Looking for the Blue Poppy

‘Let us permit Nature to have her way, she understands her business better than we

do.’ This sign greets you at the entrance to the Valley of Flowers.

I am puffing and panting my way up to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, the route is not

steep nor long but it is at an altitude of 3340 metres, and it is prudent to be cautious. I walk 10

km uphill to Ghangariya through a tide of pilgrims to Hemkund Sahib, most walking on faith

rather than fitness, from here it is a short uphill climb to the Valley of Flowers. VoF is open for

about three months from about mid-June onwards and the ‘best’ time to visit is in August, but

the crowds are daunting at that time, being mid-June I find VoF almost to myself.

The route up is picturesque, crossing the Pushpawati River often, along the way I stop

frequently to take photographs as my enthusiasm is more ardent than my skill. I come across

many Pika, and as long as I don’t make any sudden movement they are bold and come

sniffing right up to me. On reaching the Valley, the initial view always takes my breath away

and always will. From a distance the Valley looks lush green, as I get closer myriad posies of

small flowers peep at me. The herds of tourist have not yet trampled the delicate flowers.

Season? What season, it is simply lovely walking amidst this riot of colour.

I get chatting with a passing forest guard who points me towards some Blue Poppies by the

side of the path. It is early in the season and here are two bushes close to the path, I would

have missed them had the forest guard not told me. The diaphanous petals of this simple yet

elegant flower are powder blue and breathtakingly pretty, the bright yellow stamen are at the

centre; seeming to protect this gentle flower are defensively thorny leaves and stem. I

photograph them to my heart’s content.

Having satiated myself of these lovely flowers, particularly the Blue Poppy, it is time to return,

the water in the Pushawati River has risen as the snow on the mountains has melted during

the sunny day. I stop for a few more photos before hurrying on my way.

At the gate I meet my friend the forest guard and he asks me "so, did you see the Blue

Poppy?" I think the dreamy smile on my face tells him all.

I like Jim Carrey’s thought that ‘Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They


just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.’


- Xerxes Adrianwalla (xerxespa@gmail.com)


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