The Valley Of Flowers
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Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located at a height in West Himalaya. It is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora found there. It is located in Uttarakhand state. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya. The park stretches over an expanse of 87.50 kmē. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 kmē).

History of Valley of Flowers

Legends associate this valley of Garhwal Himalayas with the area from where Hanumanji of Ramayana collected "Sanjeevani" herbs to revive Lakshmana, the younger brother of Ramaji. Hanumanji had to visit far-flung areas in his search for the "Sanjeevani" life - saving herbs.

Recent History and Legends

The place had disappeared from the tourist map due to its inaccessibility, but in 1931, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton and R.L. Holdsworth, all British mountaineers, lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt.Kamet and happened upon the valley, which was full of flowers. He was attracted to the beauty of the area, he named it the "Valley of Flowers." He later authored a book of the same name

In 1939, Miss Margaret Legge, a botanist deputed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial near the spot.

Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala, a botanist deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India, carried out a research study on the floristics and conservation of the valley for a decade, beginning in 1993. He made an inventory of 520 alpine plants exclusively growing in this national park and authored two important books - "The Valley of Flowers - Myth and Reality" and "Ecology and Conservation of the Valley of Flowers National Park, Garhwal Himalaya."

Valley of Flower Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.

The Valley of Flowers is a high-altitude Himalayan valley that has been acknowledged by renowned mountaineers and botanists in literature for over a century and in Hindu religion for much longer.

The Valley of Flowers has many colorful different flowers, taking on various shades of colours as time progressed. The valley was declared a national park in 1982 and now it is a World Heritage Site. The locals believed that it was inhabited by fairies.

The valley is home to many flowers like the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily. It is a much sought after haunt for flower-lovers, botanists and trekkers.

The Valley of Flowers is internationally important on account of its diverse alpine flora, representative of the Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows ecoregion. The rich diversity of species reflects the valley's location within a transition zone between the Zaskar and Great Himalayas ranges to the north and south, respectively, and between the Eastern Himalaya and Western Himalaya flora. A number of plant species are internationally threatened, several have not been recorded from elsewhere in Uttarakhand and two have not been recorded in Nanda Devi National Park. The diversity of threatened species of medicinal plants is higher than has been recorded in other Indian Himalayan protected areas. The entire Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve lies within the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA). Seven restricted-range bird species are endemic to this part of the EBA.

The Valley of Flowers was declared a national park in 1982. This part of Uttarakhand, in the upper reaches of Garhwal, is inaccessible for most of the year. The area lies on the Zanskar range of the Himalayas with the highest point in the national park being Gauri Parbat at 6,719 m above sea level.

Best Time To Visit- Valley of Flowers Uttaranchal

The bloom starts immediately after the melting of snow but the peak blooming period is from mid July to mid August. Almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here unhindered by mankind. The myriad shades of the valley have attracted lots of travellers through the years. The park is open only in summer from June to October, as it is covered by heavy snow for the rest of the year.

Location of Valley of Flowers

State: Uttarakhand - Uttaranchal

Exact location: The Valley of Flowers is nestled in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region, previously the was Bhyundar Valley.

District: Chamoli

Nearest town: Joshimath

The Trek in Valley of Flowers

Getting to the Valley of Flowers requires a trek of about 17 km (10.5 miles). The nearest major town is Joshimath in Garhwal, which has convenient road connections from Haridwar and Dehradun, both about 270 km (168 miles) from Joshimath.

Govindghat is a small place close to Joshimath (around one hour distance), where the trek begins. From Gobindghat, a trek of 14 km (8.6 miles) brings trekkers to the Ghangaria, a small settlement located about 3 km (about 2 miles) from the valley. The valley starts near a gorge over the Pushpawati River.

Fauna in Valley of Flowers

The park is home to tahr, snow leopard, musk deer, red fox, common langur, bharal, serow, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan brown bear, Pika (Mouse hare) and a variety of butterflies. Among the important birds and pheasant are, Himalayan Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Snow Partridge, Himalayan Snowcock, Himalayan Monal, Snow Pigeon, Sparrow Hawk etc.

Flora in Valley of Flowers

RARE FLORA: Ranunculus, Pedicularis, MarshMarigold, Rhododendrons, Brahmakamal, Corydalis, Bistorta, Epilobium, Nomocharis, Oxypetala, Daisy, Sibbaldia, Anaphalis, Cypripedium Strawberry, Arisaema Costatum, Himalayan blue Poppy, Dianthus, Calendula, Yellow Anemones, Lilium. Flowers mostly orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones carpet the ground. Sub-alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover parts of the park's area. A decade long study of Prof. C.P. Kala from 1993 onwards concludes that the Valley of Flowers endows with 520 species of higher plants (angiosperms, gymnosperms and pteridophytes), of these 498 are flowering plants. The park has many species of medicinal plants including Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Fritillaria roylei and Podophyllum hexandrum.

Hemkund : The high altitude Hemkund lake (4329 mts.) lies in heavenly environs. A steep trek from Ghangharia leads one to this spot in about four to six hours. It is an important pilgrimage for both Hindus and Sikhs, as well as for people from other faiths. There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman temple built on the bank of the lake. Encircled by seven snow clad peaks and their associated glaciers, it reflects its surroundings enchantingly on its crystal clear serene waters. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat and Saptrishi peaks feed the lake and a small stream called Himganga flows out of this lake.

How to reach Valley of Flowers

The nearest airport is in Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 295 kilometers (183 miles) away, and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, 276 kilometers (171 miles) away. The closest you can get to The Valley of Flowers by road is Govind Ghat. This requires around an 11 hour drive to Joshimath from Dehradun, then another one hour to Gobindghat. From Gobindghat it is a 13-kilometer (8.1 miles) trek along a steep, narrow, but well defined mountain trail to base camp at Ghangaria. This will take between 4 and 8 hours. From Ghangaria, another 3 km trek leads to the valley.


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