Wildflowers of the Himalayas Feed

Live from Nepal: Jajala pass in full bloom!

Off the Beaten Path in Nepal, part 6.  This spring in Nepal, the haze is unprecedented.   However the Lali Gurans bloom is in full swing.   Nepal is famous for their huge Rhododendrons and this year's flowers are big and beautiful!  

Jajala Pass with Lali Gurans (Rhododendron)
Jajala Pass with many Lali Gurans

The trek from the Dhorpatan Reserve through the Jajala Pass to Moreni was a 7 hour walk.   We hired a porter to carry our load.   It was not such a big uphill, approximately 500 meters, but after the pass there was a precipitous drop of 1200 meters in only 2 or 3 kilometers!   Not easy on the knees.  

Jajala pass with Lali Gurans
Jajala Pass in full bloom

The views were breathtaking.   I can only imagine what it must look like when the Himalayan Mountains can be seen...

forest fire devastation in Nepal
The fires came through here 2 years ago

In the 7 hour walk, we passed through at least 7 kilometers of remnants of a forest fire that struck the region 2 years ago.   There are signs that the pines are returning however, and many Lali Gurans made it through.   Rhododendrons are hardy.

Lunch break on a trek in Nepal at Jajala
Lunch break at Jajala with our porter Badahur

Lunch was at 3414 meters at the top of Jajala.   We had a little apple brandy to prep us for the 3 kilometer and 1200 meter drop!

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This spectacular Lali Gurans was along the way...


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This post is part of a series of posts of our adventures (without guide) through a rarely visited part of Nepal.   We started in Baglung, went north to Burtibang, through Bobang and up to the ex-Royal Hunting Reserve in Dhorpatan.   Then we walked through the lovely Jajala pass and out through Myagdi province.   This year was unusually hazy, so the Himalayans were not out - not even a single glimpse of Dhalaghiri or the Gurja Himal!   But the magnificent bloom of Nepal's national flower, the Lali Gurans made up for that.   Known in the West as Rhododendrons, these flowers ranged from a fragrant white to lilac and many shades of pink and red.   

Hotels are not posted with signs, but you can trust the Hotel symbols on your map and just ask a lot of people until you find the only hotel in town!   Prices were 100NR per person a night and Dahl Baht - the only food you are likely to get - is 150NR per plate.   The food is simple and tasty and clean.   Water is available in every town from the local spout and is safe and delicious.   Bring along some bottles for the long treks between hotels.   We enjoyed eggs every morning for breakfast, sometimes with chapatis.   

Even the locals here have supply problems, which is why we could not always get chapatis.

Along our way, we did not see any other foreigners until the 2nd to last day when we met a pair from South Korea who were on their 6th trip to Nepal.   They did have a guide.   

For parts of the trip, buses and/or jeeps were available, but their schedules were erratic and they were never comfortable.   

The highest point of our trek was 3400 meters (11,000 feet) and it was about 1100 NR each day.   Prices were never posted and there were no menus, but that was food and drink (including local wine aka roxi) for 2.   Millet roxi was 50NR for a Tuborg bottle full or 660ml.

In May, 2016, there are 105 NR to one US Dollar.


Live from Nepal: Flora and fauna of Pokhara

The wildflowers of Nepal are colorful and varied.   From the large Rhododendrons (known as Lali gurans - the national flower) to the tiny blue Gentian, there is a wide range of flora here.

Wildflowers of Nepal - Gentian
Tiny Gentian flowers cover the hillside

You can imagine how pretty these tiny flowers are as they spread across the hillsides near the village of Ghatchyina, an hours bus ride north of Pokhara.

Lali gurans - the national flower of Nepal
Rhododendrons in Nepal

The pretty flower above is a Lali Gurans, the national flower of Nepal.   We know them as Rhododendrons.   They cover the hillside.   Higher up in the mountains, they are red in color.   Nepal is home to hundreds of varieties of the Rhododendron.

 

Tumeric root in flower in Nepal
Tumeric root in flower

 There is a field of Tumeric not far from our hotel in Pokhara.   This healthy root also has a lovely flower.

Wild strawberries and ageratum in Nepal
Wild strawberries and ageratum

Here we have wild ageratum along with a mini-strawberry.   They are as tasty as they are pretty, though I did not eat this one!

Bird's nests in a shop near Pokhara
Bird's nest in a shop near Pokhara

These nests are in nearly every shop in Pokhara.   The parent birds fly in and out and feed their babies.   This nest is hanging from the ceiling at a small restaurant.  They are considered good luck for the store.   There are 3 nests in this shop.  These birds do not eat grains, only nectar and flies - always a good thing.

Gautali birds in Nepal (Swallows)
Gautali birds (Swallows) in Nepal



Here are the baby birds' parents.   These birds are known as Gautali in Nepal and Swallows in English.   Notice the split tail...

Folk art portrait of a Eurasian Dog
Lou the Eurasian Dog

This is Lou, a Eurasian Dog - a mix of Spitz, Samoyed and Chow.   A good example of what you can expect when you order your very own Danger Dog from Nepal.   The above portraits are by Dilip Niroj, Sagar Bitsa and Sufraj Khadka (clockwise from above left)

More later.   Stay tuned to hear more about Nepal and the Danger Dogs from Nepal fair trade art project.   

If you are near Brighton, England, during the month of May, please stop by and see the Danger Dogs live...

 Where and when to see The Dog Show?   

THE DOG SHOW  

33 sillwood road, brighton, bn1 2le

Brunswick TOWN trail venue 2

Saturday and Sunday, 30th April, 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th May,

11.00 to 18.00

You can learn more on their facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/thedogshowbrighton

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Now is the time to order:   Be ahead of the Pack!   Orders now being accepted for the March 2016 trip.  I will be back in June 2016.

1. Please send me a photo of your pet.  I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work.   Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint.   These can be hung indoors or out.

2. Let me know what you would like it to say.

3. Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer:   naive, realistic, colorful, etc.

4. Tell me your pet's name and breed.   

5. Send your photo to me at:   ampage1@gmail.com  
That's it !

Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front.   If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case.   Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!

The cost is $250 plus shipping.   Shipping is around $22 per sign (to and from the US).   And 9.75% California sales tax for California residents.  
Pay after choosing your portrait. 
Multiple pets on one sign cost more ($325 for Double, $400 for Triple).

Let's keep these artists painting.

This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world.   I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living.   Everybody is happy.   Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!


Live from Nepal: Pokhara flora and fauna

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Sunset on the rooftop of the Green Tara Hotel in Pokhara is always a treat.   This beautiful view comes with a great sound track as well...varied birdsong fills the air.   You can see more about the Green Tara on a previous blog.

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A flock of green parrots added to the birdsong that was all around us.

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We had breakfast by Lake Fewa, and watched the boats come in as we enjoyed our limitless coffee at Mike's Breakfast here in Pokhara.

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There are still some nice old houses here in Pokhara but many of the corn fields are being replaced by huge 6 and 7 story hotels.   More about the architecture of Pokara is here.

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We came across this lizard while strolling through one of the few remaining fields

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This moth was in a friend's garden.

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My friend tells me this is the flower of the lentil that makes dahl.   Very pretty.

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This bee is enjoying this stunning orchid even more than I did!

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Here is the full orchid.   Pretty.

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On our 8-hour bus ride to Pokhara from Kathmandu, we stopped at a restaurant with a lotus pond complete with many frogs.

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Of course, Pokhara is home to many nice Beware of the Dog signs.

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How to commission YOUR pet's portrait on metal:

Now is the time to order:   Be ahead of the Pack!   I am in Nepal right now giving photos to the artists.   Deadline for this trip is May 20, 2013.  

1. Please send me a photo of your pet.  I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work.   Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint.   These can be hung indoors or out.

2. Let me know what you would like it to say.

3. Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer:   naive, realistic, colorful, etc.

4. Tell me your pet's name and breed.   

5. Send your photo to me at:   ampage1@gmail.com  
That's it !

Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front.   If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case.   Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!

 

The cost is $250 plus shipping.   Shipping is around $18 per sign (to and from the US).   And 9.75% California sales tax for California residents.  
Pay after choosing your portrait.  
Multiple pets on one sign cost more ($325 for Double, $400 for Triple).

 

Let's keep these artists painting.

 

This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world.   I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living.   Everybody is happy.   Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!

 

 


Miniature Himalayan Wildflowers

Near the sacred town of Muktinath, holy place to both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims, there are many, many tiny wildflowers.
Because of the altitude (3800 meters or 12,500 feet), these flowers must be small to survive.

Gentiana tubiflora 1

This tiny blue Gentian was photographed not far from Muktinath in the Mustang region of Nepal.   Identified in the Nepali flower books as Gentiana tubiflora this little stunner is an example of the size of the rest of the flowers in this post.   The photo was taken on April 27, 2011.

Gentiana ornata
This Gentiana ornata is a little larger than the previous blue gentian, but not much.  Taken the same day in the same area of Lower Mustang. All of the photos in today's blog are within a week of that timeframe.

Androsace globifera
This Androsace with its pretty multi-hued flowers is found on the saddles of high passes in the region.   One could fit 15 of these flowers on a thumbnail, to give an idea of scale.   This could perhaps by Androsace lehmanni or Androsace tapete.   These dense cushions appear to be rocks unless you look closely.

Tiny wildflower of the Himalaya
This unknown beauty is not in the book.  Any help in identification will be greatly appreciated.  

Wildflower of the Himalaya

Another tiny flower on the high passes near Muktinath.  

Buttercup of the Himalaya
While this flower appears to be a Buttercup, the leaves have no relation to the Ranuncula family.   Another mystery.

Moth with wildflower
This moth's final resting place is beside this small flower that grows in the mountain stream between Keg Beni and Jharkot in the watercourse below the ruins of an ancient village long forgotten.

Wildflower in the stream near Muktinath
A larger shot of the same unidentified plant in the mountain stream.

Astralagus grahamianus
Astralagus grahamianus is common to Mustang.   All of these flowers are near to the famous Annapurna Circuit, if you just get off the main path a bit.

Astragalus candolleanus
Astralagalus candolleanus is also commonly found amid the forbidding, rocky and windy terrain.

Primula rosea Himalayas
Primula rosea are common in the paths between the fields.   With their cheerful yellow eye and soft shade of blue, these primroses are a true delight in miniature form.

Field of Himalayan Primulas
The Primulas grow on very dry land in harsh conditions.

Himalayan wildflower walk
This is the wildflower walk that led to the Androsace shown earlier in the post.   Just to give you some context.   By the way, this is considered the 'off season' and it is our favorite time to travel to Lower Mustang.   The wildflowers to be seen vary greatly by altitude and there are many microclimates in the mountains.

Hotel New Plaza Jharkot
More context.   This is our hotel whilst in the town of Jharkot.   We prefer Jharkot to Muktinath because it is charming and the road bypasses the village.   The Hotel New Plaza is a spectacular starting point for wildflower walks in the Himalayas.   Or wildflower treks.   Those high saddles have wildflowers, but you may need a magnifying glass.   The trek is always worth it. 

For more of the Himalayan Wildflower series on Typepad, please link here

All identifications are based on the book "Concise Flowers of the Himalaya" by Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton, published by the Oxford University Press, Oxford India Paperbacks.

I do notice that the authors of this book (one who died in 1985) did not travel to this specific area of Nepal (lower Mustang - from Keg Beni to Muktinath and everything in between), therefore the bloom times vary, and I need to take more photos of the leaves if possible to make identification easier.   I promise to do better this season.

 

  Keg Beni Beware of Dog sign
Of course, it would not be the Danger Dog Blog if I did not include a  Beware of Dog sign.  This naive sign, now guarding the ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Project) Kitchen, has been an inspiration to me even before I became an art dealer specializing in commissioned Beware of Dog signs from Nepal.

The Nepalese translation for the above sign is 'Kukur dehi sabadan' or 'Be aware of dog'.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world.   I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living.   Everybody is happy.   Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!

Now is the time to order:   Be ahead of the Pack!   Orders now being accepted for the Spring 2012 trip. 

Please send me a photo of your pet.  I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work.   Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint.   These can be hung indoors or out.

Let me know what you would like it to say.

Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer:   naive, realistic, colorful, etc.

That's it !   Click here for pricing.

Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front.   If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case.   Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!

Send your photo to ampage1@gmail.com

Go to www.NepalDog.com for more information and current pricing.

Let's keep these artists painting.