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FLOWERS OF THE VALLEY @UTTARAKHAND

Many of you have been to the Valley of Flowers trek in Uttarakhand, India. And many of you are still planning to make it out. I completed my Valley of Flowers trek in the riskiest time of 2023 - July! When Uttarakhand and Himachal are flooded with water and multiple landslides are in place, our Pin Bhaba Trek got called off. Fortunately, I could embrace one of the most beautiful treks of Uttarakhand!

Let's talk about the different flowers you can feel the essence of, in this valley of 9kms stretch.

Cover Image: Valley of Flowers Trek

Reaching the Valley of Flowers

The valley of flowers is located at 14500ft above sea level and on the 2nd day, we had to start very early amidst the rains from Ghangaria. It was a stone-paved trail that suddenly diverged into a muddy one as soon as we reached the main gate. After 5 to 10 minutes of security check and a selfie session, we finally entered the valley. The initial 1 hour or 2 was just the cobra lilies and potiniums here and there but as we ascended into the meadows after 4 hours, we were in between acres of meadows filled with different colors. Although it was not a full bloom, I decided to go near each type of flower and watch them over and over. As a result, I came up with this blog! Let's get to know the flowers together before you plan your trek here.


Bladder Campion(Silene vulgaris)

This is a perennial herb having small wildflowers about 50cm tall on average. Bladder campion or maidens-tears is used medicinally as an emollient in baths or as a fumigant. The juice of the plant is used to treat ophthalmia. The young leaves and shoots are edible raw or cooked. The young leaves taste sweet and are good in salads. The young shoots have a flavor similar to green peas but with a slight bitterness.

In 2013, India issued a commemorative postage stamp featuring a bladder campion.


Himalayan Geranium (Geranium himalayanse)

This is the most beautiful Geranium one can find, with beautiful blue flowers. It is a herbaceous, spreading perennial found in the Himalayas. It can be easily confused with Meadow Geranium (will tell next about it), however, it is a much smaller plant, remaining mostly less than a foot tall. Himalayan Geranium Essential Oil is known for its therapeutic benefits and is directly sourced from farms in the lower and mid-Himalayan regions. It has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the skin.


Meadows CranesBill (Geranium pratense)

Often confused with the previous one, the Meadow Geranium is a herbaceous perennial that forms clumps up to 3.3 feet wide. It has hairy stems and saucer-shaped flowers that are pale violet. The flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer.

Meadow cranesbill is often found in meadows, roadside verges, and field margins. The nectar-rich flowers of Meadow crane's-bill are a favorite of many species of bee, including Buff-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebees, and Honeybees.


Himalayan Bell Flower (Campanula latifolia)

Campanula latifolia is native to Europe and western Asia as far east as Kashmir.[3] Its natural habitat is broad-leaved woodland, coppices, parkland, and forest margins. Some occurrences are as a result of escape from cultivation.

Depending on the variety you plant, they can grow from a few inches to four feet in both height and width. Campanulas symbolize gratitude, humility, and everlasting love and are associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love—which may be why so many are fond of the gorgeous bloom.


Vajradanti or Potentilla or Himalayan Cinquefoil

You can find this flower almost everywhere once you enter the valley of flowers. Bloomed throughout the season, Potentilla can be seen even on the way to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. These flowers are mainly found in two varieties - RED and yellow.

The name Vajradanti is made up of two words; vajar which means diamond and danti which roughly translates to teeth. It literally means a herb that makes the teeth as strong as diamonds. Vajradanti is often listed as a component of herbal toothpastes. Additionally, Vajradanti has been deemed useful in addressing health problems like joint inflammation. According to a write-up in The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India Part-I, Volume III (brought out by the Department of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy—now the AYUSH ministry), Vajradanti contains phytochemicals and minerals like alkaloids, β-sitosterol and potassium. Continue reading to find out more about Vajradanti, its benefits, dosage, and side effects.


River Anemone (Eriocapitella rivularis)

River Anemone is an erect silky-haired perennial plant found on forest margins, grassy slopes, streamsides, and lakesides in the Himalayas. It is 30-90 cm tall. Basal leaves are rounded, deeply 3-lobed, silky-haired on both sides and long-stalked. Lobes are further cut and shallowly toothed. Flowers are white, often flushed violet outside, 2-5 cm across, in lax umbel below which occur a ring of narrowly 3-lobed, sharply toothed leaves. The most interesting part of the plant is its unusual blue anthers.

In Nepal, wounds are cleaned regularly with a decoction of the roots of the River Anemone. The roasted seeds are added to pickles. Sniffing crushed leaves is said to relieve headaches. In India, the paste of the roots is applied on boils to exude pus.


Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)

Blue Poppy or Lingholm is often referred to as QUEEN OF HIMALAYAN FLOWERS. Yet, regardless of the term one uses to refer to it, this remarkable Angiosperm has a fascinating history. That’s because, aside from local inhabitants, it remained unknown until the year 1912. At that time, though, Lt. Colonel Frederick Marshman Bailey made the fortuitous discovery for the rest of the world.

This plant's medicinal use in Uttrakhand is not so common but in the Tibetan region, it is widely used. This flower has a pleasant and important place among the flowers of high altitude in the Himalayas. The sighting of these flowers is very common on the slope of Hemkunt Sahib during the monsoon season.


Mountain Hairgrass (Vahlodea atropurpurea)

The magic of these grasses are they being tall, usually hanging from a waist height and the grasses are colorful enough to cover the entire valley. Guides too often confuse them with Bottle Brush, but you take note that Bottle brushes are red and the brush-like appearance comes from much thin and fine petal-like structure. Whereas, the Vahlodea is much more grain-like in structure.


Wood Forget Me Not (Myosotis)

The forget-me-not is a perennial with small, sky-blue flowers dancing on spear-shaped foliage, blooming in May and June. Widely grown throughout the world, it grows in rich, moist soil in partial shade along streams, ponds, and woodland gardens.

In the language of flowers, the forget-me-not symbolizes true and eternal love. According to a medieval legend, a French knight walked along a river with his lady. He bent down to fetch her a pretty little blue flower, but his heavy armor made him lose his balance and he fell into the current. Before sinking forever, he threw the flower to his lady, shouting "don't forget me!" And that's how the forget-me-not flower got its name.

These plants are usually pink in color when they grow and a fully grown one turns into vibrant blue as the image on the left shows. There are various kinds of Myosotis but Wood Myosotis is characterized by the yellow color in the center which oozes out.


In addition to these, you can have the wonderful Brahma Kamal flower which, unfortunately, I could not experience because of its late bloom. The Valley of Flowers is indeed a magical place with meadows covered by flowers of all possible colors. Get your wide angle and prime lenses when you pack your bags and get the best view after 4 hours of trek. It's worth it !!!


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