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Valley of Flowers, quite self- explanatory by its name is an Indian National Park situated in a beautiful Indian valley lying in the lap of the beautiful Zanskar ranges of the Western Himalayas and overlooking its high snow-capped peaks. It is a deemed UNESCO World Heritage Site and a core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, sprawling over 87.5 sq kms itself. It is situated at a height of 3650 m itself in the serene environments of the Bhyundar valley. This beautiful piece of nature remained unknown to the world till as late as 1931, when three British mountaineers lost their way to find this place, and named it the first thing that came to their minds seeing it. Yes, Valley of Flowers is a sensational display of the beautiful flora that exists in the region, and the variety of colours there are to this valley. It rests through a cold winter under the blanket of snow but opens its soul as soon as the summer arrives and by late spring, it is brimming with colours of all sorts. Almost lying on the border of the East and West Himalayas, this valley in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand is home to a lot of endemic endangered species of animals too which are very rare to find otherwise. You can spot Asiatic black deer, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, blue sheep and red fox- yes, colourful place again! There are many legends associated with the place given its incomprehensible and overwhelming beauty. This land, believed to be the home of the fairies and Gods once, is also believed to be the place from where Lord Hanuman secured the Sanjivani (the life-restoring herb) for Lakshmana in Ramayana.
Situated in the Chamoli district of the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, Valley of flowers is almost 300 km north of Rishikesh near Badrinath. The road conveyance is available till Govindghat, from where the trek begins. Govindghat is around 20 km before Badrinath. The base camp to the trek is a place called Ghangaria, where there are facilities for accommodation like private lodges and hotels. Overnight stay in the valley is not allowed. It was declared a National Park in 1982, and since 1983 even grazing activities have been banned in the region. Ghangaria though, is managed by the Uttarakhand State Forestry Department and Ministry of Environment and Forests. There is river Pushpawati that runs through the valley and divides it into two. The flowing sounds of the streams in the area along with the birdsongs and the insect cries just add to the scenery of the mountains, meadows and the clouds above.
Best time to Visit:
The valley opens for tourists from 1 st June every year and closes on 4 th October. It remained closed for public for 2 years though in 2013 and 2014 as the floods had disturbed the trek route. The route was renovated and it was open for 6 days in October from 4 th October to 9 th in 2014. The gates to the route open by 7 am in the morning and allow entries till 2 pm at maximum. The visitors however have to be back by evening 5 pm from the valley. Though the valley is pleasant throughout the 4 odd months it is open, but July to October is generally considered the best time, with the valley in its full
colours starting late in July, extending the whole of August to almost the mid of September.
Indian Nationals: INR 150
Foreign Tourists: INR 600
How to reach:
By road: There is a well motorable road available till Govindghat, 16 km trek from where takes you to the paradise that is Valley of Flowers. Govindghat is well connected via roads lying on NH-58 itself to major cities of Uttarakhand and there is public transport available. You can catch a direct bus to Rishikesh, Haridwar or Srinagar from Delhi and then there are plenty of buses and taxis available from there to Govindghat. By rail: The nearest railway station to Govindghat is Rishikesh, which is approximately 273 kms away on NH-58. Rishikesh is well connected via trains from many destinations of the state and outside. From Rishikesh, public buses and taxis are frequently available. By air: Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport, which is 292 km from Govindghat. There are daily flights from Delhi to the place and public transport is regularly available from there till Govindghat. Trekking Trail: The trek to the valley begins from Govindghat or Pulna village, which are reached after crossing the Alaknanda river via a hanging bridge. After the Pulna village comes the most fantastic stretch of almost 7 km till the Bhyundar village, where you can see the trail along the Laxman Ganga lined with the red and pink rhododendrons. There are plenty of waterfalls and streams on the way too and wild roses grow around the valley. The tall peaks of Western Himalayas are seen towering over and then comes a log bridge supported over some boulders crossing which starts the trail towards Ghangaria, which is a 2 km steep climb. Ghangaria serves as the base camp for Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.
Rishikesh – Joshimath Reach Rishikesh on Day 0 via any of the options available and start with this 254 km or almost 6 hour journey to Joshimath. It will almost be evening covering this route and you can check in at any of the accommodations available. There are plenty to choose from, don’t worry!
Joshimath – Govindghat – Ghangaria Have a hearty breakfast and start for the first stop of your destination. Govindghat is almost 22 km from Joshimath. Reach here, pack your lunch and start for the base camp of Ghangaria. It is almost a 10 km easy to moderate trek. Later, after visiting Valley of Flowers the next day, you can also extend your stay here to have a glimpse of another gem Hemkund Sahib. Spend this night at Ghangaria.
Ghangaria – Valley of Flowers – Ghangaria Have an early breakfast and start for the most awaited trek by taking your tickets at the earliest. No experience comes closer to spending some time in the arms of this beautiful wonder of nature. From the glorious flowers to the mighty peaks to the birds and insects and the soaring butterflies and the ambient music of the running streams, this is going to be a day you are going to cherish for a lifetime. After having your hearts filled with soaking in as much as you can of the beauty of this valley, return to Ghangaria and spend the night there.
Ghangaria – Govindghat – Joshimath You can take the same route as you had arrived from, and reach Joshimath passing Badrinath on the way and spend the night here.
Joshimath – Rishikesh You can leave for Rishikesh the next morning bidding adieu to the Himalayas for a while with a promise to return back whenever you can.
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