha Bandhan Leaf Art

The Maulsari or the Indian Medlar

Maulsari Indian medlar

I was amazed to know that the flowers of the Maulsari tree are used to make ittar/attar (perfume extracted from essential oil of the flower) for their wonderfully sweet and intoxicating fragrance. Not only this, it’s the Maulsari flowers that many Indian women in the southern part of the country wear in their hair. Maulsari is also used to make garlands to offer in front of Gods. So, the tree is called the ‘Sacred Garland Tree’.

These poetic lines below were composed by ‘Bhavabhuti‘ – the 8th century A.D. Indian Scholar, noted for his play and poetry written in Sanskrit. He wrote these in his play – Malatimadhava. (According to the renowned sanskritist Daniel H.H. Ingalls, the Malatimadhava is a work that combines love and horror with a felicity never again equaled in sanskrit literature.

“I was in the courtyard beneath a young bakula (Maulsari) tree so heavy with clusters of buds that bees swarmed thickly around its wine sweet perfume and the fallen flowers were in such great heaps I began to amuse myself weaving these into an intricate garland.”

Good reads:

Maulsari Leaves – According to Trees of Delhi – are 5-15 cm long, smooth, glossy above, matte beneath. The midrib often forms a deep valley, and the edges of the leaf are conspicuously way. The secondary veins are very faint.

Maulsari Indian Medlar leaf art

I’ve given just a hint of colour in this art due to lack of time. I thought it was better with that little bit colour than no colour at all. I might fill in more paint in this after the 30-day Leaf Art challenge is over. But, for the day, this was what I could pull off.

And here’s the Day 18 Leaf Art – A Dreamcatcher with Neem leaves. I made this for Pari and for children who might need a little extra help to go to sleep peacefully without bad dreams disturbing them. Check out the art and the post – there is an interesting legend behind the Dreamcatcher – it comes from the Native American heritage.


And hey, just wanted to share these handmade rakhis (bands) that Pari and I made. We used pipe-cleaners, wool, beads etc. So much fun and so easy-peasy!

handmade pipecleaner rakhi


Previous Leaf Art – from the past 18 days.

Day 1: Inspired by Saptaparni Leaves

Day 2: Inspired by Gulmohar Leaves

Day 3: Inspired by Banyan Leaves

Day 4: Inspired by Peepal Leaves

Day 5: Inspired by Yellow Bells

Day 6: Inspired by Jadi Leaves – Ficus amplissima

Day 7: Inspired by Kassod Leaves – Senna Siamea

Day 8: Inspired by Kashmir’s Chinar Leaves

Day 9: Inspired by Frangipani Leaves

Day 10: Inspired by Kaniar (Bauhinia purpurea)

Day 11: Inspired by Ashok Leaves (Indian Fir)

Day 12: Self-portrait – Inspired by Sheesham (Indian Rosewood) Leaves

Day 13: The Story of Mulberry Leaves, Silkworm and the Indian Flag

Day 14: If Leaves Evolved Into Birds (Karanj or Indian Beech)

Day 15: Gaia – the Goddess Earth (Rai Jamun leaves)

Day 16: Positive Affirmations Leaf Art (‘Putranjiva’ or child-life tree)

Day 17: Elements of the Earth (Inspired by the Shaving Brush Tree)

Day 18: The Dreamcatcher – Inspired by Neem Leaves

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