Valley of Flowers is God's own country. Hidden from the outside world, known only to some high land inhabitants of Bhyunder Valley, it was avidly avoided by the shepherds of the hills, believing it to be the celestial playground of the Gods, nymphs and faries. An exotic valley in a conical shape lies to the east of Badrinath with river Pushpawati flowing through it. The valley that is presently a national park is 19 kms trek from Govind Ghat. A must see for all nature lovers.
This mysterious valley was discovered by the world renowned British explorer and mountaineer Frank. S. Smith, in 1937. His book The Valley Of Flowers lifted the veil of this hidden beauty to the outside world. In 1939, the British Botanical Association sent their botanist Margarate Legge for further study of valley. She never returned and was lost for ever, in the valley.
Valley of Flowers is a mystery till today. An irresistable wonder for nature lovers, botanists, ecologists, zoologists, orinthologists and trekkers. It's one of India's most coveted National Park.
The valley is spread over an area of 87.5 Kms2 and is 3,250 mt to 6,750 mt. above the mean sea level. The rich references of this colouful and eye catching Valley, are found in Indian History and literature like that of Ramayana and Mahabharat.
This unusal valley is flanked in either side by lofty peaks that remain snow-capped round the year. The Pushpawati river, emerging from the glacial resources of Rataban range, cuts through the valley to divide in two. Many streams flowing from the glaciers merge into the river. One has to walk over glacial dams to cross the streams, quite often.
From November to May, the valley remains under the thick layers of snow. The thaw happens in June when the valley bursts into colors. The moist turf begins to pulsate with life. Innumerable plants and flowers shoot up conjuring up bewitching beauties around.
Valley of flower is splashed with different colours as it bloomed with hundreds of different beautiful flowers, taking various hues with time. The flowers of this valley are in their prime youth in August-September.
This is the best time to visit the valley, when it is in full bloom splendour. More than 300 species of rear wild flowers bloom here, which is an important happening for botanist and trekkers in the region. The flowers blooming here are hardly witnessed anywhere else. This valley with multicolored flowers goes on giving out fragrance all the time. This valley of flowers does not appear lesser than the Paradise. Some of the plants which come out in full colors are Lilium Ranunculus, Corydalis, Sibbaldia, Pedicularis, Bistorta, Anaphalis, Marsh Marigold, Equilobium, Strawberry and Brahma Kamal.
Arisaema Costatum, which is known as Arum, is a beautiful plant whose head resembles that of cobra. It grows in the valley in splendid isolation
Nomocharis Oxypetala, the rarest and the most beautyful plant resembels the full blown sun. It grows in the slopes of the valley.
Saussurea Obvallata, the Brahma Kamal, is the king of the flowers, growing only at altitude above 3,800 mtrs.
In the winter, the valley freezes with the view of heavenly glaciers. The entire valley lies beaneath, like polish steel, The meadows get quilted under thick layers of snow.
To conserve the nature's benevolent gift and to maintain the natural balance of the valley- the valley was declared a National Park in 1982 under the wild life protection act by Govt. of India and now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apart from the flowers some species of variegated Butterfly (leaf-winged bat), Musk deer (Kasturi Mrig), Blue sheep (Bharal), Himalayan black bear, Himalayan mouse hare, Red-foxes, apes and some Himalayan birds & Snow leopard are also found in this area. Due to these specialities it has always caught the attention of the nature lovers as well as the environmentalists. In this national park grazing of cattle and animals are strictly prohibited.
The scent that male musk deer is used by the people to attract women and because of this most musk deers were killed. Now also they are hardly safe even in National parks.
The trek starts from Govindghat (19 kms.), on the way to Badrinath having two major gradients. One initially from Alaknanda and other from Bhyunder to Ghanghria.
Govindghat, Ghangharia, Hemkund Sahib, Valley of Flowers.
Hemkund Saheb at the height of 4,329 mtrs. is holiest Sikh Shrine. Dedicated to Guru Govind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Khalsa Panth. It is believed that Guru Govind Singh used this place for meditation. A picturesque place, serene and scenic. There is a Laxman temple nearby.
Jolly Grant, Dehradun 319 kms.
Rail Head :
The last major city is Govindghat, 19 kms. from the valley. From here, Ghangharia the entrance point, is 13 kms. Upto Govindghat point the road is motorable. After which the trekking starts, giving you the feel of what you will discover at the end.
Ghangaria Forest Rest House. Facility of cooking is available but you have to bring your provisions.