Saturday, May 7, 2022


The road from Shimla to Kalpa in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh is rightly known as the "Most Dangerous Road" in India. On one side is the towering Himalayan peaks and on the other is the deep ravine of the river Beas. The constantly curving road becomes most dangerous to drive during the apple season in August- September, wen apple loaded trucks come from the apple orchards of Kalpa in a long cavalcade.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Palash- the tree which heralds the spring


Justly called the Flame of the Forest, the Palash is mentioned in the Ramayana written by Valmiki Rishi 2000 years ago. It is a small , crooked tree, which grows throughout the Indian subcontinent.
The Palash leaves are woven into disposable plates by village folk. The tree loses all its leaves in spring and becomes resplendent with flame coloured flowers. The flowers are used to make colours to use during the Holi festival in India. During this festival, people sprinkle coloured water or dry powdered colours on their friends and relatives and exchange sweets.

There is also a yellow flowering Palash, which is rarely seen. Known to botanists as Butea monosperma, the Palash belongs to the Pea family. It is a very resilient tree and can tolerate drought, fire and water logging. It is called Muttuga in Karnataka and Dhak in MadhyaPradesh.

The lac insects breed on the Palash trees.A cottage industry produces shellac, a natural varnish, by breeding these insects on pollarded Palash trees.Strong, thick ropes are woven from the fibre of the bark. These ropes are used by river boats.