The King of Himalayan Flowers : Brahma Kamal Blossoms Once in Year

Brahma kamal (Saussurea Obvallata) is a species of flowering plant in Asteraceae. It is native from India to Southwest China and is found in Himalayas at an altitude of around 4500 m.

The flower finds mention in the scriptures and is offered in many holy shrines, including Kedarnath, Badrinath and Tunganath.

Brahma Kamal being a very rare flower that blooms only one night in a year is also called the King of Himalayan Flowers,it takes two hours to bloom to it's full size.

The name of this flower can be translated to mean, 'The Lotus of Brahma'. Lord Brahma,the creator of the Universe, is always depicted as sitting on a huge lotus and holding one in his hand. Another name for Lord Brahma is Kanja or the one born out of the water. So, schools of thought say that Brahma was born from the navel of Lord Vishnu while others say that he was born from a huge white lotus that we call the Brahma Kamal.

The Golden Lotus: When the Pandavas were in exile in the forests, Draupadi accompanied them. She was constantly tormented by painful memories of her insult in the Kaurava court. The hardships of a forest life also took its toll on her. 

One evening she saw a beautiful lotus float away in the stream. After she saw this 'golden' lotus bloom, she felt a strange happiness that was almost spiritual. But the lotus withered as quickly as it had bloomed. Draupadi sent her most devoted husband Bhima to look for it and on his quest for the flower he met Hanuman (Bhima's elder brother). As a lotus is usually pink, 'golden' may mean a shimmering 'white'.

The flower is highly valued in Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda for its healing properties. It is extensively used by the local population to treat cuts and bruises.

Its natural habitat has been facing shrinkage over the last few decades because of global warming, human encroachment and over-harvesting.

Brahma Kamal is an excellent example of plant life at high mountains (3,000-4,600 m). The flowers found in monsoons and abundant in high-altitude places like The Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Brahma Kamal flowers are used as offering to Nanda Devi Temple.