Uttrakhand, Subtropical Highlands of Northwest Himalayas located inside 24°N to 33°N
Urgam Valley is a collection of villages, small valleys and Hindu pilgrimage all tucked away approximately 100 Kms from the Southern Indian-Tibetan border in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. A rough B-road skews away just before Pipalkoti on the Badrinath national highway, which leads to a muddy road, climbing up acutely and gaining altitude fast. Around 60 kms on that road deep inside the pine tree laiden valleys is a collection of villages starting with Devgram, which is basically known as the hub for all that is directed towards the particular pilgrimage and holy sites within the Urgam Valley. The few famous villages that produce cannabis are Devgeam, Basa, Kalgot and Dumak, written in the increasing altitude respectively.
From Devgram onwards, one has to start hiking since there’s no motorable road ahead. The two main collection sites are Devgram village and Basa Village, where cannabis is grown alongside amaranth, and instead of harvesting and sowing seeds each year, they let the plants grow at the site by themselves year over year. This can be seen in the stupefying diversity in the cannabis plants which are found growing naturally. Most plants do not show a very prominent bud structure and express more separated fox-tailed bracts with vibrant colors. A high intra-population variation is notable without any majorly striking difference in the climate.
The plants usually grow moderately tall, around 10-14 ft with extreme side branching and narrow leaflets. Plants definitely have much less of a stalky hemp look which is seen in some lowland varieties from the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh as well. Plants mostly have a very characteristic fruity smell that comes off of highland varieties such as Nepali or Kashmir. Most of the fruits can be smelled in combination with other aromas which are of pine, floral, spice or incense.
The altitudes range from 2200 meters to 2700 meters. Urgam Valley generally has a cool summer and cold winter with snow. Plants grow tall and vigorous with unique bud structures. Flowering time is also of a typical full season highland plant, around 11-13 weeks, with a few plants going extra long or short, but mostly finishing at the end of November outdoors.