The state of Uttarakhand has so many exquisite and breathtaking places in its natural bounty that just one or two visits will never leave you satisfied. One such place that compels the travelers to visit Uttarakhand again and again is the Valley of Flowers National Park located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, that is the epitome of beauty and a specimen of heaven on earth. Endowed with the majestic backdrop of the mighty Himalayan ranges, the Valley of Flowers National Park is spread in an area of 87 sq. kilometers and offers the visitors an ethereal and jaw-dropping spectacle. It is India’s most popular and oldest known treks which is in the bucket list of many young trekkers, even those who haven’t visited Uttarakhand.
In 1980, the Indian government created the Valley of Flowers National Park and later in 2002, it was credited the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the parts of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (the other being the Nanda Devi National Park ). It is believed that the valley was discovered by three British mountaineers in the year 1931, when they lost their way and found this spectacular valley. Moved by the exquisiteness of the place, they named the area the ‘Valley of Flowers’. The trek to this exquisite place starts from June till the end of October, when it brings forth the best monsoon beauty you will ever come across. Despite the ascending trek that will test your fitness, it renders to mental and emotional satisfaction. Apart from the thrilling trek and the spectacular bounty of nature, Valley of Flowers is popular for religious significances as well. Hemkund Sahib, a Sikh pilgrim, is the highest located Gurudwara which also attracts an influx of trekkers every year who want to enjoy the gift of God and have some peace of mind while being near to the religious sanctum.
As suggested by the name, the Valley of Flowers is a place where you can see the nature in its full bloom and glory while offering the visitors a visual treat to the eyes and an unforgettable memory. Exotic flowers of over 600 distinct species such as orchids, poppies, marigold, anemones, daisies, roses, etc., can be seen here in full blossom which makes the surrounding a natural palette of colors and aroma filling your sensory organs with delight. The rest of the park area is covered by sub-alpine forest birch and rhododendron floral species. Even before reaching the valley filled with flowers, the crisp mountain breeze coming from the glacial peaks brings with it the scents that you might have not smelled before. Even the trek to this valley is a mesmerizing spectacle with cascading waterfalls and streams flowing down which is all enhanced by the high and mighty hills surrounding the place. But as much as mesmerizing the trail to this valley is, it is not very easy as well. it is a moderate level trek with long trekking days and a steep climb to Hemkund Sahib that will test your stamina. The park is located at an altitude of 3600m above sea level and is home to an exotic wildlife species some of which are found only in the hill areas such as Grey Langur, Himalayan Weasel, Black Bear, the Lime Butterfly, Snow Leopard, etc. Nature enthusiasts, trek lovers, and wildlife photographers often visit this part of the globe, as it is one of the most special ecological biospheres on our planet. Embarking on this journey to trek in nature’s lap will give you some of the most thrilling, exciting, and mesmerizing experiences of spotting the wildlife and flora together while moving forward with your adrenaline pumping high.
Herbal plants namely Aconitum heterophyllum, Afalconeri, Arnebia Benthami, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Gymnadenia Orchids, Megacarpa polyandra, Picrorhiza Kuruma, and Taxus wallichiana dominate the area.
Flowering plants include Orchids, Marigolds, Poppies, Anemones, Daisies, Primrose, Roses, Dog Flower, etc.
Mammals: Grey Langur, Flying Squirrel, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Yellow-Throated Marten, Himalayan Goral, Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Thar, Serow, Bharal, Blue Sheep, Common Leopard, Brown Bear, Snow Leopard, Red Fox, Himalayan Weasel, Indian Chevrotain, etc.
Birds: Himalayan Vulture, Yellow Billed and Red Billed Choughs, Koklass Pheasant, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Scaly-Bellied and Yellow-Nape Woodpecker, Blue-Throated Barbets, Snow Pigeon, Spotted Dove, etc.
Reptiles: Lizard, Himalayan Ground Skink, Himalayan Pit Viper, etc.
Trekking is one of the most adventurous and thrilling activities that one can pamper themselves with and that too in a place comprising lush green meadows, snow capped mountain peaks, and breathtaking landscape filled with the most vibrant flowers. A trek to the Valley of Flowers is the most satiating and is on the bucket list of many trek lovers from all over the country. It consists of a blend of stunning panorama when one moves along, while the climate and the soothing environment with crisp breeze keep washing away the tiredness.
The Valley of Flowers is in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand which is remotely located and takes a minimum of 3 days to reach from Haridwar . The last motorable point is Govindghat which is 20km from Badrinath, one of the four Char Dhams. It is 300km from Rishikesh from where the journey usually starts. After reaching Govindghat, travelers need to ascend the steep to start the trek. The trek to the Valley of Flowers is still medium hard, but the ascend to the Hemkund Sahib is a lot more tough and is not everyone’s cup of tea. But nonetheless, a trek to the Valley of Flower in Uttarakhand is a must-have experience which will give one an opportunity to grab and keep in hand several memories that will remain a part of your life as happy memories to reminisce.
The weather in the park is generally cold and temperate. The winters from December to March are very cold and the mountains are covered with snow while the monsoons can be pretty heavy too and landslides can occur sometimes. The summers are very pleasant with the shining sun making it easy to explore the national park.
The Valley of Flowers is open to visitors from June to October as it is covered with snow and inaccessible the rest of the year. The best time to visit this park is from mid-June to mid-September, when wild flowers are in full bloom after the first monsoon rain.
By Air: Nearest airport is in Dehradun, which is the capital city, at about 295km from the park. The airport is well-connected buy road network and transportation is easily available to reach Chamoli.
By Train: The closest railway station is Rishikesh at about 276km from the national park and one other is at Dehradun also. The stations are well-connected by road network and public and private vehicles are available to take you to Chamoli district.
By Road: Chamoli is well-connected to all the major cities and places in and near Uttarakhand via road network. There are a number of private and public vehicles operating that go to the park frequently.
The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is best visited from the month of June till October. It is at this time of the year that you will see different varieties of flowers and many rare and endangered species frolicking in the area. During the winters, the peak and the valley is snow clad and it the flora only grows after April. Also, it is not advisable to trek during the winters as it is very difficult to access it at that time.
The entrance into the Valley of Flowers is from 7 am and it must be left before 5 pm.