Framed Himalaya: Lachen Valley (Coffee Table Book) 📖🌄

Framed Himalaya Front Cover

This book is a tribute to the majestic Himalaya, mountains shrouded in clouds and rainbows, flight of a nine-colored bird, blossoming plants and galloping animals, howling winds, impatient prayer flags, rugged mountain people, a dying culture, and a warm cup of butter tea.

This video is also available on YouTube.

This video is also available at Kickstarter.

Framed Himalaya Coffee Table Book

A coffee table book with photographs of nature’s splendor from the mystical valley of Lachen in the Eastern recesses of the Himalaya.
For the people of Lachen without whom this book would not be possible.

Framed Himalaya Design & Layout

Framed Himalaya Coffee Table Book: Design and Layout

Framed Himalaya Elevation

Taking you into the abode of the nomadic mountain dwellers, yak herders and horse riders!

Framed Himalaya Classification

Framed Himalaya Classification

Pleione hookeriana cluster at Phemkaru (1)

Pleione hookeriana cluster at Phemkaru

Late in the growing season around the end of September the plant loses its leaves and the flowers bloom in shades of pink to almost white. This epiphytic plant flowers in large clusters at times, covering up an entire branch that from a distance may seem like a branch of pinkish hues.

On our first encounter with this species we were driving up from Lachen and around the little hamlet of Phemkaru we noticed a large cluster of this orchid. They were growing on a clump of moss on a high branch of a Hemlock tree. We tried our best to photograph the orchid perched at the top. We cranked out our 300mm zoom lens, climbed a hillock opposite the branch, balanced precariously on a rock but ended up with terrible angles. Disheartened we started to look for alternative ideas. One of us had the bright idea of trying to climb the tree on which the orchid rested. While exploring the area around the tree to find a suitable foothold to start the climb we noticed around a dozen individual orchids growing on a moss infested rocks under the tree and at a comfortable height and angle to get this shot. We learnt an important lesson that day. One should always do a bit of a reconnaissance survey of the immediate habitat before spending much energy and time on a species that may potentially be growing at a convenient spot.

Pleione hookeriana cluster at Phemkaru (2)

Pleione hookeriana cluster at Phemkaru

Spiranthes sinensis

Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames / Spiranthes australis (R.Br.) Lindl. – Chinese Lady’s Tresses

The beauty of this tiny yet elegant terrestrial orchid is in the details as the tiny flowers grow along a spiral on the stem. This is a perfect example of why one needs to walk and closely hunt for flowers rather than simply zoom by along the highway. The tiny orchids usually grow in clumps that may include 4 or 5 to over a dozen individuals and are often easy to miss even in large clumps. Interestingly we noticed a large number of individuals growing in grassy open slopes along the road suggestive of the fact that these plants may actually benefit from slight disturbance from human activities and grazing.

According to Wikipedia:

Spiranthes sinensis, commonly known as the Chinese Spiranthes, is a species of orchid occurring in much of eastern Asia, west to the Himalayas, south and east to New Zealand, and north to Siberia.

Framed Himalaya Roscoea purpurea & White Mutant

Roscoea purpurea: Come spring, this attractive perennial flower, profusely covers mountain slopes in
purple hues. (L) A rare white mutant found in its natural settings.

Framed Himalaya Wild Drumstick Primroses

The wild drumstick primroses: It is among the first flowers of the season and is used by the locals to mark the advent of spring. We were lucky to have noticed this rare white variety (image on left).

Framed Himalaya sample spread, a work in progress

Sample spread, a work in progress.

Framed Himalaya sample image spread

Each image will be accompanied by a brief write up consisting of Anecdotes from the field, testimonials of locals talking about the local uses of different species or folklore and scientific descriptions.
The book will be arranged into chapters following different seasons and the affiliated floral and faunal species along with their associated elevation zones.

The Journey

Our journey into the mountains began in the year 2011 as researchers working on different ecological and social aspects of the valley of Lachen. The valley is situated on the rooftop of the world stretching through the steep Himalayan range and the magnificent Tibetan plateau, along the international borders of India and China.
Initially, we had a very pedantic understanding of the region, its people, their governance system, forest type and the landscape based on articles and books. As we spent more time living with the people, understanding their surroundings, culture, beliefs, the mountains and its rich biodiversity, we gained an insight on more than what we had originally bargained for.
At the end of our four years of research work in this landscape- we bore in our heart an immense sense of awe and at the same time a haunting melancholy for the people and the land, that was- that is- and that what shall remain.

Panoramic view of Gurudongmar lake

Panoramic view of Gurudongmar lake at 17100 feet (above mean sea level).

Framed Himalaya Driving towards the ice capped peaks

Driving towards the ice capped peaks.

Framed Himalaya the elusive blue poppy

The elusive blue poppy.

Framed Himalaya Friends from the US

Friends from the U.S. Alexa and Alison marvel at the rare Sikkim Rhubarb plant at 15,500 feet above sea level.

Framed Himalaya Team

Framed Himalaya Team

Framed Himalaya Member Tenzing Ingty

Tenzing Ingty is a PhD scholar at the University of Massachusetts; working under Distinguished Professor of Biology, Dr. Kamal Bawa ( His research interests include topics in global climate change and indigenous people of the Himalayan landscape. A firm believer in communicating science with non-academic groups, he has published articles in popular magazines and book chapters. A passion for photography has resulted in them being published at leading media outlets.

Framed Himalaya Member Barkha Subba

As a girl born in the lap of the Himalaya, Barkha Subba has extensive knowledge on the local customs, biodiversity and landscapes of the mountains. An ecologist by profession, she has a keen interest in the Himalayan flora and fauna, history, culture and society. Travelling, photography, finding and studying frogs, documenting stories of ethnic people is her passion. Presently she is pursuing her PhD at ATREE and has been working on the distribution and diversity of amphifauna in the high altitudes of Eastern Himalaya.

Framed Himalaya Member Samar Momin

A Civil Engineer and Traveller, Samar Momin has worked on several projects in Kalimpong, at the foothills of the Himalaya, on various projects in the fields of Construction Management and Solid Waste Management. He is a footloose traveler, explorer and an Everest Base Camp summiter. He is responsible for running the Kickstarter campaign, social media campaign and handling the logistics involved with printing and shipping the book.

Framed Himalaya Member Dharmendra Lamsal

Dharmendra Lamsal is a senior research fellow working under Dr. Mahesh Sankaran at National Centre for biologocal Sciences, on alpine ecosystems. He has worked in the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, on projects about glaciers and climate change. He has conducted numerous expeditions to many glaciers in the Sikkim Himalayas. As a local from the State of Sikkim, he plays a critical role as the teams link to the local communities and government agencies besides being a rich source of information and local knowledge.

Framed Himalaya Drivers and Field Assistant

Drivers and Field Assistant

Framed Himalaya Pledges Pie Chart

25% of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the Lachen village council to be spent on community development projects like the local school needs- Stationery and equipment. The remaining 75% will be will be accorded to research in the Himalaya.

Conversations on Pleione hookeriana

5 thoughts on “Framed Himalaya: Lachen Valley (Coffee Table Book) 📖🌄

  1. Pingback: JATUN SISA Botanical Garden and Sanctuary of Wildlife | ✿❀ Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

  2. Pingback: Lotti B Schwab and Her Love of Native Orchids in Austria | ✿❀ Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

  3. Pingback: Charlie Robino: Loving Orchids in Far North Queensland | ✿❀ Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

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