On this World Photography Day, let’s explore the
Valley of Flowers through the oldest images of the ‘Valley of Flowers’ taken non-other than the person ( Smythe) who discovered ‘Valley of Flowers’ in the year 1931.
Image 1: The Foothills from Gwaldam (Tharali) at Afternoon while Smythe was moving towards Valley of Flowers via Lalkuan, Almora and Gwaldam in 1937. Gwaldam was famous tourist destination during colonial period. The locals of Gwaldam are demanding to declear Gwaldam as tourist village under UNSCO’s program. This also falls on the famous Roopkund Trek and the route of Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra.
Image 2: Zaskar range from the Kuari Pass. Zaskar range separates the upper Dhauli and Alaknanda Valleys, by the Bhyundar Pass. From Left to Right the peaks are first Kamet (25,447 ft.), second Mana Peak (23,860 ft.), and second last is Nilgiri Peak (21,400). He entered Kuari Pass through Bhyundar Valley while returning from his stay in Valley of Flowers at the end of Monsoon. Kuari Pass is famous for Lord Curzon trek route which was one of the popular trek route during colonial times. There are several trek routes through which one can trek Kuari Pass. The famous tourist destination Auli fall on this trek.
Image 3: This Photo was taken from the first base camp of Smythe during his four-month stay at Valley of Flowers in 1937. Rataban Peak, 20,231 ft. is seen from the far. The fourth Camp of Smythe would be on Rataban Peak. Rataban is at the boarder of India and China and thus has many mysterious stories which one can read from a book titled ‘The Rataban Betryal: A Novel’ by Stephen Alter (2016).
इसे भी पढ़े: Photo Stories 2: 1906 में ग्वाल्दम से नीती-माणा का सफ़र, चित्रों की ज़ुबानी
Image 4: The pink-colored flower is locally known as Anaphalis. It is also known as Willow Herbs with the Scientific name as ‘Epilobium Latifolium’. Every part of this pink flower plant has medicinal values in the traditional medical system of Tibbet. It is bitter in taste but has cooling properties and is thus useful in the treatment of fevers and inflammations, plus also itching pimples. It is found across the Himalayas. It is often found at the riverside and is thus called the River flower. The Red flower is Himalayan Cinquefoil and scientifically known as Potentilla argyrophylla. Both of them are found in Bhayundar Valley.
Image 5: Brahm Kamal, scientifically known as Saussurea, grows at the height of 13,000 feet. The worship at Rudranath temple and Badrinath is not possible without this flower. It is believed that Lord Brahma (creator of the universe as per Hinduism) was born out of this flower. Grow in between rocks, away from the riverside, and largely during July and August but can be found till mid-October.
Image 6: The Queen of Himalayan Flowers, the blue poppy (Meconopsis Aculeata). It is also known as Kanta, Vanita and Gul-e-Neelam. A postal Stamp was also issued by Indian government in the name of this flower.
इसे भी पढ़े: पहाड़ का किताब ऋंखला: 9 (Valley of Flowers by Frank S. Smythe)
Image 7: Impatiens Roylei (Balsam) in the Khiraun Valley. It is also known as Gulmehndi in Bengal but Himalayan Balsam cannot be grown anywhere else. “
Valley of Flowers is one of the World Haritage”
Image 8: Red Potentillas (P. Argyrophylla) at Khanta Khal Pass. Large shepherd’s habitations are found here around Bhamini Daur.
Image 9: The Second base camp of Smythe and his teammates was settled near a gorge at an unidentified place.
Image 10: Gauri Parvat (22,008 ft.) at the evening, photo by Smythe, 1937. Gauri Parvat is also known as Ghori Parvat (Horse Mountain) as it looks like a horse in shape. Hathi Parvat (Elephant Mountain) (22,070 ft.) is next to Gauri Parvat and both are part of Kamet range.
Image 11: Sunset from Dunagiri Camp (third camp of Smythe during his 1937 tour), looking into Dhauli Ganga Valley (16,000) ft. Dunagiri camp was at the height of 21,000 ft.
Image 12: Fourth Camp of Smythe was on Rataban peak at the height of 21,231 ft. This was the last camp of Smythe and after that he returned.
Sources: A book titled ‘Valley of Flowers’ by Frank S. Smythe, published in 1938.