Lota (vessel)

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For other uses, see Lota (disambiguation).

A Lota (Urdu: لوٹا‎), (Hindi: लोटा) is a small, usually spherical water vessel of brass, copper or plastic used in parts of South Asia. A similar vessel to the lota is the Buta, used in Muslim parts of Africa for personal hygiene and for the Wudu. [1]

A Lota is commonly used to store or transfer small amounts of liquids like water, particularly for cleaning and ritual purification.

A brass lota without a spout

Design example[edit]

American designer Charles Eames in his The India Report expressed a great admiration for the lota, saying about its design:

"Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful."[2][3][4]

Yoga and religious uses[edit]

The lota is also used in religious activities, like Hindu puja. When used for Hindu worship, it is often decorated with sindoor and/or turmeric powder, kalaawa.

A neti lota is used in an attempt to clear one's sinuses; it is also used in the practice of Hatha Yoga, aiding in the practice of Pranayama, Asana and meditation.[citation needed]

Related concepts[edit]

A black spouted bodna (বদনা), or bodna, made in Bangladesh

In some parts of Pakistan and India, the use of the phrase "bependi ka lota" (a "lota without a base") is colloquially used to refer to a person who may switch their loyalties. This comes from the observation that a spherical lota without a base tends to roll over in unpredictable directions when kept on uneven ground. The neologism "lotacracy" was coined in Pakistan to describe politicians who would switch parties.[5]


In Islam, the wudu and ghusl ritual purification require water, for which a lota is commonly used.

In the Indian subcontinent, the lota is employed to cleanse oneself.[6] In parts of Bangladesh the term "bodna" describes spouted (teapot-like) vessels. People of the desi diaspora may use watering cans, empty bottles or cups for this purpose. Muslims often refer to the cleansing process as istinja.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of Lota". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  2. ^ Demetrios, Eames (9 February 2002). "An Eames Primer". Universe Publishing. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  3. ^ "Eames' India Report". National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  4. ^ "Charles & Ray Eames India Report, April 1958", Design Observer
  5. ^ Gauhar, Humayun (24 January 2011). "Blasphemy…or a convenience?". Saudi Gazette (Okaz Organization for Press and Publication). Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Donald Albrecht (2009). The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: a Legacy of Invention. Harry N. Abrams. Retrieved 5 September 2011. India and Pakistan have a water culture, so that it is preferable to use a lota to cleanse with after using the washroom. 

External links[edit]

  • Bodna Nai Music video depicting the extinction of the Bodna from Urban Bangladesh
  • The Lota Blog A comedic blog about the use and application of the lota in modern times
  • Nuevos Habitos An artist dedicated to Lota and other stuff