Monthly Archives: July 2015

Miracle Himalayan Drug- “Keeda Booti’

High up in the mountains, in the high altitude areas of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, there are moth caterpillars and larvae which are underground. They are infected by a fungus called Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which mummifies the caterpillar and grows out of it. It is highly valued for its supposed anti-ageing, anti-cancer and aphrodisiac properties, and has been used as a miracle drug to cure kidney and lung diseases as well. In China, it is listed as an endangered plant species. The cost of the fungus with the mummified larva attached is astronomical, with one single hand-picked, good quality plant being sold for over 10 USD. A kilogram fetches over 20,000 USD!!!

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This “Keeda Booti” or “Caterpillar fungus” shown above was brought to us by our gardener. I took a picture and returned it, as he did not want any money for it. The fruiting body grows out of the head of the caterpillar and appears aboveground in high altitude areas. It has to be hand picked. It is called the Himalayan Viagra!!! One thing I have realised is that any herb/ plant/ drug that is sought after and overpriced generally possesses some form of anti-cancer, aphrodisiac or anti-ageing properties…..If legend is to be believed, this one possesses all three 🙂


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Hibiscus

Species of the hibiscus plant are the national flower of Haiti, South Korea and Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. In Hawaii, if it is worn behind the left ear by a girl, she is either married or spoken for. If she wears the flower behind her right ear, she is unattached!!!!!

Some species of the Hibiscus are used for medicinal purposes. They are used to make herbal tea, for lowering the blood pressure, as a vegetable and as a contraceptive. The plant contains Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which are  anti atherosclerotic. Extracts have been used as a sunblock.

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Apart from the various uses, it is a beautiful plant. The red hibiscus is used in worship by the Hindus.


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Zinnia flowers

They are easy to grow and can be regrown from seeds. These flowers are grown in almost all colours and are useful for getting rid of some garden pests. 

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Our garden is brighter because of these flowers. As a child, I always wondered if the petals were real, and was fascinated by the centre, which looks like a ruby, surrounded by a ring of miniature yellow flowers…..


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Himalayan women climb cliffs daily

While I was enjoying the view of the local scenic beauty at a high altitude location in the Himalayas, I was told that any woman from the village nearby could ‘climb Mount Everest in a jiffy, without special training or equipment’. I was told to look carefully at two women in front of us on the cliff face, collecting herbs for traditional medicines!!! They were at a height above 12,000 feet, and working alone. Their footwear and clothes were not meant for this adventurous daily activity of theirs. If you look carefully at the pictures below, you will see two women, in black, with sacks on their backs, working on a mountain that is considered difficult to climb ( impossible in slippery shoes and flowing robes!!).

DSC05650 DSC05652 DSC05653One of them is on the rocky, steep part of the mountain, while the other is on the grassy top…..They are hard working women, I’ve often seen them carrying burdens of firewood and leaves on their backs, which weigh so much that they bend forwards at an acute angle to balance themselves. Hats off to these unknown, unnamed and unsung mountain climbers.

 


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Long tailed shrike-Himalayas

The exclamation marks indicate that I have heard this bird singing for the first time…. the picture below was taken by me yesterday of this beautiful bird, perched on a shrub overlooking the Alaknanda river, near the Mana village in the Himalayas in India. It was singing a beautiful song, but the moment I got out of the vehicle to record the song and to take a better picture of the bird, it flew away….

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It is a beautiful bird, and it’s only natural that i saw it in the place called the “land of the Gods”.


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Himalayan cow with Olympic Torch mark

High up in the mountains, I stopped for a breath….in that rarefied atmosphere, everything makes sense and everything is a miracle….the bright yellow and green striped bird, the carpet of wild flowers, the sulphur springs which sizzle non-stop…in this state of mind, I looked at a black cow which was gazing steadily at me from its lofty perch. It had a white mark in the centre of its head…which looked exactly like a flaming Olympic torch, although it could have been mistaken for an ice-cream cone 🙂

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I also wanted to name it stockings after seeing it’s legs……


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Nanda Devi- Himalayan sacred mountain

The majestic Nanda Devi peak stands over 25,000 feet above sea level. The lower peak of the mountain is called Sunanda Devi, which is on the eastern side. After an attempt to climb it failed in 2007, it has not been scaled. It is sacred, and the name Nanda Devi literally means ‘The Goddess which gives Bliss’. The Nanda Devi National Park which surrounds it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. It shows itself from a height of over 9,000 feet in certain locations, like Auli. 

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The snow covered peak (double peak) in the distance is the Nanda Devi mountain. The Himalayas  make one believe in a divine power, and this region is aptly named ‘Dev Bhoomi’, the Land of the Gods. 


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Himalayan Heaven

Trekking from 9,000 to 12,000 feet high up in the Himalayas can be intoxicating and wonderful. If you follow the path less trodden, it is worth the effort. Raw, untouched beauty…feels like heaven….

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IMG-5533 written above is a video of an unexplored, out-of-this world location……Please click on it …


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Bhavishya Kedar Temple, Joshimath

It is believed that a massive landslide will block the route to the Kedarnath Temple. At that time, the Bhavishay Kedar (Future Kedar) temple will be the one where Lord Shiva and the Godess Parvati will be worshipped. As per the prophecy, in the Bhavishya Kedar will take over as the Kedarnath Temple in the future.

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It is situated at a peaceful and beautiful location within Joshimath. I went there today and feel blessed to have had this opportunity.


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Flowers on a Boulder

DSC05370It is the Himalayas..expect the unexpected. Here, even stones and boulders have moss, lichen, and flowers. And there is a Christmas tree in front of the boulder and the mountains behind it. Silence, peace….meditation is natural.

 


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