Tulsi or Tulasi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) or Holy basil is a sacred plant in Hindu belief. Hindus regard it as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi; she is regarded as a great worshipper of the god Vishnu. The offering of its leaves is mandatory in ritualistic worship of Vishnu and his forms like Krishna and Vithoba.
Many Hindus have tulsi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special pots or a special masonry structure known as Tulsi Vrindavan. Traditionally, Tulsi is planted in the center of the central courtyard of Hindu houses. The plant is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil.
In Hindu mythology, Tulsi (“matchless”) is known as Vaishnavi (“belonging to Vishnu”), Vishnu Vallabha (“beloved of Vishnu”), Haripriya (“beloved of Vishnu”), Vishnu Tulsi. The Tulsi with green leaves is called Shri-Tulsi (“fortunate Tulsi”); also Shri is a synonym for Lakshmi, the principal consort of Vishnu. This variety is also known as Rama-Tulsi (“bright Tulsi”); Rama is also one of the principal avatars of Vishnu. The Tulsi with dark green or purple leaves and purple stem is called Shyama-Tulsi (“dark Tulsi”) or Krishna-Tulsi (“dark Tulsi”); Krishna is also a prominent avatar of Vishnu. This variety is considered esspecially sacred to Krishna, as its purple colour is similar to Krishna’s dark complexion.