At the beginning of this month, we went on to revisit the small cantonment town of Chakrata. The town is at a height of 7200 feet. The Forest Rest House where we stayed, was further up in the hills amidst deep lush green forest of Oak and Deodar trees. We reached in the afternoon and post lunch, decided to do a walk to near by area. We were a big group of nine persons as the family of my elder brother was along with my family. As the weather was perfect and salubrious, we decided to expose ourselves and kids to the local vegetation and surrounding. To our great luck, we were accompanied by my brother in law, who is a senior forest officer posted in the region.
We were walking on an internal road and there was hardly any other movement across. We were looking at beautiful deodar tree (Cedrus Deodar). Its interesting to observe that even on the slopes of hills. the deodar tree grows exactly up towards the sky. The support to tree trunk through its roots is unmatched and I doubt, if any other tree of similar weight and height can grow straighter than deodar on a slope.
We soon came across another wonderfully named local herb which blooms exactly at this time of the year ‘Saxy Fraga’. This smallish plant grows only among higher reaches of Himalaya hills and is known to cure stones of kidney by melting them inside the human body. That it grows in hills in stones explains perhaps its capacity to melt kidney stones. It’s flower is also unmistakably beautiful.
We kept on trudging forward and were soon exposed to one of the slowest growing local shrub called as Cotoneaster which grows horizontally. It takes decades to grow and gives a thick bushy edge to edges of stones and even pathways. The one pictured below is estimated to me 30 years old or more. When it blooms, small flowers are inundated by bees which is helpful in spreading the pollination of this shrub.
We kept on moving and were now introduced to one more Himalayan beauty, the Rhododendrons locally called as Buraans. This red flower grows over trees at this height and is known to have top class medicinal properties. The tree in full bloom looks really beautiful and attracts attention automatically. The juice of flowers is very sweet and is used as medicinal herb everywhere.
It was good time since we had left and by now even moon started shining. The moon from that height and in clear zero polluted environment looked more beautiful than ever. We clicked few pics before calling it a day and came back to our rest house to enjoy chai-pakoda sitting besides a fire place in a colonial era forest rest house. We had a really great Himalayan class.