Sacred Lotus / Nelumbo nucifera
Photographed at the Calgary Zoo on 11th September 2011. The enormous flower of the Sacred Lotus is so beautiful.
"The lotus was of great significance to many ancient cultures, and in particular to the Eastern religions. From ancestral times, the lotus regularly appears as a symbol of purity, peace, transcendence, enlightenment, rebirth, beauty, and fertility. In India, the lotus flower is considered to be of divine origin and is viewed as sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Buddha was said to sleep on a lotus six months of the year, and Shambala (Buddhist heaven) is sometimes represented as a field of flowering sacred lotuses." Taken from the first link below.