Monday, June 14, 2010

How the Himalayas Came to Mysore

As the story goes, when the Pandavas were in exile and on their way Badrinath, they decided to take a break at Pandukeshwar, the place that their father had built. One day, Draupadi - as is the habit of the ladies of our epics, was bathing in a nearby river when she sighted an exquisite flower floating downstream. Naturally, she had to have it and sent Bhima in hot pursuit of it. The mighty Pandava set off and after a while, he suddenly came upon an amazing sight – a saucer-shaped valley, filled with the most breathtaking array of flowers.
We don’t know if Bhima accomplished his mission, but he had come to the right place because this spectacular patch of paradise was the flower’s home. We now know it as the Valley of Flowers. Nestled in the Western Himalaya, such is the wealth of flora and fauna that flourishes here that in 1982, the UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site.
And the flower that had so enchanted Draupadi?
Brahma Kamala. (Botanical name – Saussurea obvallata). State flower of Uttarakhand.
And Draupadi must’ve been bathing at night because this flower blooms only after dark and that too, only once in a year. I’ve no clue how this gorgeous Himalayan beauty strayed into Mysore but it did and into my garden as well. This year, we were specially blessed with more than ten buds on one plant, of which five bloomed all at once in one single night. Here they are – the photographs unfortunately can’t capture the heady, delicate fragrance of these glorious blooms.

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3 comments:

The Bald Guy said...

Beautiful pictures! They'd make amazing wallpapers!

Gayatri said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures and also the story.

Ava Suri said...

Its gorgeous. You are lucky to have such a nice garden.