Showing posts with label Flower. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flower. Show all posts

29 May 2015

Udumbara, the Mythical Flower in Yangthang Gonpa?

I heard about a mysterious flower growing in the compound of the Yangthang Gonpa that is located on the hill overlooking my village Yangthang. They told me that the flower was the mythical Udumbara. I have played in the courtyard of the Gonpa on many occasions as a young boy but I have never heard about any special plant growing there. 
Yangthang Gonpa, In its glorious form after the reconstruction that is funded by His Majesty.
The caretake Asha Kadi from my village, told me that the plant was believed to be brought there by a Tibetan Drupthob in the 15th Century. The Drupthob was on a lifelong pilgrimage and had promised to plant the last seed of the flower in the place he would end his journey. Yangthang Gonpa was where he was said to have ended his journey, before he returned to Tibet. Along with the flower seed he planted he also left behind a Tashigoma (Tashi-Gomang), which he had carried throughout his journey.

The Chest that holds the Drupthob's Tashigoma. One of the most beautiful Tashikoma I have ever seen (I have the picture of  the Tashigoma)

'Udumbara' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'An auspicious flower from heaven'. It's said that the pure and holy flower blooms once in every 3000 years. A buddhist scripture (The Huilin Phonetics, Vol 8) has this to say about the flower:
“Udumbara is the product of ominous and supernatural phenomena; it is a celestial flower and does not exist in the mundane world."
However, the mythical and mysterious flower, according to online sources, was sighted across the world in different countries. One popular claim is that the flower looks like a tiny white bell on a silken thread, with no leaves and nothing green on it. There are pictures taken by different people, available online. However, science has explained that the alleged flower was rather the egg of lacewing insect.

Another literature claims that Udumbara is the unseen flower of fig tree. It's 'unseen' because it blooms inside the fruit of the fig tree. Both the claims define Udumbara as a tiny little flower without leaves.

But the Udumbara at Yangthang Gonpa is a big green plant that could not be identified with any species of plant so far. It's said to bloom on the 15th day of the auspicious fourth month every year. This year, according to the belief, the flower should bloom on June 2 but the caretake Asha Kadi told me that on the night before His Majesty's visit to Yangthang Gonpa five petals opened. His Majesty has asked about the plant and also looked at the Tashigoma.

Until the plant is identified as another worldly plant, this is Udumbara. And if it's falsified then the myth will live on.
'Udumbara' of Yangthang Gonpa 

Top view of the Plant.

Asha Kadi explaining the Legend...
*If you know the ID of the plant I have posted please share with me in my comment box.

06 April 2015

A World Class Flower Exhibition

I overheard a foreign tourist asking his guide at least three times, "You mean all this is put up in a week?" The guide was as proud as me, "Yes, all in a week."
For the first time in a long time I have seen something done by Bhutanese that's truly world class. We always had that excuse of being Bhutanese that gave us the license to under perform and still be proud. From a crude machine made of wood to some funny software or animation, they always made it to headlines despite being no better than anything the western world made half a century ago, but we still say, "come on, it's Bhutan. A Bhutanese doing so much is amazing." Which is why we are considered third world.
But the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition was something that proved to ourselves that we too are living in 2015 along with the rest of the world, and that no form of excuse can justify why we should be lesser country. 
Besides, in my wildest imagination I couldn't have guessed Bhutan had so many passionate florists, let alone the vastness and variety of their collection. And the timing is magical, with almost every flower in full bloom, which remained continuously glorious the entire week.

Thank you your Majesty, your visions are always clear and beautiful. Heartiest congratulations to every beautiful soul involved in creating that heaven on earth. Next year is going to be unimaginable. 

Following are some shots I took to celebrate the grand success of the Exhibition and to remind myself from time to time about how much our people can do.

Are you convinced now? 

24 April 2014

Rooting Hormones

There are two special plants in my school, a shrub and a tree. Mysteriously they are alone, just one each. While I understood enough of the tree the shrub remained largely mythical until I sought help on Facebook.
The Shrub (Name: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)
Now I know their names and I know both propagated from cuttings. I have already begun working on multiplying the plants but given my bad track records with plants I knew I was missing on something.
The Tree

I have tried cuttings of hedges before with little success, and this time I am dealing with precious plant. I don’t want to lose this plant. I sort advices from my biologist friend Ugyen Tshering who suggested about rooting hormones that stimulate root growth during plant propagation, something I never heard before yet something that easily clicked on me. It was my environmental engineer friend Sangay Dorji who reminded this computer teacher to go to Google and search on “How to prepare organic rooting hormone” I felt very stupidly enlightened.

What I found on Google was what Sangay Dorji already shared. There are two easy ways to prepare rooting hormone at home besides commercial hormones.
  1. Extraction from willow leaf
  2. Honey

Extraction from Willow Leaf: Collect fresh willow leaves. Pour boiling water on it and leave to brew for 24 hours. Throw away the leaves and there you have the rooting hormone. It can be stored in refrigerator for months. Use the liquid for soaking the tip of your cuttings for a few hours before planting them in polybag.
Honey: Honey is natural rooting hormone. Just dip the tip of the cutting in honey and plant it right away. As simple as that.

But the success of rooting largely depends on how well you nurture them daily. Don’t be stupid like me- they don’t need sunlight as yet so keep the plants in shade to better the chance of their survival.

Rumor: Even Aspirin is said to have the rooting magic in it. Dissolve few tablets in a glass of water and soak the cuttings in it for some hours before planting them in polybag.