Oh my 'Jeweled Land', I pine for you…
Each time I see a landscape of lush green flourishing across the road, my memories flash back to my hometown. And thoughts of sweet home linger in my mind all through the day. Born in a place, where nature and scenic beauty play a vital role in life, I always miss the exquisite panorama of vegetation away from home.
What I miss the most here in Delhi is the beautiful backyard at my home, where my mom grew vegetables for our daily needs. Every morning as I used to wake up, fragrance much sweeter than honeydew and fresh green leaves on the creepers around my bedroom window would greet me. The emerald green grasses around my house, not only refurbished my humble abode, but also lent a sense of serenity.
It’s not paradise I am talking about, but my homeland Manipur, `the Jewel of India`. The weather remains pleasant throughout the year. Not many electronic devices are required, as frequent showers keep us cool and refreshed.
Out of many, the `Dzukou Valley`- located on the border of Manipur and Nagaland, also called the valley of flowers is one of the most beautiful places in the region. ‘Dzukou’, in the local dialect means ‘cold water` referring to the ice-cold stream that flows through the valley.
Sightseeing is close to my heart and it is this valley where I had my first encounter with the splendour of Mother Nature. I was in XII standard when I along with other hostellers went trekking to this valley sans my parents` knowledge. The whole journey was a tiresome one due to difficult-terrain and non-availability of facilities. But, when we reached the place, I forgot all my weariness after seeing the valley that looked like a carpet of wild flowers.
Generally, wild herbs and shrubs sprout along the riverbanks in summer, while lilies in white and pink, euphorbias, aconitums and hundreds of other botanical species in varied colours adorn the valley in monsoon. The valley is surrounded by hills, caves & rocks while a stream shaped like the curves of Venus snakes through Dzukou, which remains frozen during winter.
The exquisite sight captured my heart and I did not want to return from the breathtaking spot. Now, thousands of miles away in national capital, I miss the pristine beauty of Dzukou Valley, and the lovely little flowers that toss their heads in sprightly dance whenever wind blows.
My second exploration was the Loktak Lake and Sendra Island located at Moirang in Manipur, 48 kms from Imphal. The lake appeared to be spreading the message of eternal peace under the torrid sun. Looking down at the lake, I could see reflection of the heavenly moon that gave a mysterious touch to the spot.
Also called the only Floating Lake in the world with its floating Phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition), the saucer shaped lake is the largest freshwater lake in northeastern India, which serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply.
With orchids of around 500 varieties, the state has earned fame due to the habitation of terrestrial Lily or `Siroi Lily`, which is a rare species found only on the hilltops of Siroi Hill in Ukhrul District. During the flowering season, it’s so eye-catchy that it is usually referred to as the most beautiful lily in the world attracting lots of tourists.
This year though, I am deeply saddened by the poor monsoons, as the state is declared a drought-hit along with other northeastern states.
Besides the agricultural woes, I fear losing the greenery at my window when I return. The mystery of the orchids that bloom creating an exotic feel, the valley of flowers and the innumerable picturesque scenes of the land should be preserved at any cost.
Moreover, human neglect must be prevented to save this God’s gift from being ravaged……