Is there is no Sanskrit word for the butterfly?




So here's the strange thing - there is no literal classical Sanskrit word for the butterfly. That something as attention-grabbing as the butterfly should not attract the attention of Sanskrit poets, many of whom were prolific describers of the nature around them, is a mystery.


Sure, there are words such as Patanga and Chitrapatanga used in modern Sanskrit dictionaries but it seems to be a manufactured word. Hence, we picked Prajapati, a word for the butterfly known to the people of Bengal, Odisha and Assam - which is also where the butterfly is used as a floor design motif, only seems apt for this series!


Brahma is also called Prajapati. Probably because of this association, the butterfly is also believed to be the creator of the universe. It is also considered a good omen for marriage in Bengal. A floor art called Prajapati Padma alpana is executed on the day a marriage proposal is finalised. It is even considered good fortune if a butterfly enters the room of the groom or bride before their marriage. How cute!


We love to go the roots of things. Let us know the words for butterflies in your language.