Flower Fest

Breathtaking vistas of deep valleys and mountains high enough that they pain the neck when looking up, rivers that run wild and unstoppable in its valleys supported from the melting snow, lakes clear and deep which remain so calm that only the reflections of the snowy mountains can be seen but not its surface – a few things that come in my mind when I remember the Himalayas. There are snow capped tips that dazzle in the brilliance of mid-day sun. Early morning and evening sun burns the peaks in orange splendor. Trees are so tall that they seem to be making a vain attempt to compete with the mountain itself.

These mountains are a celebration of nature. From the time I was planning my first ever trip to the Himalayas, I had been dreaming about all these and was fortunate to witness what were once mere photographs dancing in my mind morph into real wonder in my eyes.

Since my first visit to the high country at Sikkim, I have been seeing much more than the superb scenery of gigantic proportions. My eyes and my mind were caught up with tiny flowers that fill the trees or carpet the floor. When we hiked up to Gochela Pass walking forty kilometers in four days, trees were coloured by flowers and the forest shied away from traditional green. They bloomed en masse with splatters of pink, orange and white. Nature never ceases to entertain – when it was done working with the trees it spread colors all over the floor in white, purple and red. It was a big flower fest.

Purple flowers on forest floor, Sikkim

Flowers in Sikking

Rhododendrons in Sikkim

I continued to see the riot of flower in the Himalayas in all its stretches. My next visit was to Garhwal’s higher regions in the lap of Nanda Devi where ten feet high snow fills up the slopes in winter. Flowers bloom when the snow cover melts, filling up the earth with colors. When a fellow traveller who was with me wanted to gift his wife flowers on valentine’s day, he did not have to go in search of a florist but merely head to the forest and come back with the most beautiful bouquet he had ever given to anyone.

Wild flowers in Auli

Wild flowers in Auli

I kept looking for these flowers when I was in the lower regions of Arunachal but could not find much of them. But as we kept climbing higher, when we walked at a height just below the snow line, they surfaced with the same unfailing splendor. Bridle paths were littered with fallen rhododendrons and live flowers from tiny plants in all kind of colors. Groups of pretty purple flowers on the ground hugged each other tightly like a bunch of grapes, one of them so irresistible that we queued up to photograph it. Forest looked like it came from a Tolkein’s tale, with trees shrouded with drooping lichens.

Rhododendrons in Eaglenest

Rhododendrons in Eaglenest

Flowers on the forest floor in Arunachal

Wild flowers in Eaglenest

Rohtang Pass is known for its almost perennial snow cover and traffic jams leading up to it. These traffic jams turned out to be appetizing my search for flowers. Purple and yellow flowers covered stretches of the mountain along the edges of randomly created streams made from the melting snow. Most travellers occupied with the traffic seemed unaware of them even as the flower carpets kept changing colors from purple to yellow to pink to white. They came in denser packs and brighter colors as we left Rohtang behind and headed further to less explored regions.

Flowers, Himachal

Flowers, Himachal

Flower Burst in Himachal

Flower fest seems to be a mountain phenomenon even in the south where the peaks are not as tall but the vegetation is thicker. Two years back when the news of Kurunjis flowering in large numbers broke out, I headed to see them coloring the green mountains into purple. They covered entire slopes in purple, and in places where they did not extend reach, tiny faintly visible flowers were spread out equally thick but seen only to the careful eyes.

Sunset against Kurinji flowers in Chikmaglur

Flowerscape, Chikmaglur

I am heading back to the mountains this summer again, and while there, will be eagerly looking for more these bright beauties.


  • Celine says:

    Wow, a feast to the eyes!!
    A bouquet of flowers picked from the wild to be presented to his woman on Valentines Day. What can be more romantic than that?
    This is a superb post filled with such awesome flowers. Your photography is stunning. :)

  • Gyana Geetha says:

    Beautiful Flowers and an even more beautiful description. Flower fest is a feast for the eyes and the heart.

  • nandanjha says:

    From Arunanchal to Rohtang to Garhwal to South. Wow !! Amazing. This post is not a yearly cycle flower but something which blossoms only after few years (on the assumption that you shot them over a no of years). And not only shooting but creating a story around it. Evolution.

    Well travelled, I know you know this :) but indeed. Great to have people like you around and sharing what they experienced. Thanks.

  • backpakker says:

    What a floral tribute…and as Celine says, nothing is more romantic than freshly picked flowers from a region

  • Rahul says:

    Beautiful. The valley of flowers has been my number one intended destination for some time now. Did you get a chance to visit there? If so, any tips on how and when?

  • Arun says:

    @Celine, Thank you. VoF When? :)

    @Geetha, Thank you.

    @Nandan, Thanks. There is still much more to go to :)

    @backpakker, thank you.

    @Rahul, no haven’t been there, yet.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    In one liner – simply astounding. Your sense of photography is amazing.

  • Celine says:

    VoF in August. Someone just emailed me saying July/August is the most risky time to head to those mountains because of rains and landslides in those parts, but then we are all quite aware that July/August is the peak flowering season. I can’t be stopped. What about you? :)

  • bikerdude says:


    Fantabulous, Awesome and definitely a feast for the eyes indeed… Lovely pics. Really a painstaking effort in putting this visual treat up for us Ghumakkars…

    Really love the composition in the second last shot… Sunset against Kurinji Flowers… Great depth in the picture and an interesting range of hues and colours to be seen.

  • manish khamesra says:

    Beautiful , Splendid :)

    I have seen these photographs many times, but read the description only now. The beautiful pictures are supported with very vivid write-up. Your write-ups and photography will be an inspiration for many of us.

    Flower fest, a feast for eyes :)

  • Ashima says:

    Fabulous pictures!

  • Riccardo says:

    Wow very good post indeed. I found your blog on yahoo and will bookmark it now. Keep up the nice work.

  • Gita AM says:

    Beautiful photos of lovely flowers. Please add their names too.

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