Brahma Kamal is known as the ‘Flower of Gods’ and is found in the ‘Land of Gods’. Where is this ‘Land of Gods’? I am sure you have guessed it right. The State of Uttarakhand in India is called Dev Bhumi, meaning ‘Land of Gods’ and Brahma Kamal is the State Flower of Uttarakhand. So, today, on Uttarakhand Day, let’s look into stories of this rare and mystical flower.
What is Uttarakhand Day?
Uttarakhand Day or Uttarakhand Diwas is observed on 9th of November. The state of Uttarakhand was officially formed from Uttar Pradesh in 2000 and was called ‘Uttaranchal’. It was in 2007, that officially the state was named Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is a special state with so much to offer to the people and visitors. It is popular for the picturesque Garhwal Himalayas; fabulous hill stations for vacations; Jim Corbett National Park and adventurous trek routes. Some of India’s most popular and sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites are present in this state. Rishkesh in Uttarakhand, the Yoga Capital of the World is also visited by thousands from across the globe. Brahma Kamal, found in the higher reaches of Himalaya, above an altitude of 12000 feet, is found and grown in Uttarakhand.
Brahma Kamal, the flower
Brahma Kamal, Saussurea obvallata, is a rare flower that blooms after sundown, once a year, on the higher reaches of Himalayas. It belongs to the family of flowering plants, Asteraceae. Brahma Kamal is considered sacred and thereby, is believed to be a wish fulfilling flower bringing good luck and prosperity. They have enormous medicinal properties which are also documented in ancient Indian Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicines. These work wonder when it comes to curing cuts and bruises. The roots are used to cure paralysis of limbs. These flowers take 2 hours to bloom. The 1-foot long flowers are hermaphrodite. Brahma Kamal’s purplish flower heads are hidden by yellowish-green papery bracts which actually protect them from the bitter cold. The flower is found in higher altitudes of alpine grassy slopes of Uttarakhand, Tibet and West China. It blooms around July and can be seen till April.
Mythological Significance of Brahma Kamal
Brahma Kamal is considered the flower of the gods because it is believed that Lord Brahma, the Creator of the Universe, created this life restoring pious flower. The image of Lord Brahma is seen holding this flower. Lord Shiva used this flower while placing the head of the elephant on to the body of Lord Ganesha. The flower is mentioned in our epics too. In Mahabharata, Draupadi has said to have seen Brahma Kamal in the Himalayas, which she called Golden Lotus. She said they brought her peace. Ramayana says that Brahma Kamal was showered by gods from heaven on Lakshman’s recovery from the Sanjeevani herbs. It is believed that these flowers from heaven fell on Earth and started growing on Earth since then. Known as the ‘King of Himalayan Flowers’, it is believed to protect one from evil eye. The flower is said to drive away negative influences.
Preserving the Brahma Kamal
A Brahma Kamal blooms once in 14 years. The locals call it ‘Kon’ and/or ‘Kampfu’. We are experiencing shrinkage in blooms currently. This is mainly because their natural habitat is being disrupted by global warming and increasing pollution. Increased visitors to their habitat are also responsible for this. These flowers are often smuggled due to their medicinal properties. Due to religious beliefs too, anyhow, these flowers are plucked. Brahma kamal is offered to the holy shrines of Kedarnath, Tunganath, Badrinath, Madmaheshwar and Shrikhand Mahadev. Nurseries in Chamoli, Almora, Nainital and Pithoragarh are trying to protect and harvest these flowers, under the Brahma Kamal Recovery Programme run by Wildlife Institute of India at the Panch Kedar Region of Uttarakhand. Brahma Kamal naturally blooms in ample in Uttarakhand’s Valley of Flowers. Nanda Devi Biosphere, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary are few protected areas where Brahma Kamal flowers are found.
Brahma Kamal and Uttarakhand
Brahma Kamal and the Dev Bhumi, Uttarakhand, are connected through the prestigious Geographical Index (GI) tag. The locals call the Brahma Kamal ‘Kon’ and/or ‘Kampfu’. One needs to be lucky enough for seeing a flower that blooms once a year; on such heights of the Himalaya. I don’t know if the flower really bestows good luck, but you are definitely lucky, if you see one bloom. My lucky stars didn’t work right but Mr. Dibyendu Chakraborty was fortunate and has shared his clicks for the readers. May these pictures bring joy, luck and prosperity to all.