By Journey Man
Bestowed with the rare and exotic Himalayan flora, the Valley of Flowers is a bouquet of nature peacefully snuggled in the West Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. The trek of Valley of Flowers goes through dense forests, along with the Pushpawati river and can be reached by crossing many bridges, glaciers and waterfalls on the way.
The Valley of Flowers is located in Chamoli district (near Badrinath) of Uttarakhand, approximately 300 km to the north of Rishikesh. The Valley of Flowers is a World Heritage Site, noted for its wild untamed blooms surrounded by white peaks. It is open from June to September every year.
The valley exhibits plush meadows, with blossoms of endemic alpine flowers and diverse fauna. The region of Valley of Flowers was declared as the National Park of India in the year 1982 and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The virgin beauty of this mystical valley has always lured botanists, nature lovers and adventure lovers.
With a stunning backdrop of the mighty Himalayan ranges, the Valley of Flowers National Park presents an ethereal view and an unforgettable experience for visitors. Spread over an area of 87 sq km in the Chamoli district, the Valley of Flowers National Park is one of two core zones – the other being the Nanda Devi National Park – of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
As the name suggests, Valley of Flowers is a destination where nature blooms in full glory, offering a breathtaking experience. Exotic flowers (over 600 species) like orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones are an eye-catching spectacle. Sub-alpine forests birch and rhododendron cover parts of the park’s area. The trek to the valley offers eye-catching spectacles like cascading waterfalls and wild streams.
Situated at an altitude of around 3,600 m above the sea level, the valley is also home to such rare and amazing wildlife species like the gray langur, the flying squirrel, the Himalayan weasel, and black bear, the red fox, the lime butterfly, the snow leopard and Himalayan monal, to name a few.
Three famous British mountaineers, Frank S. Smythe, R.L. Holdsworth and Eric Shipton, had gone off track while coming down from Mt Kamet in 1931. They accidentally reached this valley which was covered with alpine flowers and was very exotic. The beauty of the place left them in awe, and they ended up naming it The Valley of Flowers. Later on, one of the three climbers, Frank S. Smythe wrote a book on it too and named it Valley of Flowers.
The locals always knew that this beautiful valley existed and believed that fairies and Gods resided here.
This enchanting valley is also considered a place from where Hanuman collected Sanjeevani Buti to cure Lakshmana as depicted in the Ramayana.
Flora and Fauna
The entire valley is covered with flowers of every colour and type which gives a magical quality to the place. It has more than 650 species of flowers present including blue poppy, cobra lily, and brahmakamal.
The area is also home to several rare and engendered animals. A diverse population of fauna can be found in the valley including the Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, and brown bear.
A variety of birds, including the yellow-throated marten, too can be found here. Others are the Himalayan golden eagle, Himalayan snow cock, sparrow, snow pigeon, and Himalayan monal.
The park also contains a high diversity as well as a density of flora and fauna of the west biogeographic zone with threatened species including Himalayan musk deer, snow leopard and other plant species. Spread over an area of 71,210 hectares, the park has a buffer zone surrounding it measuring 514,857 hectares. Populations of Galliformes and mountain ungulates which are prey to snow leopard and other carnivores are supported in this entire area located in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area.
Tourist Places to Visit In Valley of Flowers
Home to the Sikh Guru Govind Singh, the term Hemkund actually means ‘Lake of snow’ and the spotless water of this lake is icy cold. It is situated at a height of 4,329 metres above sea level between snowy mountaintops, jointly named Hemkund Parvat. A star-shaped Sikh Gurudwara next to the lake is another star attraction, making this one of the best tourist places to visit.
It is the last area with human inhabitants on the road to Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. A picturesque village hovering at a height of 3,050 metres above sea-level, it is 13 km from Govind Ghat and 4 km from the Valley of flowers. It is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and mountains on all sides. However, the area is exposed to heavy snowfall and therefore is open only from May to October.
Gaurikund marks the start of the 14 km trek to the holy memorial of Kedarnath. It is located at an altitude of 1,982 metres above sea level. The area and the Gauri Temple is named after Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Based on Hindu Mythology, this is the spot where Goddess Parvati carried out her atonement including austere and yogic exercises to win her husband over.
Bedini Bugyal is a celebrated Himalayan Mountainous pasture, located at an elevation of 3,354 metres (11,004 feet) in Uttarakhand. The trek to Bedni Bugyal and Ali Bugyal involves passing through plush green area, coniferous woodlands latched onto hillocks and sharp hikes. Bedni Kund in Bedni Bugyal is a significant religious destination for the locals.
Why should you visit the Valley of Flowers?
Visitors often come to a place with a motive to satisfy themselves. They either come up for recreation, but most importantly, come up to quench the thirst. The following are the reasons why you should visit the Valley of Flowers :
Heritage site: It is a part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, a part of the heritage sites. It comes up from the world that is a must-visit for every person to check for the beauty that made it so attractive and reach the world lists.
Perfect nature: Nature is bliss and one of the best gifts to humans. You can reach up to space and realize the beauty. You can also feel the satisfaction that it renders to the mind and soul. It helps to imbibe the calmness and go back fresh.
Trekking: To trek is one of the most joyous and adventurous parts that you can experience in Valley of Flowers. You can choose to go for a monsoon trek and not just have an adventure perk but also pick up the ways to interact with beautiful nature.
Unique flora: Flowers are not just the benchmark but are also the pin pointers of a healthy and blooming nature. Visiting it in the monsoon will help you see fascinating flowers like Bramha kamal that bloom in the monsoon season.
Rare and endangered animals: Your trip to the beautiful natural location will go in vain if one does not come across the site of faunas. It includes the Brown bear, blue sheep, red fox, musk deer, snow leopard, and other rare and endangered kinds.
Bird-watching: Bird watching is a must-do when you come to the Valley of Flowers . It is home to several exotic species of birds, including the Himalayan Monal. Just like its vivid colors, it will make you feel the diversity present in the region.
Himalayan view: What is a better example of a snow-capped mountain than the Himalayas? Visiting it will help you retrace the childhood dream of seeing the Himalayas close. With its wide ranges and natural carvings, it adds to the perks.
Perfect photography: Nature goes blank and colorless without its real spectators and captures. The Valley of Flowers is the best space to seize and enjoy for the people who love to see the world through their camera lenses and capture memories.
Pilgrimage: With roads splitting into two ways, one can easily track their paths to the Sikh pilgrimage. It solves the purpose of both completing a religious tour and at the same time enjoying the gift from God.
A blend of traditional history: As per the Hindu traditions, the Sanjeevni, the herb that gave life to Lord Ram’s brother, Laxman, also has its origin here. It hence helps the visitors grow close to the mythological history.
When to visit
The flowers here can be best viewed between the months of May and October, a time when the area turns into a botanical wonderland although maximum abundance of flowers is during July to September.
Temperature and climate
The entire temperature of the region is pleasant and excellent for most of the tourists. It is not very cold as it is open during the post-summer season. The trek is usually in the monsoon season after summers and hence is relaxing. The place to stay at Ghangaria is also the best fit space as it goes moderately cold at night and stays fair during the days. It goes to around 3-5 degrees at night while staying and maintaining 10-18 degrees throughout the day.
The entire visiting time of the Valley of Flowers sees different climates in different months. Starting with the rains in the mid of July, you can always enjoy the trek using rain gears. With increasing and continuous rains during August, one can see the showers going away by the August end. Entering the place by early July, you can see the snow melting off the bridges that cater to the scenic beauty. With a mixed climate around, you are sure to have the best experience.
Trek to Valley Of Flowers National Park
The Valley of Flowers trek is one of India’s most popular treks in the Himalayas. People, who haven’t even stepped into the Himalayas, have heard about the Valley of Flowers trek.
But there is a solid reason behind Valley Of Flowers legendary popularity; it is one of India’s oldest known treks.
The trek of Valley of Flowers is bound to give you one of the most beautiful trekking experiences. The trek begins at the Pulna Village or Govindghat after crossing the Alaknanda River across the hanging bridge. You can view the snow-clad peaks between the green and the Rocky Mountains after passing the Pulna village. The 7 km track between Pulna and Bhyundar Village comprises cold water springs and waterfalls. The area appears pink and dark red due to the presence of Rhododendrons in the region.
After resting for some time, the trek continues on the right bank of the Laxman Ganga till a log bridge is encountered. After crossing over to the left bank, the trail becomes steeper. You will reach Ghangaria which is the base camp of treks to Valley of Flowers 2 km from here.
Trekking: Important things to remember
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
- Your stay will be arranged at lodges throughout the trek. The number of people per room depends on the availability at the time.
- The authorities have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.
- Any additional cost incurred due to landslides that happens before or after the trek will have to be borne by trekkers.
How to reach:
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to Valley of Flowers but the roads are only connected up to Govind Ghat from where you have to trek for 16 km to reach Valley of Flowers.
The nearest railway station to the Valley of flowers is Rishikesh. Take a bus or taxi to reach Govind Ghat. Rishikesh railway station is situated 273 km before Govindghat on NH58.
Valley of Flowers is connected up to Govind Ghat with motor-able roads.
Where to stay
The Sleeping Beauty Hotel: Starting price Rs 2,550
Located in Joshīmath in the Uttarakhand region, The Sleeping Beauty Hotel By Vedix Yaatra provides accommodation with free private parking. Guests at the bed and breakfast can enjoy a buffet or an Asian breakfast.
Himalayan High, Auli, By Himalayan Eco Lodges, Starting price Rs 2,999
If you are visiting the Himalayas and looking for a property that will provide you with the utmost comfort and will help you to explore the maximum beauty of the place, then Himalayan High, Auli, By Himalayan Eco Lodges located in the district of Joshimath is the best place for you. This 3 star hotel provides amenities like a shared lounge, an on- site dining option, comfortable rooms and several other modern facilities.