I was tripping on spring earlier this year. It was a trip to the hills that had taken my obsession with colours to an entirely new level, demanding that I brave the tatkal torture and book myself a ticket out of the city.
Autumn, said Albert Camus, ‘is a second spring when every leaf is a flower’. And like spring, autumn too is elusive in the cities.
The shortening, cooler days of winter mean lesser sunlight for plants to convert into chlorophyll, the pigment that gives the green colour to leaves.
As this chlorophyll is broken down by the tree to conserve energy, other pigments start to appear just before the leaves fall off. These are the ones with the power to turn even accountants into poets.
If you missed the spring blossom show and don’t mind a limited palette, one of dazzling shades of yellow, orange, red, amber and purple, here are 5 places that will make you want to write poetry too:
1. Srinagar for Chinars
Even dragged-out wars cannot take away the valley’s autumn charm. Chinars, known as maple trees to the rest of the world, wear colours so stunning that passersby are forced to stop and admire.
It’s a precious time of transition, lasting only a few weeks towards the end of October.
Srinagar is full of these trees, especially Chinar Bagh, Naseem Bagh and the Kashmir University. Also resplendent in autumn colours are the almond trees here.
2. Leh for Poplars
In another October, back in 1884, Vincent van Gogh painted the fall colours in his Avenue of Poplars in Autumn.
Imagine the image in brighter lighting and you are getting closer to autumn as seen in the tall poplars of Ladakh’s capital.
These bright yellows are lesser known than the reds of chinars, but are equally beautiful considering the dry land that they stand on.
3. Kumaon for Sal
As the higher forests of Kumaon turn red with rhododendrons in spring, the foothills of the same region turn yellow in autumn with fields full of sal trees.
The good part is that you needn’t go far, sal can be found even in Dehradun, though a national park like Jim Corbett would be more rewarding.
4. Darjeeling for Tea
Not for the yellows that meet the eye, I say you go to Darjeeling to try what is considered by many to be the finest, strongest tea – the ‘autumn flush’ – the last produce of the season from the tea gardens.
Once infused, the tea leaves of this season turn a bright coppery colour or even golden amber.
5. SGNP for Red Silk-Cotton
Don’t think that fall colours are concentrated only in the Himalayas; a keen eye can pick up yellows even in cities as crowded as Mumbai.
Head to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the outskirts next month and you’d be pleasantly surprised by the orange-ing leaves of the lovely red silk-cotton trees. Happy autumn!
Image Credit: Click here