Paphiopedilum venustum (Wall. ex Sims) Pfitzer.

Terrestrial. A small plant with 3 to 5 elliptic-oblong leaves. Leaves 6 to 12 cm in length and 3 to 5 cm at its centre, acute, minutely bifid at its apex, fleshy, sheathing to its base, shades of green reticulated with pale green above and dull brown below. Peduncle longer than the leaves, terete, puberulosus, with solitary erect flowers, very rarely found with two flowers also (of around 80 plants I found from the region, only three specimens were having two flowers). Flowers 3 to 5 cm across, floral bract oblong, acute and tubular. Dorsal sepal erect, white with bright green converging concave stripes, with a few broken half way; the lateral pair brownish pink. Sepals bright green with pinkish brown tips, with green veins and few irregular dark purple spots. Lip is yellowish green shaded with pale pink and networked with green.

Cypripedium venustum, Wall. ex Sims. (Paphiopedilum venustum, (Wall. ex Sims) Pfitzer)
Cypripedium venustum, Wall. ex Sims. (Paphiopedilum venustum, (Wall. ex Sims) Pfitzer).

The Pursuit

The most thrilling and fascinating flower hunt of my life was for this species. This species is brought from neighbouring states in plenty and also collected from the region in large scales for commercial purposes for decades. Thus making it available in every house of the region, but very rarely found in its natural habitat. However, my desire to study the plant from its natural habitat took me twice to a deep forest which is one of the most isolated places of the Eastern Himalayas. I did good research on the habitat of this species from several referral books and information from various geographical database and undertook a journey of over 20 km through a narrow stream with vertical hills on both sides. The route was through the dense forests of the region with regular sightings of herds of elephants and leopards. The walk was against the flow of the stream with regular small but steep water falls all the way, 82 of them in total. The blooming time of the species was mentioned as February and March, so decided to make the trip in the mid of January. The temperature even at those low altitudes go down to 6 to 8C in the month of January, not to mention about the coldness of the flowing water in the stream. The whole journey of around 20 km was through that cold stream, with knee to waist deep water. The more I walked ahead the narrower the stream became, the narrower the stream the faster the flow of water. Each step was to be set with maximum alertness. By the half way, I understood this journey is like landing on the Moon, “no rescue at all”!!!. After 8 hours of tedious walk through waist high cold flowing waters, we reached the location I was searching for. My friend who came along helped me with fixing the tent and in cooking the dinner. In those winter months the days are very short in the Himalayas, it will be pitch-dark around 4:30 PM. Rested inside the tent with a camp fire in front of the tent to ward off wild animals. We both were so tired, but were deprived of sleep due to our wet feet and chilled body. Spend the whole night with headphones active. Next day, searched the whole area and we were blessed to find more than 80 plants of the species in buds. It was a wonderful moment to find such a rare species in its natural habitat, that also in abundance. I was really happy that a meticulous research on its location was proved right. Returned that afternoon with great pride. Hid the tent and few utensils we carried underneath few rocks, so as to avoid carrying them back and forth again in a few day’s of re-visit. The return was more memorable, sighting a herd of elephants, seventeen of them, blocking our way. It was a real photo shoot time for me, for around 3 continuous hours – nonstop!!!. However, I missed my 300mm/2.8 lens. By sunset those wild friends retired to their dense forest homes and we took the left over return journey under darkness, with several nosedives and tumbles. Luckily I had my camera equipments packed in water proof packs. Reached the village after 8 PM only to surprise the sleepy villagers. Again undertook the same thrilling journey in the first week of February for this wonderful photograph.

Cymbidium devonianum Paxton.

Epiphyte. With several short pseudo-stems arranged together to form a huge cluster. The pseudo-stems are clothed with broad overlapping acute sheaths. Leaves three to five from each stem, long as 14 to 20 cm and 2 to 4 cm in width, coriaceous, oblong to lanceolate, sub-acute, slightly narrowed to a channelled petiole. Inflorescence pendulous, with a few lanceolate sheaths, longer or of the same size as that of the leaves. Raceme many flowered. Flowers 2 to 3 cm across. Sepals and petals brownish to pale purple, with very narrow pale greenish margins; lip of a darker shade mottled with spots of even darker shade, also the base of the lip got a white patch and two dark purplish violet spots on the sides. Sepals sub-equal, oblong to lanceolate, acute, dorsal erect and lateral undulate. Petals slightly smaller than the petals, ovate-lanceolate, spreading. Both the sepals and petals are five nerved. Lip as long as petals, oblong, base decurved.

Cymbidium devonianum, Paxton.
Cymbidium devonianum Paxton.

The Pursuit

A plant which went scarce due to over collection for commercial purposes. I never encountered this species from the region despite several attempts. In the year 2011, I was in the Himalayas in the early summer with my flower hunt of the region. In the referral book, the blooming time of this species was mentioned as May and June, so decided to try my luck. In the town I was putting up, there are a few nurseries with some good collection of Cymbidiums. Made several enquires with them in vain to get some information about its natural habitats. The “politics” of orchid research is very volatile, so no informations will be passed on to anyone. However, from one of the nurseries, I was able to meet a person who had earlier collected the species from its natural habitat. He was kind enough to explain to me about its natural habitat, a place around 45 km away and at around 5500 to 7000 ft. He had collected the species from that area around 20 years ago, but got no idea about its blooming time or its flowers. Usually the information from local collectors will end in mismatches, as they are not aware about the exact identifications or scientific observations and its values. I decided to try my luck and made a trip to there with some essential commodities like food for a couple of days, tent and sleeping bag. The area said was totally devoid of any human settlement and the nearest village was around 7 km away. I pitched my tent on the cricket ground of the village and rested for the night. Next day with the help of a college going village boy, I started the hunt for the species. The trees of the region were tall and huge, with thick canopies prevented peering of the eyes. Came back in the evening with an aching neck. Due to some personal work the college boy was not able to accompany me the next day. I went all alone into that thick forest with a hope that luck will strike me before I encounter any wild animals. Venturing inside deep forests without company is like inviting danger. But, in some circumstances I am forced to make solo trips. That day was one of many days of my solo adventures. The higher I climbed the hill, the taller the trees were and the thicker the canopies. As there were a few water sources in that thick forest from which the near by villagers sourced water, the thick vegetation got some tracks also, which the villagers used to go to clean the water sources once in a while. I followed one such track which took me to a water source. Water sources are the most dangerous places inside the forest with presence of wild animals always. Searched the whole area but could not able to find any signs of the species. Thought of climbing the hill further up, the thick vegetation and stories of bear sightings made me think twice. But, the eagerness in me to find the species overtook the fear in me. The climb with heavy camera bag and the referral book was very hard, so dropped them on a safe place and proceeded further up the hill, through thickets and itching bushes for another 20 minutes, with no trace of the species. Another disappointing day in the hills. The lonely climb without result made me so frustrated, I was not able to sleep and spend the whole night looking at the night sky and counting the stars. Next day, two villagers accompanied me and we followed the stream and went to the other side of the hill. Climbed the hill from that side and surveyed the whole area. Finally, as it was “made for me”, we found a few huge cluster of this species with seven blooming racemes on the top of a 80 footer tree. I was overjoyed with the find, still the thoughts of climbing up that huge tree made my head spin. Rest was a miracle. The two villagers did everything for me, carried the camera and flashes and one of them even carried me on his shoulders up the tree and I got this wonderful photograph of the species. I will never forget this particular hunt, especially those moments up that tall tree!!!!  

Cymbidium aloifolium (L.) Swartz.

Epiphyte. Leaves coriaceous, obtuse, fleshy, linear-oblong, slightly notched at the apex with the base expanded than the apex, long, up to 40 to 50 cm and 2 to 4 cm in width. Inflorescence from the base of the pseudo-stem, variable in length, between 35 to 60 cm long. The peduncle with several acute scarious sheaths near the base. Raceme with many flowers. Flowers 2 to 3 cm across. Sepals and petals yellowish orange with petals slightly brighter than the sepals. Both with a radiating purple stripe, notably wider on petals than sepals. Lip white with purple parallel stripes on its base. Sepals narrowed, sub-equal, oblong, slightly oblanceolate, blunt, dorsal erect and lateral pairs somewhat falcate. Petals shorter than the sepals, ovate-oblanceolate, blunt. Lip as long as the sepals, oblong, disc with two broken lamellae and disconnected in the middle; apical lobe much decurved.

Cymbidium aloifolium, (L.) Swartz
Cymbidium aloifolium (L.) Swartz

The Pursuit

This species is purely a native to tropical valleys, also observed growing up to 3500 ft in some areas. My flower hunts on the Eastern side of the region, especially on the Assam highway helped me to notice this species growing in abundance on trees inside a few Tea estates. Also, in the monumental book of Sir. George King and Robert Pantling, the habitat is mentioned as “low elevations”. My desire to get the perfect descriptions of them by the authors, made me concentrate on the plants of that area which was around 300 to 450 ft altitude only. That place was around 70 km away from my place of stay, and also the temperature rises up to 37C during the mid-day hours (in the Himalayas the rising temperature is my enemy!!!!). When ever I do my survey on those areas I start my day very early, so that the survey of that area can be done well before the sun climbs right above my head. Got information from the local friends that a lot of plants are in bloom and went there in the early hours. The drive will take around 3 hours. On that day, I was forced to climb up some trees to look for another species, so the drive took for more time to reach. It was true, that a lot of trees were bearing this flowers in plenty. As it was in a Tea estate where there are a lot of workers, helping hands are of no scarcity. I found a very good plant at around 8 ft from ground with pendulous flowers hanging right in front of my eye level. The enthusiastic workers around were helping me by holding flashes from various sides to produce this wonderful photograph. It seemed all of the workers want to be part of this monumental work. The Manager of the Tea estate invited me for lunch and returned by late afternoon only. While working in the hills where comfort is at its minimum, a meal like that will always keep one happy.

Cremastra appendiculata (D Don) Makino.

Terrestrial. Leaves single, 15 to 25 cm long and 2 to 5 cm in width, plicate, elliptic to lanceolate, narrowed into a long petiole, veined. Flowers dropping, on a terete, erect, naked racemose arising from the bulbous stem, as long as 22 to 30 cm. Flowers pale pink with varying darker spots and streaks, especially on petals and lip. Sepals and petals narrowly lanceolate with the the former three veined. Both closely pressed at the base and the former slightly spreading towards the apex. Petals smaller than the sepals. Lip adnate at the base of the column, erect, linear, minutely sub-saccate at the base, 3 lobed at the apex. The lateral lobes oblong and divergent, the apical exceeding the lateral, oblong and blunt with a fleshy appendage near its base.

Cremastra wallichiana, Lindl. (Cremastra appendiculata, (D Don) Makino.)
Cremastra wallichiana Lindl. (Cremastra appendiculata (D Don) Makino.)

The Pursuit

This is a species I searched for three years. This species was never documented from the region and the drawing and the descriptions in the referral book was totally inadequate. No information on its habitat was available in any of the books except “at elevation of 6000 to 8000 ft”. Another confusion also prevailed in the form of the number of leaves. King and Pantling mentioned as “Leaves usually two”, but in other referral photographs collected from various scientific works showed only solitary leaf. However, I got a clear idea of its flowering season from various works and decided for a detailed survey during early monsoon days especially around 7000 ft. With the monsoon the leeches are very active at those altitudes, also the forest floor will be full of undergrowth, making it a very difficult task to find a small plant which hardly grows for 30 cm. Determined to find, I repeatedly visited a hill slope with semi-alpine trees all over. That area got one more obstacle in the form of some itching plants, which causes too much itching and irritation for days. The search continued for several days, with no trace of Cremastra. However, every other day I found some other species, so the leech bites I got every day was worth a deal. Finally, on the 17th day of survey at that place, I found three plants of this species, one in full bloom and the other two in buds. The plants were hardly 25 to 30 cm in height only, so I have to sit flat on the forest floor for documenting it, which made the leeches so healthy!!!. Every evening I spend considerable time in pulling them off from my body. Even the “imported” leech guards we use for those terrains were of no use. Documented it very well to my great satisfaction and returned home with all those leeches all over my body. While comparing the photographs with various descriptions on that evening, I found out the peculiarity in the lip of the flower. Wished to a have a low angle photograph to bring out its details. Travelled again to the area the next day to see the second plant also in bloom, which was around 30 cm in height. To get a low angle shot of a 30 cm height plant on a forest floor full of leeches is like offering a grand feast to the leech community. My previous encounters made me insert cotton balls into my nostrils and ear holes. Lied flat on the forest floor for that particular low angle photograph, the rest was not something I want to experience again!!!! I still remember the satisfaction I got on that evening, when I transferred the photographs into my laptop.

Panisea uniflora (Lindl.) Lindl.

Epiphyte. Pseudo-bulbs as long as 2 to 4cm, coespitose, ovoid, mammillate, wrinkled throughout, attached are a few fibrous sheaths at the base. Leaves in pairs, narrowly oblong, acuminate, slightly narrowed at the base, sessile, 4 to 6 cm long and 1 to 1.5 cm in width. Flowers solitary, on a very short peduncle from the base of the pseudo-bulb. Flowers 2 cm across, sepals and petals greenish yellow, lip of the same shade on its apex and gradually progressing to bright yellow on the base side, also with few spots orange spots. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, sub-acute, spreading, five veined. Petals shorter than the sepals, sub-acute, broadly lanceolate, mid veined. Lip oblong, with a very short claw at the base, the side lobes erect and narrow with their acute apices pointing forward.

Coelogyne uniflora, Lindl (Panisea uniflora, (Lindl) Lindl.
Coelogyne uniflora Lindl. (Panisea uniflora (Lindl.) Lindl.

The Pursuit

A rare species of the wild, I had encountered only a few plants in whole of the last 4 years of survey in the region. The find was also accidental. I was surveying the tropical valleys of the region for some other species, and encountered the mammillate (nipple shaped) bulbs of this species, probably the only species of the region with that shape. The drawings of the referral book was not so clear enough to make an understanding of the same. Made some drawings of the bulbs and leaves and some photographs before leaving the area. Verified from various sources and came to the conclusion that it is Coelogyne uniflora Lindl (Panisea uniflora (Lindl) Lindl. Visited the plant again and again to see the appearance of buds. On each visit I and my friend surveyed the whole area in vain to find more specimens of it. By the mid of summer buds came and it started blooming. Working in the tropical valleys and also in the peak of summer is very tiring, not to mention about precise micro photography with 7 to 10 flashes at one go. The flowers are also solitary and on very short peduncle much closer to the pseudo-bulbs. This formation also made the entire documentation very arduous. Scarcity of the species left no options, other than to shoot the one in front of me. Finally after careful observations, selected this particular flower and produced this wonderful photograph. The lip of this flower got some orange spots which were not documented on camera earlier by anyone, even though it was reported on texts as early as 1888. As I know in the coming years I may be not able to find this species, I put extra efforts to document those orange spots on its lip with additional lighting techniques. The whole work took several hours on that day which saw the mercury up by many notches.

Coelogyne ochracea Lindl.

Epiphytic, pseudo-bulbs ovate-oblong to cylindric, furrowed, as long as 4 to 6 cm and about 1 to 2 cm in diameter, attached to a stout rhizome few centimeters apart. Leaves 8 to 12 cm long and about 2 cm in width, oblong, acute, narrowed to the channelled petiole. Racemes from the base of the old pseudo-bulbs, shorter than the leaves, erect or slightly decurved. Peduncle stout and with several large imbricating sheaths. Flowers white with yellow blotched lip, also very fragrant. Sepals and petals pure white, the side lobes of the lip has two blotches of yellow margined with orange red and two united orbicular yellow blotch with orange red margins on the base. Sepals sub-equal, oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, spreading. Petals, slightly longer than the sepals, much narrower, also tapering on both sides. Lip oblong, constricted about the middle, lateral lobes large, incurved, the edges serrulate; terminal lobe rotund to oblong, blunt, entire or very slightly notched at the apex, the disc with two ridges.

Coelogyne ochracea, Lindl.
Coelogyne ochracea Lindl.

 The Pursuit

The flowers of this species have got a very soothing fragrance. Not an uncommon species of the tropical forests. The unique shape of its pseudo-bulbs make it easily identifiable. I had photographed this species in bloom several times without much satisfaction. Last year it was decided to reshoot this flower in a much better way. My earlier interaction with this species made me well aware of its habitats and blooming days. Found a healthy plant from a small tree and waited for it to bloom. During the months of April and May this region of the Himalayas receive some heavy summer rains on few occasions. The summer rains are widely welcomed by the people of the region, as it fills the already dried streams and fields. Exactly on the day of my healthy plant’s blooming, the region received heavy rains. Watching the rains through my window I cursed myself for missing a wonderful opportunity this season too. By the time the rains stopped all those flowers in bloom were wet and with water drops attached. I knew those photographs will not be satisfactory. As the particular season is full of blooming activities each hour mattered for me. After a lot of thinking and planning I decided to spend one more day there to test my luck with the species. The next day was pretty sunny and I left home as early as sunrise in search of more flowers in bloom. Searched for an hour and found a few plants in bloom on several trees, but at 10 to 15 ft height. The trees were unbranched on their lower portion which denied a good seating posture for me to shoot. Collected some bamboos from the area, tied them together with small wooden logs in between to make a ladder like structure. Climbed up the tree with the help of that and found a few good flowers and shot some photographs of my imagination. The fragrance of the flowers was so soothing, it lingered along for a long time.

Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don.

Epiphyte, observed as lithophytes also. Pseudo-bulbs coespitose, narrowly ovoid, tapering to the apex, enveloped partly with fibrous sheaths. Leaves membranous, elliptic, acute, tapering to the base, sessile, about 4 to 7 cm long and 3 to 3 cm in width at its centre, deciduous during flowering season. Peduncle from the base of the pseudo-bulb, enveloped in tubular sheaths. Flowers solitary, throughout white, except the lip which is speckled with brown spots and streaks. Sepals sub-equal, oblong, acute, spreading and are five nerved. Petals much narrower than the sepals but slightly longer, obtuse, three nerved. Lip shortly clawed, sub-orbicular, without side lobes, expanding into a wide mouth with emarginate apex, the disc with numerous fringed lamellae.

Coelogyne humilis, Lindl (Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don
Coelogyne humilis Lindl (Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don.

The Pursuit

The deciduous nature of this species during the flowering season is a surprise to all flower watchers. Like the phrase “out of the blue”, one day all the of trees in its habitat will be blooming with attractive white flowers. I had studied this plant in detail and surveyed possible habitats and spotted them when they were in leaves only. The fibrous sheaths which envelop the bulbs will help to identify the species. As I was aware of the flowering season, I decided to visit the place during those months. In the year 2012, I visited the area during the flowering season. To my surprise I found a lot of trees on the way itself with this white beauty in full bloom. Proceeded ahead, deep inside the forest to be away from the peering eyes of the tourists. As it blooms in the winter months, which are devoid of dusty and gusty winds, finding a perfect flower is not a difficult affair. However, getting a perfect photograph of an orchid flower with a wide mouthed lip is always some what tricky. Irrespective of the position of the flash, it produces dark shades inside the lip. I have to bring out all my expertise in “micro-flash use” to bring out this wonderful photograph. The winter months also provide a good environment to spend considerable time to study and document each flower.

Coelogyne flaccida Lindl.

Epiphyte. Pseudo-bulbs arranged close together, ovoid-cylindric, with many large fibrous brown sheaths at its base, 4 to 7 cm long and 2 cm in diameter. Leaves in pairs, slightly coriaceous, narrowly oblong, acuminate, narrowed into a long channelled petiole of around 2 to 4 cm long, leaves 6 to 10 cm long and around 2 to 3 cm in width. Raceme arises from the base of the pseudo-bulb, almost as long as the leaves or sometimes more, decurved. Peduncle short and with large lax sheaths at its base. The sepals and petals are pale brown and lip white with many streaks of purple and yellow spots and markings. Sepals sub-equal, oblong-lanceolate, acute, spreading. Petals much narrower than the sepals, slightly shorter, acute. Lip oblong, the side lobes long, with acute apices; the terminal lobe oblong; the disc with three yellow ridges. The flowers are of a displeasing smell.

Coelogyne flaccida, Lindl
Coelogyne flaccida Lindl.

 The Pursuit

The locals of the region keep away from this plant during its flowering season due to its unpleasant smelling flowers. Neither do they plant species in their home. This is a plant of the low altitudes and a summer blooming species. The flowers are very beautiful despite its unpleasant odour. Spotted the plant on routine surveys on several trees at low altitudes. It was noticed that most of the plants are grown at medium heights on trees which made my climbing efforts very easy. The flowers of the whole open together which makes it easy to spot. So every day I looked for them to bloom. Finally by the mid of March, with summer temperature rising, I got the species in bloom, plenty of them all over the region. Carefully observed a lot of flowers to find a perfect one to shoot and made this wonderful photograph of the species. The unpleasant odour of the flower will make everyone move away from it quickly. However, I spend considerable time there to look for the pollinators which frequented the flowers.

Coelogyne stricta (D.Don) Schltr. – the variety form.

A look alike of the species plant. However, not found as common as it. The only notable difference is in the size of the pseudo-bulb and in the colour of the flowers. The bulbs of this variety are comparatively smaller than that of the species ones, and also the flowers are generally white to pale greenish white. Sepals are pale greenish white and petals pure white, rest of the flowers is as the species itself with the unpleasant odour also.

Coelogyne elata, Lindl (Coelogyne stricta, (D Don) Schltr
Coelogyne elata Lindl (Coelogyne stricta (D Don) Schltr.)

The Pursuit

Never ever heard of the white coloured Coelogyne elata Lindl (Coelogyne stricta (D Don) Schltr.So after documented the species, I had marked on the page of my reference book as “done” (a usual practice after finishing work on each species). However, while on a search to the same area, where I found the species, we found a few plants of this variety in buds which are unusually pale in colour. The unusual colouration of the buds caught my attention and I decided to have a comparative study of those buds with the species buds which produced the ochraceous flowers. To my bad luck I was not able to find any ochraceous ones in buds. So I was totally depended on the photographs from my collection. It was obvious that these pale coloured buds are rather unusual. Then the difference in the bulbs are also came to my notice. Out of curiosity I decided to cancel all the trips in the coming days and wait till the pale buds open up. On the sixth day, I still remember it being a bright sunny morning, with a clear view of the Lord, the mighty Kanchenjunga. On that day I was a able to have this wonderful photograph. Yes, it is a variety, with white to greenish white flowers.

Coelogyne stricta (D.Don) Schltr.

Epiphyte with comparatively large sized cylindric, smooth pseudo-bulbs, sheathed at the base, long as 6 to 13 cm and 4 to 6 cm in diameter. Bulbs are attached at a distance more than 4 cm apart on very stout sheathed rhizomes. Leaves in pairs, slightly coriaceous, elliptic oblong, acute, narrowed at the base to a long petiole. Leaves as long as 15 to 25 cm and 2.5 to 4 cm in width. Peduncle arising between the leaves from the apex of the adult bulbs, rather short or of the same size of the leaves, naked on the lower portion, with many closely arranged imbricate sheaths just below the raceme. Raceme 7 to 10 cm long, distichous, many flowered. Flowers 2 to 4 cm across, sepals and petals pale ochraceous, the lip white, the middle lobe with a broad wide spot of yellow spread across and with two parallel purple streaks. The flowers are of an unpleasant smell. Sepals sub-equal, oblong, sub-acute, spreading, three veined. Petals very narrowed, slightly longer than the petals, sub-acute, single veined. Lip elongate, the lower part oblong and with narrow entire side lobes, separated from the sub-orbicular anterior lobe by an erose edged sinus; anterior lobe irregularly erose, undulate, obtuse; the disc with two erose-crenulate lamellae from the base to almost apex.

Coelogyne elata, Lindl (Coelogyne stricta (D Don) Schltr
Coelogyne elata Lindl (Coelogyne stricta (D Don) Schltr).

The Pursuit

A sub-tropical species, which blooms along with the summer rains. Its large pseudo-bulbs and long leaves in pair draws attention even to casual plant hunters not to mention about explorers like me. I spotted this plant long back, but missed it in bloom for 3 years in a row. Determined to photograph it in bloom, I planned my trip to the region in the year 2012. The location was a place across a deep valley however the distance to be covered to reach there through the winding road was not less than 18 km. The road was also not motorable in any way for light vehicles. We were forced to hire a four-wheel drive vehicle at a very high price. The “hiring negotiations” took quite some time and delayed our journey till noon. The “expert” driver of the vehicle mis-calculated a muddy portion of the drive at the “9th mile curve” and got his precious asset stuck in knee deep mud. All his expertise went in vain and we were forced to have a long walk that afternoon with looming dark clouds over the hills. The location of the flowers was more than 6 km away and uphill. No option was left with us other than trekking. Reached the spot with much difficulty around 4 PM with blessings from the sky in the form of a heavy shower. Waited inside a makeshift shed for the rains to stop. The dense jungle coupled with cloudy skies made the area darker much before the sunset. I rushed to climb up the tree and photograph the flowers. The entire process took hardly 40 minutes to get a beautiful photograph like this. By the time I finished my task, it was pitch dark and with the help of my “Kathmandu” head lamp, we started the journey back. By the time we reached our stranded vehicle, its driver had disappeared leaving the vehicle back. To be frank, I really enjoyed that whole night walk, back to the base camp and to my surprise there was not a drop of rain that whole night!!!