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 km˛. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
(223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 km˛).
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
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
Best Time To Visit
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
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.