Brahma Kamala – Uttarakhand

Now why am I writing this you might ask? Well my good old dear Mrs.Midnight Flower is often mistakenly called as Brahma Kamala, including a major website where the picture of midnight flower is shown as Brahma Kamala. However both the flowers are poles apart…. calling them same is no justice to both the flowers as both are unique in their own way. It’s as if we identify Sahara desert same as Himalayas.

Since I have not seen one, to touch & feel a Brahma Kamala & visiting valley of flowers is in my bucket list since ages!! It is scientifically known as Saussurea obvallata which comes under Sunflower family, Asteraceae. It is the state flower of Uttarakhand, is one of the most famous & beautiful flowers seen in the Himalayas & in the Valley of Flowers National Park, a Unesco World heritage site located in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal. This region is known for the variety & rarity of its flowers & plants. In 1982 the Indian Postal Department has issued a postal stamp to commemorate this beautiful Himalayan flower.

This is supposed to be a perennial growing plant and the flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male & female organs) & pollinated by insects.
The thick curved roots of these plants are supposed to be used as local medicine for paralysis of the limbs, cerebral ischemia & uro-egenital disorders. In Tibet this plant is called Sah-du Gph-ghoo & the entire plant isused in medicine. It is supposed to taste bitter.

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I never had the privilege so far to see this unique flower so far & I’m using this picture from the internet. Also I have included some extra information so that those who never heard before will get to know the place.
Uttarakhand, a breath takingly beautiful place is often referred to as the Dev Bhumi (land of Gods) as it is home to some of the Hinduism’s most spiritual & auspicious places of pilgrimage & worship. Popularly known as Char-dham Yatra (four highly sacred destinations) where thousands of Hindu devotees pay their visit to wash away their sins in the urge of salvation & spiritual redemption. This exalted trip was being initiated in 8th Century by the great reformer & philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. It compromises of:
Yamunotri (origin of River Yamuna). It is the only place where the devotees can find both the amalgamation of hot & cold environment. The Himalayan environment is purified & freezes with the cold tides of the glaciers of River Yamuna & the sides are remained warmed up with thermal springs which are known as Kunds of Goddess Shakti),
Gangotri at Uttarkashi (3,200 mts above the sea level – origin of river Ganga through the prayer made by king Bhagirath believed to be the sacred source of purity & sanctity),
Kedarnath (at Rudraprayag district at an altitude of 3584 m above the sea level flanking around the river Mandaki) & Badrinath (at Chamoli at an altitude of 3415 meters in the Garhwal Hills on the bank of Alaknanada River).

Uttarakhand is also home to the oldest National park of the Indian subcontinent, the Jim Corbet National park which hosts the Bengal tiger. Ancient rock paintings, rock shelters, paleolithic stone tools (hundreds of thousands of years old), & megaliths provide evidence that the mountains of the region have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There are also archaeological remains which show the existence of early Vedic (c. 1500 BCE) practices in the area.

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