Lota (vessel)

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A black spouted bôdnā made in Bangladesh

A lota or bodna (Bengali: বদনা, Urdu: لوٹا‎, Hindi: लोटा, Odia: ଲୋଟା/ନୋଟା) is a small (usually spherical) water vessel of brass, copper or plastic used in parts of South Asia for personal hygiene and, among Muslims, for wudu.[1]


Early examples of lota and kindi first appear in chalcolithic period cultures of South Asia, notably in Savalda Culture and two well-preserved examples from Jorwe culture pottery dating back to 2nd millennium BC.[2][3]

Design example[edit]

American designers Charles and Ray Eames in their 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."[4][5][6]

Yoga and religious uses[edit]

The lota is also used in religious activities such as the puja in Hinduism. When used for Hindu worship, it is often decorated with sindoor and/or turmeric powder. For Muslims when praying they have to be clean hence they perform wudu (ablutions), a further requirement is to clean themself with water after going to the toilet so the Lota is used by Muslims for personal hygiene, after going to the toilet, so that they can pray afterwards.

Related concepts[edit]

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.[7]


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.[8] In parts of Bangladesh the term bôdnā (Bengali: বদনা) describes spouted (teapot-like) vessels while lotā is used for bath mugs (the vessels used for puja are called ghôt or ghôti). 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. It is specially use for wudu, bath, vessel and anal cleansing.

This 'bodna' is used by Hindus and called Gangasagar. It is often used for serving water/ sharbat to people in a party or Barat or langar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of Lota". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  2. ^ Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Delhi: Pearson Education. pp. 229–233. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
  3. ^ "Excavations - Important - Maharashtra". Archaeological Survey of India. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  4. ^ Demetrios, Eames (9 February 2002). "An Eames Primer". Universe Publishing. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  5. ^ "Eames' India Report". National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Archived from the original on 9 March 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  6. ^ "Charles & Ray Eames India Report, April 1958", Design Observer
  7. ^ Gauhar, Humayun (24 January 2011). "Blasphemy…or a convenience?". Saudi Gazette. Okaz Organization for Press and Publication. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  8. ^ 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