The Blooming Buransh of Uttarakhand

The onset of spring brings a beautiful cheer in Uttarakhand. And the cheer is justified with the refreshing weather at this time of the year and the blooming of the alluring rhododendrons. Burans (Buransh), which goes by the common name  Rhododendron and scientific name Rhododendron Arboreum SmIt is the State Tree of Uttarakhand and it is blooming is one of the most surreal wonders that you can witness in Uttarakhand.

The Rhododendron or Burans flower season is here in Uttarakhand and you can expect to see them in local villages and beautiful flower valleys. Rhododendron has been derived from two  Greek words- ‘Rhod’ meaning ‘rosy red’ and ‘dendron’ meaning ‘tree’. The name perfectly symbolizes the red flowers of the rhododendron trees.

Latest Findings about Rhododendron Flowers regarding Covid

A group of biologists at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Mandi has claimed to have stumbled upon a Himalayan flowering tree possessing antiviral properties with a potential to be used in the treatment against SARS-CoV2.

Their study was published in the journal Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. “The cells infected with SARS-Cov2 virus, when subjected to this specially prepared Buransh flower extract in a dose-dependent manner, were kept under an incubation of 48 hours. It was found that the viral multiplication was affected. At a concentration of 1 mg/ml, nearly 80 per cent inhibition was achieved,” said Masakapalli, Associate Professor of BioX Centre at IIT-Mandi.

Date: 19 Jan 2022

About Rhododendron Arboreum

Burans or Rhododendron is an evergreen tree that grows up to the height of 20 m and has rough and pinkish-brown bark. The brightly colored flowers (deep red to pink) which bloom from late winter till early summer are the highlight of this tree. The months from January to March marks the blooming season of Burans in Uttarakhand.

Origin of Buransh

Burans or Rhododendrons are mainly found in  Asia and hence can be said that they are native to Asia. In Asia, they are distributed over the Himalayas and found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, and China.

Where is Buransh Found in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand, Burans is mainly found in the higher altitude regions with a temperate climate and alpine conditions. Rhododendrons in Uttarakhand are mostly found in elevation from 2000-4000m. There are six species of rhododendrons found in Uttarakhand and among them, the species Rhododendron arboretum Smith, which is also the state tree is the most common one.

The best places where you can witness the beauty of burans in its full bloom during spring is Valley of Flowers National  Park in Gobindghat, Deoria Tal, Chopta, Harsil, Kausani, Barsar, Dodital, and  Malla among other scenic high altitude locations.

Significance of Burans in Uttarakhand

Burans holds a special place in Uttarakhand wherein along with being an identity of the state, it also reflects the culture of Uttarakhand.

Every year, The Buransh Mahotsav is held in  Kausani during the onset of spring where the beauty of Burans flower and its uses are celebrated with great zeal. The festival celebrates the mountains, nature’s creations, and promotes responsible tourism.

Burans also holds a variety of medicinal properties and has excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. The locals make delicious burans chutney and burans juice to ease the body and soothe the guts during the weather transition from winter to spring.

So, the spring season in Uttarakhand is known for the mesmerizing rhododendron flowers, rhododendron chutneys, and rhododendron juices that are not just locals’ favorite but a rare delicacy for travelers too. 

Uses of Buransh Flowers

Along with its appealing sight, Burans has significant economic, traditional, and medicinal value.

  1. Economic Uses

    The wood of the tree is used for making charcoal and as a fuel. The hardwood is used for making plywood, boxes,  tool handles, and for construction purposes. The bark is used for making snuff and the petals are used to prepare sub-acidic jelly, juices, and chutneys.

  2. Household Uses

    The petals of Burans flower is loved by everyone for its sour taste. The juice of the flower is used to make Buran's squash and juices and is enjoyed for its distinctive flavor and color. Burans flower, both fresh and dried, is also added to fish curry to soften the bones.

    Burans flowers are offered to deities on religious occasions.

  3. Medicinal Uses

    - As Burans has antioxidant,  anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective properties, it is widely used in traditional medicines. Almost all the parts of Rhododendron are medicinal and used in a variety of ways to treat many ailments.

    - Young leaves of Burans are applied to the forehead during headaches to treat it.

    - The bark and flowers are used to treat digestive and respiratory ailments.

    - Burans have excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties making it not just appealing to the eye but potent for health too.

    - Burans is considered good for heart, liver, diabetes, and is used for treating diarrhea. It is also considered good for the skin.

Products of Burans and Their Benefits

There are many products of Burans that locals make. The products are renowned for their uses and their distinctive flavor. Being rich in potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamin C, products of  Burans are consumed as appetizers which relieve mountain sickness and seasonal sickness.

  1. Burans Juice & Burans Squash

    Burans Juice and Burans Squash is made from  Buransh flower and is considered as the welcome drink of Uttarakhand. The drink has a calming effect on the body and soothes the gut. It is also used to stop excessive bleeding in the female during mensuration.

  2. Burans Chutney

    Burans Chutney is also made from the petals of the flower and has a sweet-sour taste. Taken alongside rice, rotis, or paranthas, Burans Chutney is also used to treat seasonal sickness. The locals make burans chutney and burans juice to ease the guts and soothe the body during this weather transition.

  3. Burans Tea

    Made from Burans flower petals, Burans Tea is a light herbal drink that is used for treating body inflammation.

    Along with the above-mentioned products,  locals in Uttarakhand also prepare other delicacies like Burans pakoda and Buran's parathas which are relished by the entire family.  

So, this rhododendron season, don’t miss out on the rhododendron flowers, rhododendron chutneys, and authentic rhododendron juices. 

Here are some magnificent glimpse of Blooming Burans from all over the Uttarakhand.

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