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VALLEY OF FLOWERS   >>  Seasons

Seasons

The Valley becomes accessible from late April when the snow starts melting and flowing down the buttrssnes and gullies. The spring avalanches pouring down the slopes provide appropriate moisture for flowers. The moist turf begins to pulsate with life and from the dead herbage of the previous summer, innumerable shoots of countless plants rise expectantly as though in anticipation of the warm life-giving breath of the approaching monsoon.

Premolars cover up shelves and terraces in color of the most heavenly French blue. Their soft petals covered with dew, like galaxies of pearls, emanate sweetest of scents. In the lush meadows drifts of snow-white Anemones drench the ground. Anaphalles and Potentillas start establishing their colonies, With the arrival of rains in June, Balsam, Geranium, Pedicularis and many other species, mostly in pink and red set the dominating color pattern of the Valley without subduing other seasonal shades of yellow, purple and white.
 

From late July to the end of August, the Valley begins to take on celestial dimensions. The riot of colours is awe-inspiring. The Pedicularis, Grandiflora, Ligularia and many other yellow varieties dominate, with patterns of ; other colour blending in. The flowers sway to the rhythm of the monsoon breeze as it ripples across the slopes and the atmosphere is filled with an indescribable scent I of plant life.

By September, the plants start podding and the Valley dons tranquil shades of brown. But visitors during I September and October get to witness the Valley in a crystal clean atmosphere-the mountain ranges shining like polished steel in the sunlight, rainwashed rocks with gurgling streams and sun-kissed meadows about to be covered soon with a spotless white sheet of snow.

It is often said that the root stock of almost all high altitude alpine flowers lies in and around the Valley of Flowers. The oak trees, blue pine and other conifers between Ghanghria and the bridge on Pushpawati are sornetirnes laden with ferns and tendrils hanging from their branches, The forests on the higher formations are full of birch trees, popularly known as bhojpatra whose bark was supposedly used to write scriptures in ancient times.

Although the main land of the Valley is about 4 kms. from Ghanghria, flowers and foliage in exotic varieties can be spotted throughout the route. Immediately after crossing the Laxman Ganga, colonies of blue Hackelia uncinata, commonly known as 'forget me not' can be seen in the midst of shrubs and foliage along the roadride. Primulas, Morinas, wild roses and many other species are quite abundant.

On reaching the banks of Pushpawati, a rich formation of blue poppies, sun flowers, Ligularia and pink Andsosace can be seen between the rocky stretches near the bridge abetment. After crossing the rivers, to its right bank, you can see various flowers in small pockets dotting the entire distance. Pedicularis in pink and yellow, Phlomis in purple and Potentilla in all shades can be seen. Further on, towards the approach of the main Valley, are gorgeous varieties of wild roses, Rhododendron, Geranium and the killer plant Polygonum which is at present off-setting the floral composition of the valley.A large variety of ferns like Epiphytic, maidenhair and oak fern can be seen.

The Valley is rich In herbal plants, many of these being flowering plants - Bergenia, wood lily, Trillium govanianum and marsh orchid are the popular ones. At several places, the abundant growth of flowering and non-flowering plants gives the Valley the look of a thick carpet with splashes of colour.

A forbiddingly beautiful plant is the Arisaema costatum popularly known as Arum. Its head resembling that of a cobra, the plant grows in shady recesses, often in isolated family groups.

Primulas and Anaphallis give a white background to the Valley which is accentuated with the varying colours of other flowers. The violet Iris kumaonesis, the superb Primula denticuleata in purple and Potentillas in red, yellow and pink can be seen in colonies.

Along the riverside there are small patches of land between scattered boulders, which have become the natural habitat for a majestic flower-the blue poppy. Known as Meconopsis aculeata to botanists, it is a solitary flower and has the colour of the sky at dawn. Like most poppies, it is open and wide, droops slightly, has a centre of golden stamens, and is so fragile that its petals are detached merely by brushing against them. It protects itself with sharp spines arranged on the stem and buds.An unobstrusive flower with unsurpassable delicacy and grace is the Fritillaria roylei. As the green bells on the springy stem nod and dip vivaciously.in the monsoon wind, you may be tempted to strain your ears to hear their tinkling. The Corydalis cashemiriana, with narrow pipe-like stems and flowers tipped in dark blue grow in colonies of thousands. A plant which is one of the rarest and the most beautiful of its family-the lily-like Nomocharis oxypetala revels in the sun on well-warmed, well drained meadows and slopes of the Valley. The rose-coloured Cyprip edium himalaicum has earned the popular title of lady's slipper' and there are so many of these flowers that they imbue the slopes with a rosy glow.

The pinkish glow of the Valley can be attributed to the large colonies of Androsace. Marsh orchid. Geranium. Pediculsris and the carpetting Thymus. all in near pink. Splashes of golden lily and creamy bell-shaped Codonopsis are also seen. The pink Pedicularis gives way to its yellow cousin-the mainstay of the August bloom. Yellow flowers bedeck the Valley as July proceeds - Pedicularis, Grandiflora. Ligularia, Saxifraga and Potentillas. The Potentillas are the first to appear and last to disappear in the Valley.

The king of the Himalayan flowers is Saussurea obvallata, popularly known as Brahma Kamal. It is a graceful creamish flower with brown and red stamens in the centre.

The petals are loosely open, like those of a lotus. A fully developed flower is six to eight inches tall. This flower isfound on the higher slopes of the valley which are not easily accessible. It can be found at heights above 3,800 mtrs. all over the Central Himalayas.

 
 
   
 

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