Location: Garhwal Himalayas (Uttaranchal)
Area: 87.5 sq. Kms.
Altitude: Between 3,658m to 3,962 m
Best Season: Mid July To Mid September
Located in the north Indian state of Uttaranchal in India, Valley of Flowers is a unique gift of nature to the mankind. Counted as one of the most beautiful attractions of the state, the valley has received the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. According to the legends the region was earlier known as the Nandan Kanan or the Garden of Indra (King of Paradise). It is the same place where Lord Hanuman found Sanjeevani Booti to cure the life of Lord Lakshamana. The place is said to be discovered by British mountaineer Frank Smythe in the year 1931. The valley of Flowers National Park, extending over an area of 87.5 sq km has the largest assortment of wild flowers species, making it the important pharmaceutical resource. The best season to visit the valley lies between the month of July to October.
Flora and Fauna of Valley of Flowers :
The major attraction of this exotic natural hub lies in its eco system that has many varieties of flora and fauna. The valley attracts thousand of visitors all through the year, providing some of the best preserved views that are not found anywhere else in the world. Located amidst the Himalayas, the ‘Valley of Flowers’ has one of the richest preserve of flora in the world. The valley has three main vegetation zones such – sub alpine between 3,200 m and 3,500 which is the limit for trees, lower alpine between 3,500 and 3,700 m and the higher alpine above 3,700m.
As per the botanical estimates there are approximately 3,000 varieties of wild flowers that are found here. Some of the noted species are Blue Himalayan Poppy, Daisy, Dianthus, Calendula, White and Yellow Anemones, Geranium, Marsh marigold, Prinula, Potentilla, Geum, Asters, Lilium, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Inula, Braham kamal, Campanula, Pedicularis, Arisaema, Morina, Impatiens, Bistorta, Ligularia, Anaphalis, Saxifrages, Sibbaldia, Thermopsis, Trollius, Codonopsis, Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Strawberry, Epilobium, Rhododendrons and numerous others. For the purpose of information most of these flowers also contains medicinal value.
Valley of Flowers is also one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas. Although the density of wild animals is not high, but all the animals found here highly endangered and rare. The area is mainly dominated by the animal species such as Himalayan Musk Deer, Snow Leopard, Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Beer, Bharal (Pseudois nayaur), Himalayan Tahr, Common Leopard and Koklass Pheasants.
Trek to Reach Valley of Flowers :
The Valley of Flowers is a beautiful veldt perched at the height of 3962 meters above the sea level. So in order to reach the valley one has to trek from the Govind Ghat on the route to Hemkund Sahib upto Ghangharia, which is 12 kms ahead. Trekking to Valley of Flowers is more of a adventure delight to the travelers rather than a strain. However, since the terrains are hilly, a visitor should get himself medically fit and should take all the precautionary measures on his own. As the camping is not allowed at Valley of Flowers, so one has to come back the same day of his visit.
Attractions of Valley :
Hemkund Sahib : Hemkund Sahib is the sacred lake in the Himalayas. It is the same place where Guru Gobind Sahib -the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, mediated here in the previous life. It is the important pilgrimage center for the Sikhs. Every year people throng to this place from 1 June to 1 October. Ponies are also available if you prefer to ride up the 6 km zigzag track.
Ghangaria : Visit Ghangaria also known as Govinddham a popular one street village in a deodar forest with a busy market, hundred of ponies and few hotels and restaurants. You can also visit the Nature Interpretation Center which shows a picture on Valley of Flowers at 7 pm.