Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Valley of Flowers: A pristine land of mythical serenity

Valley of Flowers also known in Hindu mythology as Nandan Kanan means “Garden of Indra in Paradise”. The Valley of Flowers is a glacial corridor, eight kilometres in length and two kilometres in width. Its floor slopes from almost 3,500 metres above sea level up to almost 4,000 metres. True to its name, the Valley is carpeted with wildflowers during the monsoon season. Known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar valley, the Valley of Flowers is hidden from the scrutinizing eyes of the civilization. The valley was declared a National Park in year 1982.
Valley of Flowers
A pristine land of flowers

Valley of Flowers widely known for  its riot of enumerable flowers and colours was accidentally discovered by a group of mountaineers. Apart from flowers the valley is bestowed with alpine meadows, forests, and sparse but exotic Himalayan wild fauna. The valley portion of the Park runs in the east west direction along the banks of river Pushpawati.
Trekking Path of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is also associate with the legendary story, which says that Hanuman picked Sanjeevani Buti (herb with healing power) from this region for treating the wounds of Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama injured during the war with Ravana in Lanka. A temple ‘Lokpal’ dedicated to Lakshman exists near Hemkund Sahib. Hemkunt is known for magnificent Sikh shrine Hemkunt Sahib on the banks of Hemkunt Sarovar, and for which lakhs of tourists visit hear every tourist season.
Scenic view of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers National Park starts from Ghangharia but the main valley starts after crossing the gorge and the stream originating from Nar Parvat, 3 km from Ghangharia. In front of the Valley stands the snow capped peak of Ratban Parvat and at the background is the Kunt Khal. Towards the left is Nar Parvat, which bisects the Badrinath valley from this valley, and to the right is thick Birch forest on the hill sides. Below the forest is the meadow. River Pushpavati flows through the valley and there are many waterfalls enhancing the beauty of the valley. The splendour and the dazzling beauty of the valley beckons tourists from all the corners of the world.

Valley of Flowers is a place of escape from the hustle-bustle of today’s city life. One would have to descend in winter to warmer and less snowy levels, but for nearly 4 months those in search of beauty and solitude can find peace in the Valley of Flowers. Of the many species which coexist in this unique ecosystem, the most popular among visitors are the Himalayan blue poppy native to the region, the uncommon varieties of primula and orchid which bloom during June, and the impatiens, potentillas, and campanulas which paint the valley pink, red, and purple during July and August.

A stone path meanders among the flowers and across streams. The flowers grow so tall that leaving the path is difficult. Few visitors continue beyond the first one or two kilometres inside the Valley. They pause to photograph flowers, drink from a mountain spring, and scan the valley floor for a glimpse of a grave rumoured to be there among the flowers.

Reaching the Valley of Flowers
Air : The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 319 km
Rail : The nearest railhead is at Rishikesh, 302 km.
Road : Off the Rishikesh-Badrinath road, 17 km from Govindghat. (25 km from Badrinath). From Govindghat the distance has to be trekked. Bus services are available to Govindghat. Porters are available at Govindghat and Ghangharia.


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