Flower that blooms only in New Year day

April 15, 2015

Thousands of people gathered to view the new year flower in Salhesh Garden of Siraha district. This strange flower only blossom new year day.

The garden, which is located some three kilometers west of Lahan town, has various species of flowers. Among them are two unique Haram trees that bear Sunakhari species of flowers which only bloom once a year. This event happens exactly on the day of Nepali New Year.

The trees bear the buds of Sunakhari flowers on the last day of the ending year. These buds start to blossom into flowers during the night and by dawn of the New Year, it has fully bloomed. The flower disappears the very next day.

Globally, there are only 35 species of Sunakhari flowers of which, eight are found in Nepal. According to Dinesh Yadav, forest and environment expert of Lahan, Sunakhari species found in Terai differ from species found in the mountain and hill regions of Nepal. “The Sunakhari flowers in this garden are very unique,” he said, adding that this particular flower has not been identified formally as scientific research is yet to be conducted. The organizers of the festival requested the President to form a scientific team to conduct research on the flower. “Salhesh Garden carries huge potential. We can develop the garden, making it both unique and invaluable to the world, “said Dinesh, adding that research must be undertaken on the flower to make that happen.

For his part, President Ram Baran Yadav stressed the importance of conservation and proper management of the gardens during the inauguration of the Salhesh Festival three years ago. The unique species of Sunakhari flower in the garden attracts thousands of tourists to the district every year, making it significant to the local economy.

The importance of the Gardens is not only limited to Science. It is also important to the religious life of the community and the surrounding regions. Nageshor Dhami, who comes from a long lineage of caretaking priests at the nearby Malini temple, stated “This flower is the emblem of love between King Salhesh and his Queen, Dauna Malini. It started blooming first on the day of Vikram Sambat’s New Year and has been continuing the trend ever since.” Legend has it that Queen Dauna Malini, who used to take care of the Garden, fell blindly in love with the King. She takes the form of the flower every New Year to meet King Salhesh.

The number of people visiting the temple and the gardens to observe Salhesh Festival has been steadily increasing every year. According to the organizers of the Festival, more than 100.000 people visited the garden to observe the strange flower this New Year. Visitors came from throughout the country with a majority of the visitors hailing from Mithila Zone, Eastern Terai and Bihar of India.

Most of the Indian visitors belonged to the “Dusad” caste. For them, King Salhesh is the family deity (kul devata) of the “Dusad” caste, meaning the temple is of great significance to the caste.

“I’ve been hearing about the festival and the legend for my whole life,” said Ghari Paswan, who came from Darbhanga, India to observe the festival. “The garland shape of the flower is indeed very surprising,” she said, adding that observing it was quite an experience.

According to priest Dhami, unlike other flowers, the leaves of this flower never fall on the ground, adding to the flower’s intrigue.

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