Flora always has a mind relaxing, energizing nature within. In the beginning of time, there used to be vast varieties of flora, fauna and animal habitats, which by a passage of time gradually became extinct. Now what we see as available is very less when compared to what used to be. Growing population, pollution, urbanization, commercialization, industrialization etc. have destroyed the nature and its resources to a great extent. In another way all the above aspects are becoming a threat to the environment. Far from this, one place which is recognized, preserved and conserved even today is none other than the most acknowledged Indian National Park “Valley of Flowers”
The Park, situated in the western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, is well known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and huge floral variety. Many rare and endangered animals like Asian black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox, blue sheep etc. are found here. Also, Himalayan monal pheasant and other high altitude birds exist here. The park stretches over an expanse of 87.5 sqkms and is about 8 km long and 2km wide. Since 2004, this National Park is enlisted as a Reserve in the UNESCO World network of Biosphere Reserves. Apart from the international recognition, it has also been referenced in the Hindu religion. Indian yogis were known to have visited the place for meditation.
Many varieties of colorful flowers exist here and also it is observed that as time progresses the flowers change their shades of colors. Long ago, it has been acknowledged by renowned mountaineers, botanists and also in literature too “Valley of Flowers” is mentioned as a high altitude Himalayan valley. The rich diversity of species reflects the location of the valley within a transition zone between the Zanskar and great Himalayan ranges to the north and south, respectively, and between the eastern Himalaya and western Himalayan flora. Several plant species were not recorded outside Uttarakhand and a number of plant species are considered as threatened. It is the second core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is also well known for its medicinal plants and their diversity is reportedly threatened. The threat is supposedly high in this area when compared to the other Indian Himalayan protected areas.
Nestled between the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Garhwal region with lower reaching to Gobind Ghat of Bhyundar Ganga. The Valley of Flowers lies in the Pushpavati valley.
Located 20 km’s north west of Nanda Devi national park across the wide valley of Bhyundar Ganga. It is one of the two hanging valleys lying at the head of the Bhyundar valley. By an average of 6kms wide it runs east-west approximately 15kms, in the basin of Pushpavati river, a small tributary flowing from the Tipra glacier which descends from Gauri Parbat in the east.
Best Time to visit:
July and August are the best time to visit “Valley of Flowers” as a maximum number of flowers can be seen at that time. June visit can be planned to see lots of glaciers. And August and September are considered as the best times to have a glimpse of the most famous Brahmakamal flowers of Hemkund.
Initially very few knew about this place due to inaccessibility. In 1931, British Mountaineers Frank.S.Smythe, Eric Shipton and R.L.Holdsworth, while returning from their successful expedition to Mt. Kamet, lost their way and happened to visit the valley which was full of beautiful flowers. They were attracted by the beauty and serenity of the place and hence named it as “Valley of Flowers”. Later Frank Smythe authored a book by the same name.