Flora and fauna spotted on the Govind Ghat to Hemkund trek, Himalaya Photo journal

Nitin Sharma
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Govind Ghat to Hemkund trek, Himalaya

The trek route begins all green and gorgeous and gets increasingly snow bound. In June the snow is still an impediment for trekkers, not so much in August.

Hemkund trek Map

 

Hemkund Sarovar Lake

Hemkund sahib Sarovar lake

Among the trees that I recognised, this trek route is lined with birch and deodar trees.

Deodar trees, Garhwal Himalaya, Ghangharia

Trek route to Hemkund

Himalayan Birch trees: Valued for their bark (Bhojpatra) which was used for writing manuscripts

Birch trees, Garhwal Himalaya, hemkund trek route

The peeling bark fell to the ground.

Do not touch

Wild herbs in Garhwal Himalaya

The foliage has a rich aroma. Many of the herbs, shrubs and trees are valued for their medicinal value. At the same time many of them could be dangerous to touch. A little brush of some unknown herb could cause the whole hand to swell up, as it happened with my fellow trekker.

Flowers in August, near Valley of Flowers, Hemkund trek route

A red-leafed plant

Broad red leaf plant in Garhwal Himalaya, Hemkund trek route

Brahmkamal

Brahmkamal in August on the Hemkund trek route, near Valley of Flowers, Garhwal Himalaya

Brahmkamal is a very special plant. It grows only above 10,000 feet in select areas in the Himalaya. It is strictly forbidden to touch, uproot, damage, or take away any flora from this trek route. Some plants could be dangerous, no doubt, as I saw for myself, my friend's hand swell up in seconds after a brush with a plant as he bent to tie his laces by the side of the trek route.

Brahmkamal is in a different league, though. It is revered as flower fit for the gods alone. Legend has it that anyone who plucks a Brahmkamal flower does not make the journey back home.

Wild berries on the trek route to Hemkund

Wild red berry tree, Himalayan flora 

Himalayan flora

This bird stopped by for a drink 

Himalayan black bird, Ghangharia

A lizard sunning on the rocks

Himalayan lizard

A sturdy Bhutia dog, napping in the sun

Bhutia dog, Himalaya

Sometimes these dogs fall prey to leopards, but if the dog's owner provides his dog with a spiked metal collar, the dog is known to have got better of a leopard in many cases.

Mountain cows resting after grazing on the mountainside

Himalayan cows on trek route to Hemkund and valley of Flowers

Cows grazing, Ghangharia, Garhwal Himalaya

Pony ride up and down from Hemkund

Ponies to hemkund Sahib

The Valley of Flowers, which is about 3 km from Ghangharia is a pony-free zone. No camps are permitted. No fire. No shops. No accommodation. It's a pristine paradise of flowers.

Ponies to Hemkund Sahib

A butterfly rests on Harpreet's shoulder

A butterfly rests on Harpreet's shoulder

Back across the bridge to Govind Ghat

Govind Ghat bridge

Photo credits: Nitin Sharma, Harpreet Singh Sethi and Aman Deep Singh




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