Valley of Flowers is the most sought after destination among nature lovers. The valley is situated at an altitude of 3,858m under the shadows of the towering Himalayan peaks of Western Himalayas in Uttarakhand. The valley is home to millions of species of wild flowers such as lilies, poppy, daisies, geranium, calendula, saxifrages and petunia. The valley also includes numerous streams, meadows, bogs, stone desert and caves. Many species of butterflies and insects are also found in the Valley of Flower. The area is also home to many endangered species of animals such as snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, musk deer, red fox, brown bear and blue sheep.
In the year 1931, the Valley of Flowers was accidently discovered when a group of mountaineers from England lost their way while returning from an expedition to Mt. Kamet and chanced upon a valley which was full of flowers. They were enamoured by the beauty of the place and called it “Valley of flower”. In the year 1939, a botanist by the name of Joan Margaret Legge trekked to the valley in order to study the flowers growing there. Unfortunately, she slipped while traversing some rocky slopes and lost her life. Later, Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala of the Wildlife Institute of India carried out an extensive research in the valley for 10 years starting from 1993. He identified 520 alpine plants endemic to the area and also authored two groundbreaking books about Valley of Flowers.
How to reach there?
There is no motorable road to Valley of Flowers. Therefore, tourists have to undertake a 17 km trek to reach the valley. The trek starts from Govindghat which is near the major town of Joshimath in Garhwal. Joshimath is about 270 km from Dehradun and Haridwar and is well connected by roads. Both Haridwar and Dehradun are connected by rail and air network to all the major cities of the country. Tourists from Delhi can also drive down straight to Joshimath in cars or buses. The distance between Delhi and Joshimath is 500 km.
The tourists visiting Valley of Flowers need to get a permit from the Forest Department at Ghangaria, a small settlement just 3 km from the Valley of Flowers. The permit is valid for 3 days. Visiting and trekking in the Valley of Flowers is allowed only during the daytime and nobody is permitted to stay inside the valley. Accommodations are available in Ghangaria for the tourists. The ideal time to visit is between late July and early September.
Valley of Flowers is mostly visited by nature enthusiasts, adventure tourists and researchers.