Saturday, September 1, 2012

Primulas and North Sikkim

Primulas bloom below the Lhonak La pass in North Sikkim

In the summer of 1987, I think it was late May, I walked with Brigadier Sidhu and Major B V Naresh of the Indian Army from Thangu in North Sikkim to the village of Muguthang in the Lhonak Valley. On the way, you have to cross the Lhonak La pass which was snow bound due to unseasonal spring snowfall. These primulas were blooming on a meadow just before the climb to the pass. Looking at them, I was reminded of R.L. Holdsworth's comments in Frank Smythe's book The Valley of Flowers which I reproduce here.

" All of a sudden I realised that I was simply surrounded by primulas. At once the day seemed to brighten perceptibly. Forgotten were all pains and cold and lost porters. And what a primula it was! All over shelves and terraces it grew often with roots in running water. At the most it stood six inches high, but it's flowers were enormous in stature and ample in number.... In all my mountain wanderings I had not seen a more beautiful flower than this primula....."

My sentiments as well on seeing these primulas bloom below the pass on that misty May morning with snow threatening! 

And since then for the last twenty five years I have been looking for a similar primula in the Himalayas but no luck so far! It was the most magnificent primula that I ever saw!

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