The lotus is very much a part of Indian cultural traditions. Its importance has long been recognized and it has been grown for use as food, medicine and also for cultural and religious activities. Significantly, the longevity of the lotus seed is phenomenal, with viable seeds dated as being 1300 years old. Seed germination of the lotus is very rare in Nature; however, farmers' knowledge and experience may show how lotus seeds can be germinated. © 2013 Indian Academy of Sciences.