Himalayan viagra disappears in Uttarakhand snow
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 19, 2019-Saturday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Himalayan viagra disappears in Uttarakhand snow

Heavy snowfall this year has forced villagers to call off the hunt for the Yarsagumba mushroo, also known as Himalayan viagra, and climb down from the higher reaches of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand

india Updated: May 11, 2018 20:35 IST
Arvind Moudgil
Arvind Moudgil
Hindustan Times, Joshimath (Chamoli)
Himalayan viagra,Uttarakhand,yarsagumba
The aphrodisiac mushroom -- called ‘yarsagumba’ -- is used in traditional medicines and fetches a price of Rs 2 to 5 lakhs per kilogram.(Sanjay Kunwar/HT Photo)

The heavy snowfall in the higher ranges of Himalayas earlier this week has disrupted the hunt for a prized aphrodisiac fungus popularly referred to as Himalayan viagra.

It’s the time of the year that the mushroom called ‘yarsagumba’ (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), also known locally as ‘keerajari’, appears in the meadows when the snow starts melting.

But the heavy snowfall this year has forced villagers to call off the hunt for yarsagumba and climb down from the higher reaches of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. They will have to wait till the snow melts and that may leave only a handful days left in the Yarsagumba season.

“Couple of villagers left their rations in tents and came back to their respective villages because there is still 3 to 4 feett thick layer of snow in the higher ranges,” said Sanjay Kunwar, a trekker from a village called Baragaon. He added that the villagers would wait for another 10 to 15 days for the snow to melt.

A villager shows the mushroom on the palm of his hand. (Arvind Moudgil/HT File Photo)

There’s a lot at stake.

The mushroom, which has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, fetches a price of Rs 2 to 5 lakhs per kilogram or above locally, depending on quality. It plays a vital role in the local economy, that’s largely pastoral.

Usually, as the month of May approaches, villagers from Dasholi, Ghat, Urgam valley, Niti valley, Deval and Joshimath blocks of Chamoli district start start moving into the the higher ranges, armed with essentials and rations. They camp there for at least two months while hunting for the prized mushroom.

While this year’s harvest seems to be in jeopardy, there’s hope yet.

Devendra Singh, a social worker from Wan, the last village on the motorable road in Deval block of Chamoli district, said that the villagers who have returned from the higher ranges such as Bhagubasa, Shila samundar and Kelvavinayak, would go back again in couple of days.

First Published: May 11, 2018 19:26 IST