LIVING PHARMACY

I had first spotted the White Cobra Headed Flowers borne on a Spike like bouquet at the Arboretum at Sunder Nursery ( do check out my blogs titled  GOLD MEDAL, SUPERSTAR, POWDER PUFF, RED AND WHITE, ROSES ARE RED etc  )   New Delhi.

However it was even more fascinating to see these  Evergreen Medicinal Herbs grow Wild on the Hills and Walkways at Rishikesh, Uttrakhand, India.

The Shrub of the Malabar Nut ( English) , Vasak ( Sanskrit), Adusa ( Hindi) , Adhatoda Vasica ( Scientific Name) is Native to the Indian Sub Continent.

The picture below was taken along the uphill walk  to the 13 Storied Bhootnath Temple at Rishikesh. ( do see the Calf and little boy to the Left of the Gigantic tree)

evergreen herb
Growing Wild on the Himalyan Hills of Rishikish

I will be switching from the Kohi ( Hills of Mud)  MicroHabitat at Sunder Nursery , New Delhi, created to emulate the Original Landscape of Delhi as it existed 600 years ago ,to the cool Natural Habitat in the Himalayan Hills of the Vasak Herb.

Every part of the Malabar Nut Shrub is a Boon for Mankind. The Adusa Shrub is in Fact a LIVING PHARMACY.

herb in sunder nursery
In Bloom at the Kohi Microhabitat, Sunder Nursery

The Flowers are enriched with Sweet Nectar which is much sought after by the pollinators like the Iridescently coloured Crimson Sunbird seen in the picture below. ( do check out my blog titled CRIMSON SUNBIRD).

The Gorgeous  Flowers themselves are a cure for numerous Respiratory diseases like Asthma and Tuberculosis as well.

with sunbird

Spotted with the Flamboyant Crimson Sunbird

The Vasaka Herb is mentioned in the  Charak Sanhita,  a  treatise of  Ancient Indian Medicine ( Ayurveda)   going back to the 1st Century or 2000 years ago .

Various parts of the Herb like the leaves and Roots provide relief from Pain , Ulcers, Inflammations and a plethora of other human ailments.

Do check out the website http://www.home-remedies-guide.com/herbs/vasaka.htm which details the various Medicinal Uses of this Herb which grows Wild and provides a Free Treatment to All.

The Buds bloom in an orderly fashion, bottom to Top.

the beautiful buds
Spiked Inflorescence

 

A Single Spiked Bouquet bears all the Stages of the beautiful White Blooms of The Malabar Nut or as I call it the Cobra Headed Flower.

The Stamens remind me of the fangs of a Cobra .

flowers in 3 stages
All the stages of the Medicinal Flower

While being attracted by these uniquely shaped Blossoms am also fascinated as to how Ancient Ayurveda Systems derive practical treatments from Nature itself.

Ayurveda, the Ancient Indian Medicinal System followed a different thought process, whereby  Natural Medicines were available FREE.

Is it not an Enchanting concept in today’s age of Patents , Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices ?

 

QUILTED SKY

The Mountains, The River and The Skies at Rishikesh seem to have come to Life  in an Enchanting Way.

The Himalayas breathe out tufts of cotton, Quilting the Skies in rows of neatly laid out Clouds.

The Rays of the Morning Sun touches the Quilted Skies turning them into  Hues of Crimson Gold. ( do check out my blog CRIMSON SUNBIRD and THE CRIMSON GANGES)

radiating from the mountains
The Sun Rise over the River Ganges at Rishikesh, India

Sitting besides the Holy Ganges River and watching the Sun play Midas as the colours of the Skies and Clouds change is an experience hard to describe or capture in photographs.

You can literally see the Sun Rays as they glance off the tufts of clouds even though the Sun is masked by the towering Himalayas.

gilded skies
The Touch of Midas 

A gentle breeze gently sets in motion the entire Panorama of Clouds creating a surreal landscape as their reflections even transform the Holy Ganga into Molten Gold. ( do read my blog MAA GANGA at http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)

golden skies
A Gentle Breeze brings Life to the Quilted Skies

A Lonely Kite sets out alone in the Quilted Skies in quest of the mysteries that create such Wonders.

a bird and clouds
Soaring above the Mighty Himalayas

How I envy the Mesmerizing  and Enchanting view the Kite has of the entire Vista that surrounds the Ganges at Rishikesh .

NATURALLY CHARMING

Enchanted Forests

Haridwar is an ancient town located on the banks of the Ganges and the foothills of the Himalayas , 200 kms North  of New Delhi.

Located close to the Rajaji National Park which is home to numerous herds of wild Indian Elephants , Haridwar is a treasure trove of Natural Beauty.

The featured image is a picture of the Setting Sun over Ancient Homes along the Western Ghats of the River Ganges at this Holy town in Northern India.

The spellbinding picture of the Holy Ganges below showcases the Eastern Ghats with the Himalayas in the background.

Ganges at Haridwar The Pristine Pure Green-Blue Waters of the Holy Ganges at Haridwar

The Awesome Hills  had turned into hues of Scarlet in a superb display of  Charming Nature in February at Haridwar.

The picture was taken from the Ropeway leading to the Chandi Devi Temple.

Red and brown leaves The Lovely Hues of…

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NATURALLY CHARMING

Haridwar is an ancient town located on the banks of the Ganges and the foothills of the Himalayas , 200 kms North  of New Delhi.

Located close to the Rajaji National Park which is home to numerous herds of wild Indian Elephants , Haridwar is a treasure trove of Natural Beauty.

The featured image is a picture of the Setting Sun over Ancient Homes along the Western Ghats of the River Ganges at this Holy town in Northern India.

The spellbinding picture of the Holy Ganges below showcases the Eastern Ghats with the Himalayas in the background.

Ganges at Haridwar
The Pristine Pure Green-Blue Waters of the Holy Ganges at Haridwar

The Awesome Hills  had turned into hues of Scarlet in a superb display of  Charming Nature in February at Haridwar.

The picture was taken from the Ropeway leading to the Chandi Devi Temple.

Red and brown leaves
The Lovely Hues of the Trees on the Himalayan Hills of Haridwar

The Mansa Devi Hills across the River Ganges had however donned colours of fawn and brown.

The weather was very comfortable as the skies were overcast and a gentle drizzle washed the dry and weary leaves of the Flora on the Hills.

Hills at Haridwar
The Shivaliks in Hues of Brown

The spectacular view of Haridwar from the Hill Top through the swaying trees simply took my breath away.

 

The Ganges at Hairdwar from mansa devi
Haridwar and The Ganges as seen from the Mansa Devi Temple

I felt blessed by the Divine Touch of Nature at Haridwar ( literally translated from Hindi means the “Doorway to the Lord”) .

CRIMSON BANDIT

OMG (Oh! My God),  was my first reaction when I saw a flash of Crimson through the corner of my eyes on the banks of the River Ganges at Rishikesh, Uttrakhand, India.

Tiny or small birds are extremely difficult to photograph as they are perpetually on the move. They are even tougher to identify as they look SO DIFFERENT to the pictures in Bird Books.

The gorgeous Crimson Sunbird ( English), Aethopyga siparaja ( Scientific Name) is a Sunbird native to the foothills of the Himalayas.

Hidden behind these beautiful flowering shrubs  ( will post on the same in the near future)  which have amazing medicinal uses is the beautifully hued Male Crimson Sunbird in its breeding plumage.

hidden behind flowers
Hidden amongst Flowers

I was walking along the banks of the Holy Ganges near Ram Jhula ( a suspension bridge) Rishikesh and planning to walk down to the white sands on the banks of the river when I saw these lovely flowering bushes which I recognized.

They practically cover the Hills of the region and have lovely white flowers brimming with Nectar.

The Nectar is what attracts these Amazingingly hued Sunbirds with drop dead looks.The Peacock Blue Tail glistens in the Winter Sun in the Himalayas.

I was indeed lucky to spot the Crimson Bandit with it’s head in the Cookie Jar.

nectar sipping
The Bandit dips it’s head into the Flowers of Nectar

The Male and the Female Sunbirds don differently hued plumage. Furthermore the bright Crimson Plumage is donned by the Male during the breeding season ONLY.

( do check my blog titled ECLIPSED on the Purple Sunbird in non breeding or Eclipsed plumage) .

The photographed specimen was busy collecting nectar as it flitted gracefully from flower to flower giving me an opportunity to photograph this stunning Crimson Sunbird from a height.

tiny drinks
The Rump( or Belly) is Ochre in reality

Perched delicately on the buds of the medicinal Himalayan flowers , the Crimson Sunbird shows off it’s scimitar shaped curved beak and glorious Peacock blue headgear.

Sunbirds substitute Humming Birds in this part of the World.

perched

A perfectly adapted beak to drink Nectar.

 

I am still rubbing my hands in Glee as it was the first time I had spotted and photographed this flamboyant Crimson Bandit.

It had me totally Enchanted, what about you?

THE CRIMSON GANGES

 

Rishkesh is a tiny city located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India.

The Ganges is a Holy River revered by the Hindus and the pictures below are of the enchanting river at Rishikesh.

The Sun marks a Red Tilak ( a vermillion mark in the centre of the forehead) in reverence to the Ganges worshiped by millions of Hindus.

red ganges
Viewed from the boat

The Sunrays leave an every increasing crimson or Golden Tilak when viewed from a boat leaving the shores of the river at Ram Jhula ,Rishikesh.

Even the motor of the boat glows in the glory of the Rising Sun.

from the boat
The boat reflects the setting sun

At day break the first of the faithful assemble at the shores of the Ganges to have a dip in its cool mountain waters.

The Ganges is given the designation of a Mother who washes away the sins of its children and cures them of all ailments.

The assorted White and coloured  cans in the picture are to collect the Curative waters of the Mother Ganga.

The lady in the foreground watches the Rising Sun while others in the family adorn the traditional dress a  White Dhoti to take a dip in the cool icy waters of the Ganges.

the waters turn red
Sunset over the Ganges

I have personally experienced the water of the Ganges is unique as it collects no Algae even if stored for several years.

 

 

WHAT AN EYE

The Cattle Egret ( English), Bubulcus ibis ( Scientific name) is a common but graceful White Heron which had adapted to both Urban and Rural Human habitations.

They have a symbiotic relationship with domesticated cattle and have thus earned the name Cattle Egret.

Keep a sharp eye for the antics of this specimen photographed in the  sprawling Gardens of a Hotel in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

foot has grass
What’s stuck to my foot

What an eye ? 

seeing the clump
Let me have a closer look at my foot

The Sharp and focused eyes of the Cattle Egret have spotted Food and it stretches out low over the ground to approach it’s prey .

flat out
Food is the focus

Satisfied with a full meal the White Heron takes off for greener pastures.

Do observe the beautiful Boomerang like formation of the Wings as it skims over the Grass.

in flight
Let me see what the others are eating

I spent a Wonderful Sunday Afternoon being Enchanted by these lovely Keen Eyed White Herons who had come come to feast on the worms and insects churned up by the gardeners while manicuring the green lawns.

BLOWN AWAY

The Sun is about to set and the Birds return to their Homes on Treetops.

All is at peace as the Starlings ( Mynahs in Hindi) and Parakeets ( Mithus in Hindi) tuck in as the Sun sets over the Horizon.

stage 2
 All is calm on the Tree Tops

A Gust of Wind and the Birds are set aflutter  even as Night gets ready to spread its tentacles.

Within seconds their Roosts are Blown Away and the Birds must migrate in search of another Home.

stage 3
Blown away by a Gust of Wind

Drawing strength in numbers they take to the skies once again in search for a home that is Calm and Peaceful.

all fly away
Starlings in Flight

Nature once again reveals signs and a string of messages for us even as the tiny winged creatures leave their homes in search for another Roost.

GOLD MEDAL

Roses ( English), Gulab ( Hindi)  are indeed fascinating and I have written a series of blogs  ( ROSES ARE RED, RED and WHITE and the more recent SUPERSTARS) on these spellbinding flowers.

The featured image and the photographs that follow are  of the pastel coloured cultivar ( read hybrid)  GOLD MEDAL.

The image below reveals two shades of the  GOLD MEDAL, one of which veers to a shade of EGG WHITE.

The SUPERSTARS ( do read the previous blog by the same title) add a vibrant colour to the picture below.

gm
Shades of Gold

The ancient Indian name “Saptapari”  ( that with a hundred wings ) aptly describes the wonderful multi-petaled characteristic of this lovely Rose.

The featured image and the one below reveal how the sepals ( the green leafy parts of the flower) unfold and let the yellow blossoms emerge from their midst.

Do you read a message from Nature here ?

buds and flower of gold medal
A closer look at the gentle yellow colours of the GOLD MEDAL 

This nearly White GOLD MEDAL reveals how the shades of the same hybrid evolve as the blossoms mature.

 

splendour
A pollinator seeks the sweet nectar

 

A sweet fragrance  hangs over the Gorgeous Rose Garden at Sunder Nursery. New Delhi where they bloom in hundreds in neatly manicured Rose Beds.

the tree and rosebuds
Handsome tree in the midst of ROSES

The tree however hides a secret in its bosom , which i will attempt to unravel in the blogs that follow.

Be Enchanted.