04 August 2012

Stairways To Heaven: The Steps To Karthik Swami Temple

The steps to climb to reach Karthik Swami Temple, around 13 kms away from Pokhari-Nagnath, Chamoli Distict, Uttarakhand, India.
Because of its height, it is a viewpoint for many who want to see a wide range of the Himalayas, including a few famous mountains in this side of Uttarakhand, given of course that the weather is favorable when you visit the temple. It has taken us around an hour (some may take more than an hour) to trek from its starting point (I forgot to ask what village it was...sorry).

~ a view on our way to Karthik Swami Temple ~

We were unfortunate not to see a single snow-clad mountain when we visited this temple around March because it was hazy and only low mountain ranges were visible at that time. It was still a great trek, though. People suggest to trek to Karthik Swami Temple in winter - between December and February.
~ the steps, quite a few and steep, down from the temple ~

03 August 2012

The Valley of Flowers National Park

The picture above culminates our trek to the Valley of Flowers, at least to those, like us,  who really want to explore the end of the valley. But if you have ample time left before heading back to Gangharia you can go even farther. As you may observe, there are no flowers visible in this photograph, that is because we visited this place in September, which is generally not the best month, as suggested by many. June - August are the months to see varied flowers. But the main disadvantage around these months is that they're the busiest months. Tourists, pilgrims, and locals swarm Gangharia like flies to an open wound. And we hate that! Around these months, too, prices of hotels are higher than the Himalayas.

Looking at the picture on the left feels like the mountain just splits into half and eventually slowly forming a valley. So, if you plan to visit this valley, better choose a bright clear day to witness the enchanting beauty fully, otherwise you'll be like us who needed to trek twice in order to gaze its everlasting glory.

We really did trek twice during our first visit. On the first day, we started at 6 in the morning and reached the valley before 9 then stayed for about 2 hours because it was gloomy and cloudy and when we arrived at the valley itself it was even drizzling. We waited for the sky to clear up but it didn't happen so we decided to go back and headed to Hemkund Sahib that noon itself. It was 12:30 pm when we started moving towards Hemkund Sahib, reached there at 3:30, stayed for an hour then we headed back to Gangharia. Then the following morning we trekked back to VoF and tried our luck. This time, the sky was so clear we could take these photos, among others. This time we stayed a little longer.

This memorial of Margaret Legge, who  thought to have slipped off while traversing some steep, rocky slopes collecting flowers, was erected at the place where locals found her belongings for her body was never found. She was a botanist studying the flowers of the valley.

Finally, my own photograph at the end of our trek only to trek 20 kilometers more towards Govindghat for we have achieved the purpose of our visit. It feels good to be home already!

Lantana: Aromatic Flower Clusters of Two- or Three-Colors

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants that are native to tropical regions of Americas and Africa although they've been introduces to various areas including Asia. As a matter of fact they are in abundance around here in Uttarakhand, India and in and around the hills of the Himalayas.

Lantana's umbels (flower clusters) are a mix of red, yellow, orange, pink, blue and white florets. According to readings, the flowers typically change as they mature which, as you can see, become a combination of tow- or three-colored flower cluster.

I have come across this flower through the film of its name, Lantana. Then we don't know what exactly the word is although my husband had the idea that it's a flower based on the name so before watching the movie we looked up on the internet and voila! we found out that it is, indeed, a flower - a colorful and beautiful flower.

02 August 2012

Purple Dahlia

Finally I am able to make out the name of this flower. I mistook it for zinnia but through its leaves it's obvious that this flower belongs to dahlia family.

This photograph was taken in April at Ramakrishna Mission Sevashram in Kankhal, Haridwar where my husband worked for 3 months.

And as we moved along, places to places, I am certain that there are a lot of things in store for us to be shared to you, guys.

Keep visiting!