Lotus is considered the flower that represents the best of the Vietnamese people, symbolising purity and strong will to overcome challenges.
Many lotus ponds have been planted in Sen (Lotus) Village, Kim Lien Commune, in the central province of Nghe An, President Ho Chi Minh’s motherland as a tribute to his noble soul, helping it become a tourism hotspot.
Nguyen Quy Hung, 80, who was born in the village, understands local lotus as well as anyone.
For him, when May comes, the fragrance of rice mingles with the fragrance of lotus, easing people’s souls.
“Sen Village should host lotus ponds,” he said. “Whoever visits Kim Lien thinks of lotus. Now, especially on the President’s birthday (May 19), tourists will have a chance to feast their eyes on lotus, enjoy lotus scented tea and other food made from lotus. The lotus is the love and admiration of Uncle Ho.”
Dozens of ponds in the area have been planted with pink and white lotus flowers.
According to Le Thi Hai, a local retiree, many ponds that used to house fish in the past have been turned into lotus ponds.
There are total 6ha of ponds located along the road to link Mau Tai Village, Uncle Ho’s father's home and Hoang Tru Village, his mother's home. The road also links Provincial Road No 539 to the main sites of the Kim Lien Special National Relic Complex.
Inside the complex, two ponds have been planted with white and pink lotus, while a bridge in the middle of the lake takes visitors to a resting place.
Local lotus has been harvested to produce delicacies for visitors.
In the past few years, as many as 50 types of lotus were planted in the area, providing materials for lotus scented tea, fresh lotus seeds, dried lotus seeds, milk from lotus seeds, kimchi from lotus leaves, pickled lotus roots and lotus oil.
The local lotus co-operative has invested in machines to process parts of the lotus plant, including a drying machine, steaming machine, fermenting machine, packing machine and vacuum extractors so all products are packed professionally.
The products have become popular in restaurants, hotels and supermarkets in the province and throughout the country.
According to Phan Kim Tien, director of Thanh Vinh Agriculture JSC, a member of the co-operative, the company now makes three products to 3-star level in the 'One Commune, One Product' programme.
“Our two products aiming for export are lotus kimchi and lotus scented tea,” Tien said. “We are trying to perfect the package appearance and enhance product quality and are researching to launch three other products for local customers."
Phan Văn Canh, secretary of Kim Lien Commune’s Party Committee, said in the near future, the commune will enlarge the area for planting lotus.
“Lotus ponds have improved the local environment and offered a beautiful view to visitors,” he said.
Lotus has for a long time represented President Ho Chi Minh’s image.
“The flower has both simple and noble features, like the nature of Ho Chi Minh,” he said. “It also symbolises a noble soul, sincere feelings and the morality of the President and the spirit of people's consolidation.”
With the lotus ponds, big green trees and cool well, Sen Village has been attracting more and more tourists, he said.