Kunda – Downy Jasmine

एते समुल्लसद्भासो रोजन्ते कुन्दकोरकाः।

शीतभीता लताकुन्दमाश्रिता इव तारकाः॥

Ete samullasad-bhāso rājante kunda-korakāḥ |

śīta-bhītā latā-kundam āśritā iva tārakāḥ ||

These kunda buds shine with a glistening sheen as if stars, terrified of the cold, have taken refuge in the kunda creeper.

Verse 3 of Śiśira in the Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāram

The kunda is one of the many forms of jasmine found in India, identified as Jasminum Multiflorum or Jasminum Pubescens.  It is a creeper with small white flowers, proverbially white along with other favourites of poets like the moon and snow.  And like foam, and any white object, flowering kundas represent laughter.  

कुन्दैः सविभ्रमवधूहसितावदातैरुद्योतितान्युपवनानि मनोहराणि।

चित्तं मुनेरपि हरन्ति निवृत्तरागं प्रागेव रागमलिनानि मनांसि यूनाम्॥

kundaiḥ sa-vibhrama-vadhū-hasit’-āvadātairuddyotitāny upavanāni manoharāṇi |

cittaṃ muner api haranti nivṛtta-rāgaṃ prāg eva rāga-malināni manāṃsi puṃsām ||

 The grounds, enchantingly lit up with kunda flowers white as the laugh of women at play, distract even the ascetic who has renounced all human affection – how much more ordinary men tainted by passion. 

6.23, Ṛtusaṃhāra – Kālidāsa

Blooming in śiśira, the kunda withers at the onset of spring and is indeed one of the signs of the imminent change of season according to the Kāvyamimāṃsa.  (Although as the verse above shows, kundas are still knocking around in vasanta in the Ṛtusaṃhāra and they also feature twice in the description of the resplendence of vasanta at the Pampa Lake in the Ramayana.) Bees, traditional lovers of the lotus, flock to the kunda and mourn for the departure of its blooms.

एष षट्पदयुवा मदायतः कुन्द यापयति यामिनीस्त्वयि।

दुर्वहा तदपि नापचीयते पद्मिनीविरहवेदना हृदि॥

eṣa ṣaṭpada-yuvā madāyataḥ kunda yāpayati yāminīs tvayi |

durvahā tadapi na apacīyate padminī-viraha-vedanā hṛdi ||

Oh kunda, this young bee, wild with mead, spends his nights with you.  Even so the heartfelt agony of being separated from the padminī (lotus) does not subside.

Verse 203 of the Vṛkṣānyoktayaḥ of the Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāram


Kunda is sometimes referred to in Sanskrit as sadāpuṣpa, and is known in Hindi and Bengali as kunda or kundaphūl, Marathi as mogarā or kastūrī malige and Gujarati as ḍolar, kunda kāgaḍo or mogaro.   In the south, it is called makarantam or mallikai in Tamil and kurukkuttimulla in Malyalayam. 

Botanical Details

According to the Pandanus Indian Plants Database, the kunda is:

A large scadent tomentose shrub, leaves simple, ovate, flowers white, slightly fragrant, sessile in dense terminal capitate cymes, fruits black, globose berries, growing throughout India, in the forest of Western Ghats and sub-Himalayan tracts.


2 Responses to “Kunda – Downy Jasmine”

  1. 1 Rennie October 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I have this variety of jasmine, yes, the flowers when in full bloom is very beautiful. First if all, I did nit even know its name!! As it was’nt fragrant, I could’nt believe it to be jasmine, but early morning just at sunrise it emits very delicate fragrance. Now I will try and train it to be more beautiful vine. I even know, NOW, that its sanskrit name is KUNDA. Thanks. I am wiser now.

  1. 1 Seasonal Poetry « Sanskrit Literature Trackback on October 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

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