"There was a tree on the river bank, a coconut tree"
Coconut Tree
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumCoconut Tree - Credit: Manish Shewani

In terms of the geographical locations in which the story of Siddhartha is set, the coconut is actually a rarity. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (150 cm to 250 cm annually). It can survive in saline water and high humidity. Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the Southern states of Kerala,Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Pondicherry, Maharashtra and Islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar.

By referring specifically to the coconut tree, Hesse wants to indicate the universality of the possibility of self-realization, and awakening anywhere around the world.