Valley of Flowers National Park


Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttaranchal

Valley of Flowers is a place in Uttaranchal State of India. Nestled high in West Himalaya is the Indian National Park situated. The valley is especially renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. Valley of flowers National Park was built in 1981 in Chamoli district covering an area of 87sq.km. The nearest town from the park, "Karna parayag" is at a distance of 33 kms.

The Valley was introduced to the whole world as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S Smith - mountaineer, explorer, botanist who camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and did valuable exploratory work. He authored a book called "The Valley of Flowers" which unveiled the beauty and floral splendors of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.

Valley of Flowers
Valley of Flowers National Park

This part of Uttaranchal, in the upper reaches of Garhwal, is inaccessible through much of the year. But when the snows melt and the monsoon arrives, the earth comes to life- all along the Bhyundar Ganga River. For miles on an end, flowers- orchids, poppies, primulas, calendulas, daisies and anemones acccompany them in every conceivable colour and carpet the ground. There are as many as 79 different flower species that blossom at the same time. It feels nothing less than heaven! Alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover a part of the area, and are a natural habitat to tahr, snow leopard, musk deer, red fox, common langur, bharal, serow, and Himalayan black bear. They're elusive, though, and a trek through the Valley may not result in actually seeing much wildlife other than the myriad butterflies which flutter over the blossoms.

Other sites to look for:

  1. A memorial of Miss Margarate Legge is a good place to visit. In the year 1939, Miss Margarate, a botanist from the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley of flowers for further studies. While she was trying to descend some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was sadly lost forever in the garden of the gods. Her sister later on visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals. The thoughtful memorial is still there. The lines inscribed on the marble slab read: "I will lift mine eyes unto the Hills from whence cometh my strength".
  2. Hemkund Sahib: A very popular trekking destination. Hemkund is 19 kms trek from Govindghat.
  3. Joshimath: One of the popular pilgrim centers in Uttarakhand.
  4. Badrinath: Badrinath, one of the most holy places for Hindus in India. The famous temple of lord Vishnu is a must visit place.

How to get there?

  • By Air: The nearest airport is at Dehradun named Jolly Grant which is around 315 kms
  • By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Rishikesh around 276kms i.e. 170 miles from valley of flowers
  • By Road: The closest you can get to The Valley of Flowers by road is through "Govind Ghat". This requires around a 10 hour drive from Joshimath, then another one hour to Govind Ghat. From Govind Ghat it is a 13 kilometer i.e. 8 miles trek along a narrow, steep but well defined mountain trail to base camp at Ghangaria. Depending on your fitness, this may take between 4 to 8 hours. From Ghangaria it is another 3 km trek which leads to the valley.

Where to stay?

On the way to trek there are many small hotels and 2-3 motels, where you can stay. Ghangaria has Hotels with Electricity and Mobile towers.

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit the valley is from Mid April to Mid August as that is the time when most of the flowers blossom.

Valley of Flowers is an experience you will surely not forget your whole life. But when we go there we should assure that we do not disturb the habitat by any direct or indirect means.