Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flower hunting in Himalayas

Just about every place in Himalayas has its own unique flora and there is no place which is altogether devoid of flowering plants. Each season bring out different aspect of the local flora and there is no one season in which one can see all of a region’s plants in flower. The spring season which coincides with the period of snowmelt brings forth a large variety of blooms and these continue into the early summer although in a somewhat subdued manner. There is a second wave of flowering during the monsoon season in late summer and the protagonists here are quiet different from those of the spring. These two occasions would rate as the best time to go flower-hunting to the higher reaches of the Himalayas. However the lower parts around the hill-stations and the villages are not greatly affected by the winter snow and although the flowering of local flora reaches at peak during the spring and monsoons there are several varieties that only flower in the early or late winter.

There are few parts of the high Himalayas that can be traveled through by vehicle and these are mostly in Himachal Pradesh. For seeing the alpine flora of the higher non-motorable regions it is necessary to take the trekking routes that leads up to the meadows and the high valleys either on foot or to a limited extent on pony back.

The lower valleys however are richly connected by roads especially around hill stations are important hill towns. The best way to see the flora of these areas would also be to hike but it is possible to launch fairly ambitious flower-hunting expeditions in the luxury of car. But wherever you go in the course of a day’s trek anywhere in the Himalayas it is possible to encounter a wide range of habitat each with a widely differing floral wealth. Herein lies the charm of trekking and flower hunting in Himalayas.