Valley of Flowers India

Valley of flowers is a fairy-land situated high in the Himalayas of the Uttarakhand, at an altitude of 3,600 meters above the sea-level, protected by snowy mountains. Unknown to humans, for centuries this is enchanting valley lay frozen during the colder months, and burst into its youthful beauty every year, as the snow melted with the advent of summer. “Valley of Flowers” is the name of the Himalayan area in Uttarakhand state in India. In 1931 the English mountaineer Frank Smythe stumbled across the Bhyundar Valley, an 8 km long glacier corridor in Chamoli -one of the district of Uttarakhand state .This area, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and carpeted with over 500 species of flowers , soon became a protected site.

"High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand lies an enchanted valley. Here flowerful pastures with clear running streams are set against silver birches and shining snow peak. Dew lies thick on the flowers, birds sing in the surrounding forest and the air is pure and charged with floral smells. Hidden from the probing eyes of civilization, this valley had been known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar Valley, the playground of fairies and nymphs.

The Valley of Flowers National Park (87.50 km2, latitude 30° 41' - 30° 48'N and longitude 79° 33' - 79° 46'E) is located in Chamoli Garhwal, about 595 km northeast of India’s capital Delhi in the state of Uttarakhand. The Valley of Flowers was declared World Heritage Site in July 2005. Its altitude ranges from 3,200 m to 6,675 m. Such a variation in the altitude provides a great diversity of landscape and microhabitats.

The Valley was introduced to the 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 splendours of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.

In 1939, Miss Margarate Legge, a botanist deputed by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost for ever in the garden of the gods. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals.

Valuable information's about valley of flowers

Area 87.5 sq km
Languages Hindi, Garhwali
Altitude 3,250 to 6,750 m above sea level
Rainfall 1800.2 mm
Maximum Temperature 17°C
Minimum Temperature 7°C
Best time to visit July-August

How to access
To reach the valley, trek begins at Govind Ghat. From here onwards, your eyes will be treated to scenic beauty of the nature at its undisturbed best - wild flowers, waterfalls, springs, rocky boulders and in between glimpses of snow clad peaks. Discovery Journeys and overnight stay is not allowed in the valley so Ghanghria serves as the base camp during the trek.

The Track
The trek towards the Valley begins at Govind Ghat, after crossing the Alaknanda river on a hanging bridge. The zig-zag mule track straightens through an ascending valley of terraced fields and vegetation. In the midst, Laxman Ganga tumbles down in a haste to join the Alaknanda. 3 kms. further is the small, pretty hamlet, Pulna. Beyond this, the trek becomes more exciting - the Laxman Ganga becomes swifter,and betweenthe green, rocky mountains, you can catch a glimpse of snow-clad peaks.

The 7 kms. trail from Pulna to Bhyundar village is full of nature's scenic splendours including cascading waterfalls and cold water springs.Shrubs and wild roses grow abundantly and Rhododendrons colour the area with pink and dark red. Small wayside tea stalls run all across the route and young and enthusiastic tourist guides can be engaged at Bhyundar village. After resting awhile here, the trek on the right bank of the Laxman Ganga continues through the rich vegetation till a log bridge, supported on huge boulders, is reached. Crossing over to the left bank now, the trail becomes steeper and harder and 2 kms. from here, you will reach Ghanghria, the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hernkund Sahib.

Since camping and overnight stay Is not allowed in the Valley of Flowers, Ghanghria is the logical base camp for the trek.

Travel beyond Ghanghria is on foot at Nature's pace since the entry of ponies is prohibited. The trek is subject to strict ecological discipline and the trekker is expected to be concerned about the eco-systern of the region.

After crossing a log bridge over the Laxman Ganga, 3 kms. from Ghanghria. the route of the Valley of Flowers separates from that going to Hernkund Sahib.The Laxman Ganga joins the Pushpawati river 400 mtrs. downstream.

The trek continues along Pushpawati. A couple of kilometres ahead, the river is crossed overto its right bank on another bridge and this trail goes upto the Valley of Flowers. Snow bridges can be seen spanning the river but their strength should be properly judged if they are to be used to cross the river.

Flora & Fauna of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is an alpine valley, and has been formed by the retreating glaciers whose periodic advances and retreat pulverised hard rocks, resulting in a smooth U-shaped valley which was later colonised by numerous plants adopting themselves to the harsh climatic conditions prevailing there.

The Valley remains snow covered from November to May but when the ice envelope thaws on June it is a signal for profusion of colors hidden in petals of alpine during July and August. Some important flowering plants having tremendous medicinal values are: Anemone, Geranium, Marsh, Marigold, Primula, Potentilla, Geum, Aster. Lilium, Himalayanblue poppy, Aconite, Delphinium, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Inula, Saussurea abvallata, Campanula. Pedicularis, Trysimum, Morina, Impetiens, Bistorta. Ligularia. Anaphalis Saxifraga, Lobelia, Thermophis, Trolises. Aquilogia, Codonopsis. Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium. Straw berries and Rhododendron etc.

Apart from the flowering plants, wild animals like Himalayan birds, phigents, butterflies, Tendula, Musk deer, Bharal Mountain goats), Himalayan bear, tail less rat etc. are enhancing the beauty too. The Valley of Flowers is an irresistible treat for naturalists, ecologists. environmentalists, zoologists, ornithologists, trekkers. tourists and pilgrims.

The trek continues along Pushpawati. A couple of kilometers ahead, the river is crossed over to its right bank on another bridge and this trail goes upto the Valley of Flowers. Snow bridges can be seen spanning the river but their strength should be properly judged if they are to be used to cross the river.

Seasons of Valley of Flowers

The Valley becomes accessible from late April when the snow starts melting and flowing down the buttrssnes and gullies. The spring avalanches pouring down the slopes provide appropriate moisture for flowers. The moist turf begins to pulsate with life and from the dead herbage of the previous summer, innumerable shoots of countless plants rise expectantly as though in anticipation of the warm life-giving breath of the approaching monsoon.

Premolars cover up shelves and terraces in color of the most heavenly French blue. Their soft petals covered with dew, like galaxies of pearls, emanate sweetest of scents. In the lush meadows drifts of snow-white Anemones drench the ground. Anaphalles and Potentillas start establishing their colonies, With the arrival of rains in June, Balsam, Geranium, Pedicularis and many other species, mostly in pink and red set the dominating color pattern of the Valley without subduing other seasonal shades of yellow, purple and white.

From late July to the end of August, the Valley begins to take on celestial dimensions. The riot of colours is awe-inspiring. The Pedicularis, Grandiflora, Ligularia and many other yellow varieties dominate, with patterns of ; other colour blending in. The flowers sway to the rhythm of the monsoon breeze as it ripples across the slopes and the atmosphere is filled with an indescribable scent I of plant life.

By September, the plants start podding and the Valley dons tranquil shades of brown. But visitors during I September and October get to witness the Valley in a crystal clean atmosphere-the mountain ranges shining like polished steel in the sunlight, rainwashed rocks with gurgling streams and sun-kissed meadows about to be covered soon with a spotless white sheet of snow.

It is often said that the root stock of almost all high altitude alpine flowers lies in and around the Valley of Flowers. The oak trees, blue pine and other conifers between Ghanghria and the bridge on Pushpawati are sornetirnes laden with ferns and tendrils hanging from their branches, The forests on the higher formations are full of birch trees, popularly known as bhojpatra whose bark was supposedly used to write scriptures in ancient times.

Although the main land of the Valley is about 4 kms. from Ghanghria, flowers and foliage in exotic varieties can be spotted throughout the route. Immediately after crossing the Laxman Ganga, colonies of blue Hackelia uncinata, commonly known as 'forget me not' can be seen in the midst of shrubs and foliage along the roadride. Primulas, Morinas, wild roses and many other species are quite abundant.

On reaching the banks of Pushpawati, a rich formation of blue poppies, sun flowers, Ligularia and pink Andsosace can be seen between the rocky stretches near the bridge abetment. After crossing the rivers, to its right bank, you can see various flowers in small pockets dotting the entire distance. Pedicularis in pink and yellow, Phlomis in purple and Potentilla in all shades can be seen. Further on, towards the approach of the main Valley, are gorgeous varieties of wild roses, Rhododendron, Geranium and the killer plant Polygonum which is at present off-setting the floral composition of the valley.A large variety of ferns like Epiphytic, maidenhair and oak fern can be seen.

The Valley is rich In herbal plants, many of these being flowering plants - Bergenia, wood lily, Trillium govanianum and marsh orchid are the popular ones. At several places, the abundant growth of flowering and non-flowering plants gives the Valley the look of a thick carpet with splashes of colour.

A forbiddingly beautiful plant is the Arisaema costatum popularly known as Arum. Its head resembling that of a cobra, the plant grows in shady recesses, often in isolated family groups.

Primulas and Anaphallis give a white background to the Valley which is accentuated with the varying colours of other flowers. The violet Iris kumaonesis, the superb Primula denticuleata in purple and Potentillas in red, yellow and pink can be seen in colonies.

Along the riverside there are small patches of land between scattered boulders, which have become the natural habitat for a majestic flower-the blue poppy. Known as Meconopsis aculeata to botanists, it is a solitary flower and has the colour of the sky at dawn. Like most poppies, it is open and wide, droops slightly, has a centre of golden stamens, and is so fragile that its petals are detached merely by brushing against them. It protects itself with sharp spines arranged on the stem and buds.An unobstrusive flower with unsurpassable delicacy and grace is the Fritillaria roylei. As the green bells on the springy stem nod and dip the monsoon wind, you may be tempted to strain your ears to hear their tinkling. The Corydalis cashemiriana, with narrow pipe-like stems and flowers tipped in dark blue grow in colonies of thousands. A plant which is one of the rarest and the most beautiful of its family-the lily-like Nomocharis oxypetala revels in the sun on well-warmed, well drained meadows and slopes of the Valley. The rose-coloured Cyprip edium himalaicum has earned the popular title of lady's slipper' and there are so many of these flowers that they imbue the slopes with a rosy glow.

The pinkish glow of the Valley can be attributed to the large colonies of Androsace. Marsh orchid. Geranium. Pediculsris and the carpetting Thymus. all in near pink. Splashes of golden lily and creamy bell-shaped Codonopsis are also seen. The pink Pedicularis gives way to its yellow cousin-the mainstay of the August bloom. Yellow flowers bedeck the Valley as July proceeds - Pedicularis, Grandiflora. Ligularia, Saxifraga and Potentillas. The Potentillas are the first to appear and last to disappear in the Valley.

The king of the Himalayan flowers is Saussurea obvallata, popularly known as Brahma Kamal. It is a graceful creamish flower with brown and red stamens in the centre.

The petals are loosely open, like those of a lotus. A fully developed flower is six to eight inches tall. This flower isfound on the higher slopes of the valley which are not easily accessible. It can be found at heights above 3,800 mtrs. all over the Central Himalayas.

Topography of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is flanked on either side by majestic peaks, many capped with snow. The Pushpawati river, emerging from the glacial deposits around Rataban and Nilgiri ranges, cuts through the Valley and divides it into two sectors. The major portion of the Valley is on its right bank and is a paradise for trekkers.

Many streams flowing from glacial deposits in and around the Valley irrigate it and merge finally into the Pushpawati river. While exploring the Valley, the smaller streams can be easily crossed by wading across but the larger ones need to be crossed on log bridges. In case those have not been put up in time, thick glacial bridges across the streams also serve the purpose.

There are no side tracks for viewing colonies of flowers away from the main track so you can either try to wade Through knee-deep flowers and foliage, crushing some on the way or stay on the single track running through the length of the valley without seeing the best. You may however stand on a raised vantage point to get a better view of flowers all around. Within the main Valley; there are many smaller valleys carved out by streams of melting glaciers. On the banks of these Valleys, you can encounter the most exciting pattern of flowers. One such Valley exists along the Donagair Garh, the last of many streams. On its banks flower some of the most magnificent plants.

Every moist place holds its quota of glorious flowers which grace the still air with their subtle fragrance.

On the left bank of the Pushpawati, are several chunks of flat land. One bf them is called Nag Tal, literally the place of the venomous serpent - the Nag. It is believed to be infested with poisonous flowers. These flowers are bound to cause harm when plucked, crushed or smelt. Therefore it is advised that visitors should not pluck flowers.

General Information of Valley of Flowers

How to Reach
Air : Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, 306 kms. (Dehradun 333 kms.)
Rail : Nearest railhead is Rishikesh, 289 kms.
Approach :- The Valley is approachable from Govindghat. There are two ways to reach Govindghat.

- Rishikesh - Srinagar - Karnprayag - Joshimath - Govindghat - (Distance approx. 270 kms. on Haridwar - Badrinath highway)

- Haldwani - Ranikhet - Karnprayag - Joshimath - Govindghat (Distance approx. 332 kms.)

After crossing the Alaknanda river at Govindghat, an ascending bridle path along Bhyundar Ganga leads to Ghanghria which is 13 kms. away from Govindghat, from where the Valley is only 3 kms.
Hospital/ Market/Bank : Joshimath
Best time to visit : Mid July to mid August


Deluxe - 4 Rooms
Executive - 4 Rooms
Dormitory - 9 beds
Electricity - Available
Reservation - General Manager (Tourism)

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.,
Survey Chowk, Dehradun - 248 001
Asst. Gen. Mgr. (Tourism)
Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.
Muni-Ki-Reti, Rishikesh - 249 201.