Monthly Archives: July 2017

Himalayan Herb

I had written earlier about Himalayan women climbing cliffs and mountains in high altitude areas without any special equipment or training. Apparently, they do so in search of herbs which can be added to food to add a flavour that is out of this world. They call this herb ‘pharan’. It is dried and coarsely ground before use. It is found exclusively in high altitude areas and is considered an exotic spice/ herb, which is sold at astronomical prices. The picture below shows the process of drying the herb in the sun on a rooftop in Mana Village, India.

DSC05680

The stone ‘grinder’ is placed in the open in the village, accessible to all for grinding the ‘pharan’ before use.

DSC05682

 

 

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Wild Turkey dance-India

Somewhere in the Northeastern part of India , wild turkeys live….and dance! Well, the male turkey dances and the female turkey…….acts totally uninterested!!! The male turkey, after making the effort to put on a show, approaches the person with the camera (in this case, it was me) and puts on a show….


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Flowers and butterflies-symbiosis and impartiality

Butterflies do not care if the flowers they sit on are exotic or wildflowers. They need nectar and fruit, the flowers need pollination. It is a mutually gainful relationship ( humans need to learn from this!!). Everyday butterflies visit our garden, I manage to capture a few, since I just enjoy looking at them more than taking pictures of them…..

IMG_5368 IMG_5369

The picture above shows a beautiful butterfly sitting on a flowering cactus…..I have no idea what the name of the butterfly is…

IMG_5364 IMG_5363 IMG_5362 IMG_5361

A light coloured and a dark butterfly get the same treatment from the bright yellow flowers….the flowers are not racist 🙂

IMG_5370 IMG_5371

The tiny forget-me-nots growing wild are not ignored….you can see five butterflies sitting on a plant in the picture above, and seven in the picture just above this…You can also see a plastic piece of garbage thrown by a human nearby, I picked it up and disposed of it. 

Lessons learnt:

  • Butterflies are impartial to all flowers, which in turn offer the same treatment and nutrients to all butterflies.
  • It is a healthy relationship which benefits both.
  • Humans are the only ones who litter and endanger the environment.
  • Humans are also the only ones who cultivate flowers, trees and plants, doing a world of good for the environment.

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Yellow bird of paradise hedge

I was told that the beautiful shrub which grows in the form of a hedge is called the Yellow Bird of Paradise shrub. It could not be more apt, as it grows in Paradise, among the mountains….Some species of this plant have been used to cure fever and a sore throat. 

IMG_5375 IMG_5373 IMG_5376 IMG_5377 IMG_5378

 

Is is a beautiful plant, with a dense foliage and delicate looking, but sturdy flowers.


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Codonopsis flowers, Valley of Flowers, Himalayas, India

This plant has some use in traditional medicine and has been reported to be used to cure HIV infection and cancer!!! It is used as a substitute for ginseng and is cultivated for its medicinal properties. I saw it for the first time in the Himalayas in the high altitude Valley of flowers.

DSCF6686 - Copy


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Hot springs-Tapovan

Hot sulphur springs are found in a place near Joshimath in India, in the Himalayas. These hot water natural springs are located 15 kms from Jpshimath. By the side of the road is board which indicates the location of the springs. An even bigger indication is the cloud of steam and the smell of Sulphur in that area, along with discoloured ( or should I say beautifully, brightly coloured?) yellow stones in the path of the stream. There are rooms available for bathing in the water. One can climb a few steps to see the bubbling, sizzling hot tiny pools of water….

IMG_5324

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Saraswati River at Mana gorge, India

In Hindu mythology, as Ved Vyasa was recounting the Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha, the river Saraswati was disturbing them as it was too noisy. Lord Ganesha and Ved Vyasa had agreed that the tale would not be narrated more than once. Ved Vyasa made the mighty Saraswati river disappear underground ( a fact that has been confirmed by topographical analysis now ). The huge volume of water in the River Saraswati at a place called Mana Gorge in Mana village is the exact place where the huge volume of the turbulent Saraswati are not visible on the other side of the gorge. There is a permanent rainbow over the river at this point!!!!! The two ancient caves where Ved Vyasa and Lord Ganesha sat down for this epic historical saga are also nearby, I have written about them in separate blogs.

The waters of the Saraswati River at Mana Gorge …..the sheer volume and sound and the permanent rainbow are breathtakingly beautiful……

DSC05648

Beyond the gorge, the cascading and turbulent waters disappear….there is no water visible…..though we searched for a glimpse…the sound disappears too…

DSC05644 DSC05645 DSC05660 DSC05657

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Cobra plant?

On my evening stroll, I was overjoyed at the variety of flora and fauna…flowering cacti, the Christmas trees, moss covered rocks, every inch of the mountains covered in plants and flowers. Just when I drew in a breath of fresh air, I stopped in my tracks and whispered “what the hell?’….I saw a plant shaped like a cobra with a long curved structure emerging from it….the internet shows the cobra plant to be something else entirely. Since our mountain hideout has limited internet connectivity ( the cables break frequently due to the rains, thank God!!), I have named it the What-the-Hell plant….

IMG_5303 IMG_5300 IMG_5297 IMG_5296 IMG_5294 IMG_5304

I have seen many of them since, the locals call it ‘kaimin’…it’s apparently uprooted by them as it has a bulbous, onion like root which is eaten!!


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Badrinath Temple-Devbhoomi, India

Badrinath temple is in the Land of the Gods or Devbhoomi in Uttarakhnad, India.  The temple is one of the most visited religious sites of the Hindus, and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is open from May to November.  It is more than 10,000 feet above sea level, along the banks of the Alaknanda river.

The imain deity worshipped in the temple is a statue of Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan.  Tapt Kund is an area that has natural, ever flowing sulphur hot springs next to Badrinath Temple, enclosed inside the bath house, with separate areas for men and women. The waters are considered medicinal. The Nar mountain is behind the temple, while the Narayana mountain is on the opposite side, with the turbulent waters of the Alaknanda river dividing them. The prophecy states that these two mountains will join some day, and the temple will be shifted to the Bhavishay Badrinath Temple (mentioned in an earlier blog). Jai Badri Vishal, the temple has to be seen to be believed.

DSC03243 DSC03235 DSC03246

T

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)

Fields of gold

DSC08108There will be gold strewn across your path..

Rubies in the form of the blushing roses

Emeralds shine in the sapphire waters..

They are there if you stop to look

The rolling meadows , the gurgling brook

The carats you flaunt cannot compare

To the stars that the night sky shares

Heaven is all around you

it’s your vision that’s askew

Wake up while there’s time

Forget all man-made glitter and shine

The river has all the banks you’ll need

Go now .. Godspeed

 


Click here if the image slider / comments don't load

Comments (might take a while to load)