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.
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.
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.
As I look above to the Abode of Gods I see a Crown of Conifers garlanded by Buddhist Prayer Flags.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sun appears again revealing a Himalayan Path girding the Lake.
At the deepest it is about 15 metres or 50 feet.
Watch out for the next blog to be Enchanted by Yaks and Yetis at Tsomgo Lake.
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.
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.
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.
Nature Enchants everywhere, all we need do is Look.
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.
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.
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.
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
Is it a wonder that these beautiful Blossoms are the National Flowers of both Argentina and Uruguay.
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.