Valley of Flowers is a sprawling expanse of 87 square kilometres located in upper reaches of Bhyundar valley near Joshimath Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is settled in the backdrop of majestic Himalayan ranges. The place has been unknown to the outside world until the great Mountaineer Frank S Smith discovered it in the year 1931.
Valley of Flowers has been declared as a national park in 1982 and World Heritage Site on July 14, 2005, by UNESCO. Valley Of Flowers is a fairyland located in the high altitudes of Himalayas and is protected by snowy mountains. The lush green region is also home to some rare and endangered animal species.
You may spot animals like Asiatic black deer, snow leopard, musk deer etc. It is believed that this is the place from where Hanuman had collected Sanjeevani Buti for curing Lakshmana during the war between Lord Ram and Ravana. Valley of Flowers is a beautiful place to visit with your family or friends.
The beautiful place is famous for its exotic varieties of medicinal herbs. It is a lively and beautiful national park famous for its meadows of alpine flowers. Combined with Nanda Devi national park the two of them together constitute the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
Gifted with a diverse range of flora and fauna this picturesque beauty is one of a kind. Valley Of Flowers attracts millions of tourists every year from all over the world. No human settlements are present inside the park and grazing is completely banned. The trek to the valley is indeed a one to remember for it is lined up with wild rose bushes, perfumed wildflowers and wild strawberries.
It is a must-visit place for nature lovers, photographers, fun enthusiasts and peace lovers. The highest point of the peak is Gauri Parbat at about 6719 meters above sea level. More than 650 species of flowers including Brahmakamal, Blue Poppy and Cobra Lily can be found in the park.
Varieties of birds like Himalayan Golden Eagle, Snow Patridge, Himalayan Snow Cock, Himalayan Monal, Snow Pigeon and Sparrow can be spotted here. Numerous species of butterflies and insects too can be found here.
The high altitude Lokpal lake, known as Hemkund ( 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
DELHI TO HARIDWAR/RISHIKESH/DEHRADUN
You can reach Haridwar from Delhi using Private taxi, AC Volvo bus, train or by air. To reach by air you need to reach up to Dehradun airport first and then drive to Haridwar.
RISHIKESH/DEHRADUN/HARIDWAR TO AULI/JOSHIMATH/GOVINDGHAT
From Haridwar, you need to drive to Auli / Joshimath / Govindghat. You can stay at any of these places as they are nearby. Total distance 275km – 300 km time taken will be 10-12 hours.
AULI/JOSHIMATH/GOVINDGHAT TO GHANGARIYA
After breakfast, drive to reach Govindghat (1828 mt / 22Km). Start trekking to reach Ghangaria(3049 mt / 14 km Trek) with packed lunch. Ghangaria is also known as GOVIND DHAM, It is the base camp for visiting Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers
Overnight: Tent / Hotel
GHANGARIYA TO VALLEY OF FLOWERS
Full day trek of 10- 20 kms depending upon how deep you go. Start early to explore deepest parts of the valley of flowers. You need to be back by 5 pm as per forest department rules.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The valley opens on June 1 each year and shuts in October. The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is between July to September when you can see the valley at this bloom with flowers. August is the best time to see the flowers bloom; however, it might get difficult to reach there due to landslides and heavy rainfall.
It remains accessible for the rest of the year because of heavy snow. Keep in mind that entrance to the Valley is restricted to daytime – you can enter the Valley only between 7:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and you will have to leave before 5:00 PM. Overnight camping is prohibited.