The National Flower of Bhutan
On the rocky terrains of Bhutan, around 3,500 – 4,500 meters above ground, beyond the tree lines, grows the Himalayan Blue Poppies. These flowers also called Euitphel Metog Hoem by the locals are especially elusive, too rare, that it was considered a myth before being discovered by the British explorer, Eric Bailey. The blue poppies, which has also been called the ghost of the Himalayas, can be found only during May to July when the annual monsoon clouds bring fresh rains to the mystifying mountains of Bhutan.
Finding a blue poppy in an area where the only other plants that grow are mosses and wild weeds is like stumbling upon golden dusts. It is said to be piercing blue, almost turquoise in color, it captivates one’s eye and its beauty, almost breath-taking. For flower enthusiasts, this is the perfect time to travel to the last Shangri-La, the land is filled with flowers of the wild, with over 600 plant species where 360 of them are species of orchids.
The monsoons make the treks a little more difficult than normal, you will come across slippery rocks, overflowing rivers and not to mention, bugs like gnats, who bite, and of course, leeches. What is a rainy trek without leeches! There is something alluring about trekking in this season, though, despite all the bugs, you will feel one with the mountains, one with the trees, one with everything around you. There won’t be many hikers around you, it could be just you and your group, and this solitude is almost healing in the most unusual way.
Accidentally stumbling upon the flower, has been the experience of a couple of trekkers. I, however, might be one of the unlucky few who has never set eyes on the elusive blue poppies of Bhutan. The fact, though, that I have never laid eyes on this rare flora, heightens my desire to push through the mountains of the kingdom in order to catch a glimpse of this beauty. And even though I might not be the best trekker to ever walk the planet, I will go to the mountains, once more, to bask in all its beauty and to witness the beauty of the blue poppies. May the odds be in my favor.