“Brahkamal” will be extinct within 5 years due to climate change
Latest: The beauty of the flower is that it bloom fully spreading its petal only at midnight and that is the sight to watch.I f their are people who have seen the bloom can share their views here.
Brahma Kamal (Saussurea Obvallata) Brahma Kamal is the state flower of Uttarakhand, off white flower a known variety of sunflower with intense smell that blooms at the upper limit of high altitude (3000mt to 4000mt) in the midst of rocks where the snow never melts and it blooms in the midnight and shrinks till morning is on the verge of extinction due to climate change, anthropogenic and trekking activities added to the religious beliefs practiced in the area. According to eminent biologist and environmentalist Dr.Uday Gaur a biology lecturer at Gorakhori Govt College near Nainbagh in district Tehri Garhwal, the climatic change in these higher altitudes due to global warming has affected the habitat, micro environment and growth of Brahmkamal. Dr.Gaur fears that due to global warming the plant is shifting to higher altitudes and within few years it will have no place to go as it nears the snowline which is covered with snow all year round.
Added to this the religious practice of offering the flower at Kedarnath, Badrinath and other high altitude shrines is aggravating the problem.Dr, Gaur says that one flower fetches Rs.15-20 so it has become lucrative business for few who fail to realize that at this rate it will be not be available any more. Anmol Jain an eminent social ecologist in his research “Traditional practices for natural resource Management amongst tribal of Uttarakhand” highlights the fact that traditional practices by the tribals were highly effective in promoting sustainable utilization of natural resources. In this regard, he cites the example of the Bhotiya community who he says have a custom of offering the flowers of medicinal and other plants to the village deity before harvesting them. “In took them two to three days to carry the flowers from the bugyals (meadows) to the temple in the village and this gave opportunity to a large number of flowers to germinate and produce enough seeds for the next season.” Now, there is competition to collect as much as possible and hence the whole blooming bunch is uprooted leaving no seeds behind. He adds extensive tourism and trekking activities in the area that includes religious practices is also acting as double edged sword. This claim is vehemently refuted by Neelu Badoni a trekker of international repute who runs an organization called ‘Trek Himalayas’ at Kulri Bazaar Mussoorie.He says that there is some truth in the claim but trekkers are not responsible instead he said whenever they are on the trek they carry an Environmental awareness orientation course of one day emphasizing on not uprooting any plant on the route. He forcefully states that it the pilgrim tourist who are doing the main damage to the biosphere and the government should raise awareness among them on the issue. Dr. Gaur is also of the view that rampant constructions at Kedarnath, Badrinath and other mountain sides have also led to the change in local climatic conditions increasing the extinction rate of the plant.The research students from the plains of the country too are aggravating the already precarious condition of the plant by pulling it to preserve in their own college and schools herbarium for recreational and research purposes.Dr.Gaur also said that it is such a sensitive plant that it will not grow anywhere else. He further said that these native plants are in urgent need of in-Situ conservation at the policy level. The lack of research and extensive study by the forest department is also not helping the cause of Brahmkamal.Dr.Gaud said that the first step that could be initiated immediately is awareness and sensitization of the general masses towards the mountain-eco system.Dr Uday Gaud feared that it is not just this plant but the other plants in the same habitat like Aconitum (Local name Mittha,Kadwi),Sasurea,Gyssopiflora(Fenkamal),Angilika,Dactyloriza,Nordostycum and several other species are also feeling the heat and if nothing is done soon the rare flora of the Himalayan region would be a thing of past.
Brahmkamal the state flower of Uttrakhand is mostly found in the Panchkedar, Sahstratal, Nandikund, Kedarnath, Valley of flowers, Satopant etc. According to Vijay Negi eminent Photographer and documentary film maker the legend behind this flower is that during the exile of Pandavas stay at Pandukeshwar. One day while Druapadi (wife of Pandavas) was bathing in the Alaknanda River, she saw a beautiful white flower in the current of river and it vanished suddenly. Draupadi requested Bhim to search for flower, when Bhim brought that flower she worshiped the God by this flower. The Brahma Kamal named after Lord Brahma (creator of universe).This flower known as a spiritual flower among the natives of Garhwal. This is flower which is offer to lord Vishnu at Badrinath dham. In the month of September-October during festival of Nanda Ashtami this flower is offered in the temples and Brahm Kamal is dispersed as Prasad. To offer this flower to goddess Nanda,m local young boys go to the high mountains in the midnight and pluck the flower. This is an auspicious flower which is also used in medicines.Vijay Negi also asserts that the bunch of 7 brahmkamal is also very raresight in the Himalayas.