Cactus blossom near Shimla, India

Contributed by our friend Swami Krishnananda, a photo essay of a walk up a hillside near Shimla, India, closer and closer to a cactus blossom, with thoughts on impermanence.

Tall century plant with plate-like multiple-blossom flowers on a scrubby hillside.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Swami Krishnananda captured the images on this page in July 2019, near Shimla, India. He wrote to EarthSky: “Yesterday, on my daily walk, I saw this cactus blooming from far away, and decided to go near to enjoy its beauty. I had to climb hard up a hill to reach it. As the photos will show, it was worth the adventure.”

Tall plant with yellow blossoms against dark hilly background.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Swami Krishnananda commented: “There are three different varieties of cacti in this region near Shimla. This one takes several months to bloom fully, starting with the long shoot.”

Thin branches with big yellow blossoms.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Close-up of cactus blossoms.

Yellow blossoms and a tiny red bird.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | “Here we see a crimson sunbird feeding on the nectar,” Swami Krishnananda wrote.

Yellow blossoms and three bees.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | He wrote: “And these bees were feeding on the nectar, too. Once the blossom is over and wilted, the cactus seems to have fulfilled its life’s purpose and dies. The same thing is said to happen to us human beings. Once God’s purpose of blossoming the Sahasrar Chakra is done, the body perishes within a week or so. Jai Guru!

Bottom line: A photo essay of a walk up a hillside near Shimla, India, closer and closer to a cactus blossom, with thoughts on impermanence.

More from Swami Krishnananda: Birds and birds

Eleanor Imster

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