Farmers collecting the water lilies in the Satla marshland near Bagdha, Barishal, Bangladesh
© Mustasinur Rahman Alvi/Future Publishing via Getty Image
Pastel perfection. Satla marshland in Bangladesh
As they glide along the river in Satla, Bangladesh, farmers harvest water lilies that bloom during the seasonal flood from August to November, cloaking 15 sq miles of wetlands in fragrant pink. The village of Satla, in the Barisal District, is known as the capital of ‘shapla,’ or water lilies - for obvious reasons.
Growing and harvesting the lilies is a community effort, and farmers sell the flowers in local markets. They are not just bought for their looks, they’re also valued in traditional Ayurvedic therapies for their medicinal properties. And you’ll find the stalks and seeds of water lilies on your plate as you enjoy a local vegetable curry. No wonder the beautiful and versatile water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh.