Thursday, January 30, 2014

Primulas below the Lhonak La Pass, North Sikkim

In the summer of 1987, I think it was late May, I walked with Brigadier Sidhu and Major B V Naresh of the Indian Army from Thangu in North Sikkim to the village of Muguthang in the Lhonak Valley. The route to Lhonak leads over the high Lhonak La pass which had a lot of snow even in  May. I remember reaching the top of the pass and then finding a sheer snow slope on the other side! Rather than cutting steps and walking down the snow slope, I just sat down on my bottom and slid down the slope reaching the bottom in record time!

About an hour after leaving Thangu we came to this  meadow at the bottom of the pass. . These primulas were blooming on the meadow.  Since that spring day in 1987, I have looked for these huge primulas elsewhere  in the Himalaya but am yet to find them  - they were perfection!

Looking at them, I was reminded of R.L. Holdsworth's comments in Frank Smythe's book The Valley of Flowers which I reproduce here.

" All of a sudden I realised that I was simply surrounded by primulas. At once the day seemed to brighten perceptibly. Forgotten were all pains and cold and lost porters. And what a primula it was! All over shelves and terraces it grew often with roots in running water. At the most it stood six inches high, but it's flowers were enormous in stature and ample in number.... In all my mountain wanderings I had not seen a more beautiful flower than this primula....."

My sentiments as well on seeing these primulas bloom below the pass on that misty May morning with snow threatening!
For more photographs of the Sikkim Himalaya please do visit


  1. You are right re the size of these flowers...they are huge! I have not seen a comparable size anywhere are one lucky guy!

  2. Hi Sujoy,
    I am visiting Gangtok in April mid. Would you please suggest some of good photographic points in Gangtok



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