HIMALAYAN OAKS & LANGURS

Carrying the baton from the previous blog EXPOSED ON A LIMB, am sharing these lovely pictures of a group of Himalayan Langurs spotted on a Mighty Oak.

Be charmed or should I say Enchanted.

safe mode
Safe Abode

The Himalayan Langur ( Scientific name Semnopithecus ajax ) is significantly Larger when compared to the Langur we see in the Plains of India.

It is also called the Dark-Eyed Himalayan Langur.

yummy fruits
Yummy Fruits

The Endless Tail is a key characteristic of these very intriguing Monkeys.

tail shot
Mighty Tail

The Mighty Oaks  ( Scientific name Quercus leucotrichophora) provide a safe Haven to these Gorgeous Langurs as well numerous other species.

Observe the Upper and Lower Sides of the leaves don a different hue of Green.

oaks and langurs

Hanging onto the Mighty Himalayan Oak

All the pictures above were taken on a lovely walk on The peaceful Camel’s Back Road in Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

EXPOSED ON A LIMB

Earlier Blogs titled LAST STAND and CONICAL CYPRESS  may kindly be read to get a sense of Continuity.

These Majestic Towering Coniferous Trees are Native and Unique to the Western Himalayas.

The Himalayan Cedar ( English), Deodar ( Hindi) , Cedrus deodara ( Scientific Name)  belongs to the Pine family Pinaceae.

Reaching out to the clouds

Reaching OUT

The Deodars  ( Deo meaning that of the Devs or Gods) are revered by Hindus and is repeatedly mentioned in ancient  Hindu scriptures.

Do the branches not show up as  Steps to the Skies Above  or the Abode of Gods.

step up
Step by Step

These Large Globular  Green Cones are  Female Cones and will be the bearers of Winged Seeds when they Mature.

The Pine Like Needle leaves indicate it belongs to the Pine family but the Cones clearly reveal another Genus.

acorns on a limb
Female Cones reflecting Woman Power 

The Male Cones were not spotted by me on the Tree and had left the ladies  unattended.

The Camera catches this young male taking a Power Nap. Am Inspired.

snoozing
zzzzzzzz Snoozing zzzzzzzzz

Am taking it easy too and will complete the post after taking a Power Nap. Till then Enjoy the Splendour of this Ancient Confirerous Tree through pictures.

I did fill in the blanks subsequently  and I hope the young man recovered from his Siesta as well.

CONICAL CYPRESS

Enchanting Forests of Conifers cover the slopes of the Lower Himalayas at altitudes between 1500 to 2500 metres ( 7500 feet) .

Do read previous blogs titled LAST STAND and M’I’STICAL HIMALAYAS connected to the changing landscape in the Himalayas.

The Pictures below are of a true Greybeard , a Lonely Cypress, in Kasmanda Palace, Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

See  how  The Cypress  towers above the Conical Tower of this nearly 200  year old Palace in Bright Sunlight.

lonely cypress
A Conical Turret and The Cypress Tree

Dark Clouds cast dark shadows and the mood over the Cypress turns to Grim.

dark light
Dark Clouds Approaching

Light begins to fade and even the Cheerful Red Cones turn to shades of Grey.

darkness
Hungry Dark Clouds eat up the Light

Outstretched arms of The Hapless Lonely Cypress as Grim turns to Eerie , the SunLight is gradually blanketed out by Ominous Clouds.

hidden
The Silver Lining as Darkness embalms all

The pictures remind me of Fairy Tales , Wizards and Witches and a Childhood long gone by.

 

THE LAST STAND

I apologize to all the readers of this blog that I was only able to post pictures.

This has unintentionally generated a lot of curiosity as to why the title is :The Last Stand”.

Sikkim is an extremely small Himalayan state abutting three countries namely Nepal, Bhutan and China ( Tibetan Plateau)

The unique location of the State makes it a Biodiversity Hot Spot.

As you drive from the nearest Airport in Siliguri, West Bengal located in the plains of India upto the Lofty  Himalayan Range, you will drive through spectacular Forests which will vary sharply with a shift in Altitude.

From Lush Green Forests to Conifer Forests at altitudes at 1500 to 2000 metres till the Last Tree at about 4500 metres, the Flora changes as if by Magic.

The Last Stand is the end of the Tree Line in the Eastern Himalayas at altitudes of 4500 metres or 14750 feet.

Do see the Trees give way to Meadows and Rocks which will ultimately cede to the Snow Line or region of perpetual Snow and Ice.

tree line
The Last of the Conifers

Trees are unable to survive the severe cold in the high altitude regions of the Himalayas.

The Himalayan Larch seen below is bereft of leaves even in the month of May.

A Mountain Spring from the melting Snows and barren Rocks can be seen in the backdrop in the picture below.

broofs and trees

Conifers and Himalayan Brooks

The Conifers cede to Alpine Meadows above 4500 metres . You can see the Last Conifer in the backdrop which could be a Sikkim Larch or Himalayan Larch ( Scientific Name Larix griffithi ).

A native Rhododendron hugs a Mountain Brook as it mutates to a Shrub at these altitudes.

conifers and more
Conifers, Rhododendrons and Prayer Flags

As I look above to the Abode of Gods I see a Crown of Conifers garlanded by Buddhist Prayer Flags.

flags and conifers
Conifers at 15000 feet.

I thank all the readers for their curiosity and interest on the Fate of these Gorgeous creations of Nature.

It is However the Last Stand against extreme Climates led by Conifers. Be Enchanted in the incredible diversity of Flora ( and Fauna) as  you drive from Sea Levels to mind boggling heights of over 7000 metres or 21000 feet in the Himalayas in Sikkim.

 

YAK AND “YETI”

The Himalayas are home to many many a Unique Species of Fauna, one of which is the Realistic Yak and the other the Mythical Yeti.

Lovely Green Meadows near the Tsomgo Lake ( do see a previous blog titled LAKE OF SNOW)  in Sikkim, India are grazing grounds and home to the large and furry Yaks( Scientific name Bos grunniens).

green himalayas

HIMALAYAN GREEN

Yaks are native to this region  and can be seen only at high altitudes above 3500 metres in the Himalayas in India.

A large number of Yaks are heavily decorated and domesticated. While many like to ride these Majestic Himalayan Bovids around  the Tsongo Lake , I am personally against riding these animals.

The unpredictable mist envelops all including the Yak and his chaperon.

yeti in the mist
MIDST OF MIST

I was lucky to spot this majestic Yak ( I think he is Mr. Yak) having a snack cum drink of Rice water.

meal time
SNACK TIME

The Enchanting “Yeti”  however remained elusive , staying from the sight of  My Camera, and remains to date hidden within the pages of Spellbinding Himalayan Folklore and Myths.

 

 

 

 

LAKE OF SNOW

High Altitude Lakes in the Lap of the Himalayas  are mystically fascinating .

Formed almost entirely by melting snow, glaciers and brooks and streams The Tsomgo Lake in Sikkim is located at a height of 3870 metres ( 12700 feet) in Sikkim, India within touching distance of the Tibetan Plateau.

Most of The Himalayan Peaks overlooking the Changu ( or Tsomgo) Lake rise above the Tree Line and thus barren and bereft of Trees. Have a look.

treeless mountains
Melting Himalayan Snow

The  banks of the Enchanting Tsomgo Lake supports Unique Alpine Flora. The weather here changes rapidly and the Mists and Low Clouds play Hide and Seek.

The Sun appeared magically enabling me get the following picture. Observe the Snow turning into the Waters of this Lake ,  which is highly revered by Buddhists and Hindus.

changu lake
Tsomgo Lake in the Summers

Within seconds as though by the will of a Magic Wand the Lake and Himalayas disappear as Dense Clouds cover  Changu Lake.

The Spellbinding Lake changes colour with changing Seasons and even Freezes entirely during the Winters when temperatures fall rapidly.

mist cloaks
Mists Cloak the Lake

The Sun appears again revealing a Himalayan Path girding the Lake.

At the deepest it is about 15 metres or 50 feet.

the banks
Still Waters Run Deep

Watch out for the next blog to be Enchanted by Yaks and Yetis at Tsomgo Lake.

ORCHIDS OR ALIENS

Orchids have Mystical Looks and appear to be  more than flowers to me . It seems they Look into your Soul, Stretch out to you with their Knotty Stems and Leathery Leaves.

gentle orchids
Lavender Beauties

If you reach out and touch the petals of Orchids they seem “Alien” . Are they from Planet Earth?

lavender
Orchids Reach Out

The Knotty Stems reminds me of a Hollywood movie titled E.T. The sweet Alien had Knotty fingers which remind me of the Stems of these Gorgeous Orchids.

noodles or stems
Knotty Stems

The featured image and pictures above are of cultivated Orchids photographed in the Himalayan State of Sikkim, India.

The Gorgeous Orchid in the featured seems to be looking right through you right between the eyes. Enchanting or Scary ?

 

M’I’ST ICAL HIMALAYAS

The Magical and Mystical Himalayas are encapsulated in Mythology , Folklore  and have for centuries been revered as the ABODE OF GODS .

They are the Origin of Mighty and Holy Rivers like the Ganges, The Indus and the Brahmaputra.

river stream
Himalayan Springs form Mighty Rivers

In Sikkim,India and close to the Tibetan Border , beautiful Rhododendron Forests drape the Rocky Slopes of the Mystical Himalayas.

forests on the slopes
Enchanting Rhododendron Forests

These Enchanting Alpine Forests at a height of over 4000 metres ( approximately 13300 feet)  are also home to Unique Flora  like the Primulas and Fauna like the Red Panda.

misty forest
High Altitude Himalayan Forest

The Dense Mist adds to the Mystery of these Spellbinding  Himalayan Forests.

During the winters these very slopes would be covered under a Carpet of Snow.

mystical forests
Mistical Forest

Enchanted my friends?

 

ROOSTER AMONGST WILD DAISIES

The Rooster or Cock is a Male Chicken ( Scientific name Gallus domesticus) .

The pictures above and that follow are of a particularly Colourful Rooster spotted in the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India.

If you seethe previous post titled “BRAZILIAN FLAME” and compare the flower part covering the stamens to the CockSpurs in the picture below you will realize why the tree is also called The Cockspur Coral Tree.

cock spur
CockSpurs

The  Bedecked Rooster seems to be looking for Wild Strawberries which were growing in abundance in the midst of these Wild Himalayan Daisies. ( can you spot the tiny wild strawberry in the picture below ?)

The Lower level Himalayas ( this picture is at about 2000 metres) support a vast range of Unique Flora.

back
In the Midst of Wild Daisies

Observe the Gorgeous Headgear called CockComb which is in a colour similar to the flowers of THE CRYBABY TREE.( see the previous post titled Brazilian Flame please to connect).

The Rooster in deep meditation ( it is a Monastery after all) is hardly affected by the clicking of the Camera.

headgear
Gorgeous HeadGear

Nature Enchants everywhere, all we need do is Look.

 

BRAZILIAN FLAME

I have seen the Flame of the Forest ,( do check out previous Blogs Titled FLAME OF THE FOREST and AFRICAN FLAME OF THE FOREST to see and know more) and a look alike the Indian Coral Tree ( Scientific Name Erythrina variegata) ,  setting Forests on Fire with their Bright Colourful Flowers.

However these  amazingly Flamboyant Flowers simply took my breath away, they are simply on another spellbinding level.

This lovely  Brazilian Coral Tree was photographed at the amazing Ecofriendly Vishranti Resort tucked away in the fertile Doon Valley,Uttrakhand, India.

flowers on tree
BRAZILIAN CORAL TREE

I have never seen such amazing Coral flowers . Forests in Brazil ( country of Origin) must be awash with these beauties.

The Erythrina crista-galli ( Scientific name is known by numerous names like the Fireman’s Cap Tree, Cock’s Comb Coral tree and Cry Baby Tree. I leave it your imagination and the pictures below to imagine why?

New Green Leaves and  nascent buds have a brush of Coral hinting at the Splendour to follow.

raw buds
BABY BUDS

The Green Buds convert to these lovely Coral Parrot Beak like Mature Buds grouped together in clusters, each  held on coloured gentle stems ( called petioles) .

 The Buds are very similar to other Flowers of the Genus Erythrina. Do have a look at the Posts mentioned before.

buds
Beautiful Parrot Beak Buds 

The  Cockspur Coral Tree adorns probably one of the most striking of all blossoms in the Genus Erythrina. This rarely seen import from Brazil is seldom seen in India.

It belongs to the Pea or Legume Family , Fabaceae and is a fixer of Nitrogen in the soil as well.

I try to identify and post the family as it plays a critical part in identifying the Species

floral cluster
Profuse Cluster of Coral Blossoms

Is it a wonder that these beautiful Blossoms are the National Flowers of both Argentina and Uruguay.

incredible flowers
AMAZING CORAL BLOSSOMS

Stunned by these Flaming Blossoms from Brazil ?

I was Enchanted to learn that The Indian Coral tree and The Brazilian Coral tree had so much in common and even belonged to the same Genus and family.