The Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers has meaning beyond beauty and bounty for Sikhs – who believe the exotic flora, took root when all 108 Gods and Goddesses showered flowers on Sikhs Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh Ji, when he achieved oneness with God in his previous incarnation.
There are many more tales told about the sanctity of the Valley of Flowers within Hindu mythology and epics: Living in India, most of us are aware of ‘Saneevanji Booti’ which Sri Hanuman Ji got for Sri Lakshman Ji (Hindu’s Lord Ram’s brother) when Sri Lakshman got injered in the battle against Ravan. And this was the only Booti (medication) which saved Sri Lakshman ji. Hindu’s beleive that the Gods showered flowers from Heven incelebration of Sri Hanuman’s effort, hence all the flowers took root in the Valley.
Hidden from the probing eyes of civilization, this valley had been known as the inhabitants as the Bhyundar Valley, the playground of Fairies. This modern day Garden of Eden was introduced to the outside world in 1938 by the famous mountaineer, explorer, botanist Frank S. Smythe and later author of the book “The Valley of Flowers”
Flora and Fauna Amidst the many species of flora, roam species of animals unique to this meadow namely; Himalayan Birds, Phigents, Butterflies, Tendulas, Musk Deer, Bharal – Blue Sheep, Himalayan Black Bears, Thar, Snow Leopards and Tale-less Rats. The valley hosts over 300 species of flora, including a variety of herbal plants such as Bergenias, Wood Lilies, Trillium Govanianums and Marsh Orchids to name but a few. Exclusive to the Valley are breathtakingly beautiful plants such as the Arisaema Costatum also known as Arum which resembles the head of a cobra, the Unique Blue Poppy and the Saussurea obvallata known as the Brahma Kamal the Lotus referred to as the King of the Valley.
The Journey to the Valley begins at Gobind Dham and follows the route to Hemkunt Sahib, then 3km from the Lakshman Ganga Bridge, the route diverts towards the Valley. This route continues along the Pushpawarti River and, further up the river on its right bank, another bridge leads to the Valley of Flowers at an altitude of 3658m above sea level. The Valley is a protected National Park, a wildlife guard in the employ of the Forest Department issues entry permits to the park at a fee. From this check point the entrance to the Valley is a further 3km walk. Camping, picking flowers and littering are prohibited in the Valley. There are myths that fairies inhabit the areas of this Valley and those who wander deep into their domain can be carried off. In 1939 Joan Margaret Legge, a botanist from Kew Botanical Gardens in London, fell to her death whilst collecting floral specimens. Hers is the only grave that lies in the valley. Etched on her tombstone are the words taken from the Christian Holy Bible from the book of Psalms 1.21: “I will lift up mine eyes into the hills from whence cometh my help.”
Asian fans racially abused in Euro 2012 stadium
Sol Campbell has told the BBC’s Panorama that Euro 2012 should not have been awarded to Poland and Ukraine, due to the racist and violent attitudes of some supporters.
The former England captain advised fans to “stay home, watch it on TV… don’t even risk it.”
UEFA, European football’s governing body, have defended their decision, and said awarding the tournament to the two nations was an opportunity to improve their image and tackle social challenges.
Chris Rogers attended one match in Ukraine where he saw Asian men being kicked and punched, despite supporting the home team.
Hemkund Sahib : Hemkund is a Sanskrit name – Hem means ‘Snow’ and Kund stands for ‘Bowl’ is one of Sikh’s pilgrimage devorted to Guru Gobin Singh Ji(Sikh’s tenth Guruji) Henkund Sahib is situated in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India. It is located in the Himalayas at height of 15,200ft and only accessible by foot from Gobindghat. This is surrounded by seven mountain peaks, which are covered in snow and each peak is adorned by Nishan Sahib (Sikh Flag) on each cliff.
Here Guru Gobind Singh Ji meditated in his previous life, until he acheived oneness with God, during Sat Yug, the ‘era of truth’. During Sat Yug Guru ji battle with fierce demons and once they were defeated he went to Hemkund to meditate until he was called upon by God. After Guruji realized his oneness with God, he was reborn in Kal Yug – ‘the age of darkness’ as son of Sikh’s ninth Guru – Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib ji and Mata Gujri Ji.
Guruji tells his own story in his auto-biography(Bachitira Natak), He say:
Ab main apnee katha bakhaano.
Tap saadhat iih bidh muhe aano.
Hemkunt Parbat hai jahaan,
Sapt sring sobhit hai tahaan.
The Guru Ji tells us about his previous incarnation, that in the Himalayan range, where there is Sapt Sring Mountain, on that hill he meditated the Name of God. In his meditation when he became one with God, then the Almighty ordained him to take birth in India in order to crush the cruel rulers.
”My father and mother meditated on the incomprehensible. They both practiced the highest yoga through diverse spiritual efforts. Their devout service in the love of God pleased the Almighty who commanded me to take human form in this world. I did not like to come. God sent me into the world with a mandate saying, ‘I cherish thee as my son and send thee to establish the path of truth. Go into the world and establish virtue and keep the people, away from evil.’When my father came to Triveni (Allahabad) he daily devoted himself to meditation and charity. There at Allahabad the dazzling light manifested itself into human form.”
The Guru was so much engrossed in the Name of God, that he did not want to take re-birth. But some how the Almighty, persuaded him and he was born at Patna Sahib.
Dr Indarjit Singh OBE CBE has become the first Turban-wearing Sikh to be appointed a life peer in the House of Lords.
Dr Singh, who is the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, will sit as an independent Lord.
He played a central role in the landmark case of Mandla v Dowell Lee in 1982, which established an important degree of protection for Sikhs to wear the symbols of their faith.
He also has played his part in promoting inter-faith understanding, having been a founding member and current vice chair of the Inter Faith Network UK. Dr Singh is also head of the Sikh Chaplaincy Service, which works for the pastoral care of Sikhs in prisons. He is also the co-coordinator of pastoral care for Sikhs in hospitals and in the Armed Forces, and a trustee of the World Congress of Faiths.
Dr Singh has represented the UK Sikh community on national occasions, including the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph and the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. In 2008 he became the first Sikh to address a major conference of at the Vatican, when he gave a keynote address on the need for respect and tolerance between world faiths.
Dr Singh said he was honoured to become a life peer and wanted to use his position to further promote harmony and tolerance between different communities