Shimla: Much of the Himalayan lands in Himachal have a forest cover that hold a variety of trees, which are not only help to moderate the climate but also protect the environment and enhance the scenic beauty of the hills.
With the onset of summer, Buras also called buransh (Rhododendron) have begun dot the landscapes around the city.
Found growing away in the wild between 1800 and 2800 meters altitude, the red coloured Rhododendron flower was declared the state flower in 2007.
The status has helped in over exploitation of the wild flower, which residents earlier used to harvest relentlessly each summer for making juices, squashes and other beverages.
A walk through the woods around Himachal Pradesh University, around the localities of Bharari, Taradevi, Jakhu forest roads and Sanjauli are prized these days because of the large number of trees in bloom.
Tourists who notice these flowering trees are eager to get themselves photographed in such scenic settings, with some just clicking close up shots of the flowers as memorable moments spent in the hill station.
The Rhododendron flower also hold nutritional and health properties and is used by traditional nature medicine practitioners for curing common colds, asthma, some heart ailments and digestive disorders.
Two years ago, when I for the first time came to Shimla, on a uphill walk to Jakhu temple, when I first got to these flowers of immense beauty up close, the impression was case permanently that I cherish even today.
The walk through a Rhododendron lit forest with my brother, sister, brother in law and their child is one of the first impressions of this city that has held me here.
Birds chirping about and monkeys frolicking among the flowers in these silent sentinels of Shimla, simply add to the beauty of the town that even attracted the mighty rulers of the British Empire, about two centuries ago, to this hill station.
Photos by Sanjeeva Pandey