Valley of Flowers – The Kohinoor in the Himalayan Crown
Nestled high in West Himalaya, the Valley of Flowers is renowned for its meadows of alpine flowers and captivating natural beauty. Located in the Uttarakhand state, the entire Valley of Flowers is endowed with multicolored species of flowers, green pastures, beautiful waterfalls, landscapes and a strong aroma that drapes the valley in intoxication. Spread over 87.5 square kilometers, Valley of flowers was declared a national park in 1982 and a World Heritage Site.
Uttarakhand, also known as Uttaranchal, is a beautiful state in the Himalayan North of India. Garhwal and Kumaon are two main regions of Uttarakhand. Dehradun is the capital city of the state, most popularly known as “Oxford of India” for its boarding schools. Some other destinations from Uttarakhand are Badrinath, Auli, Binsar, Corbett National Park, Yamunotri and many others.
The Valley of Flowers National Park is located in Chamoli Garhwal, close to Nanda Devi National Park. Located about 595 km (370 miles) from Delhi, it has an altitude that varies from 10,500 feet to 21,900 feet above sea level.
- The nearest airport is in Dehradun, 295 km (183 miles) away, and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh which is 276 km. the convenient way to reach the valley of flowers by road is Govind Ghat. This needs a 10 hour drive to Joshimath, then another 1 hour to Govind Ghat. From Govind Ghat it’s a 14 kilometer trek along a steep, narrow, but well defined mountain trail to base camp at Ghangaria, a small settlement located about 3 km from the valley.
- From Delhi, the nearest center point The nearest and the centre point to access Valley of Flowers is Delhi. Tourists from other parts of India can halt at Delhi and continue the journey from New Delhi. New Delhi to Rishikesh is a 6-hr trip by bus. Train will take lesser time than bus. It is advisable to take an overnight break at Rishikesh. Further to this, Rishikesh to Joshimath takes almost 11 hours to reach. From Joshimath you need to reach Govindghat which is a 1 hour bus ride, followed by the trek to Ghangria area.
Best time to visit
The Valley of Flowers is only open from April to October as it’s covered in snow the rest of the year. The best time to visit the valley is from July to August, when the flowers are in full bloom after the first monsoon rain. Going before July may deprive you of the panoramic views of the flowers.
Entry fee to Valley of Flowers
The entry fee is 350 rupees ($8.50) for foreigners for a 3 day pass, and 175 rupees ($4.25) for subsequent days. There’s a Forest Department check point which marks the official beginning of The Valley of Flowers. Tourists are required to pay the money here and obtain a pass. It costs 350 rupees plus food to hire a porter, and around 350-400 rupees for a mule (approximate value) at at Govind Ghat for the trek to Ghangaria.
Government operated tour to the valley of Flowers
There is a government operated tour to the Valley of Flowers that run for 8 days from Delhi, and 7 days from Rishikesh.
The spiritual Hindu town of Badrinath is 14 km from Joshimath and can easily be visited on a day trip from there. The town is a landmark of the colorful temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the Char Dham Yatras(four temples) popular amongst the Hindu pilgrims.
Flora and Fauna
The park is a home to exotic species of flora which includes Orchids, Primulas, Poppies, Calendulas, Anemones and Daisies. Among the fauna the park houses Snow Leopard, Tahr, Musk Deer, Red Fox, Bharal, Common Langur, Himalayan Black Bear, Serow, Himalayan Brown Bear and many others.