Himalayan Valley of Flowers National Park
Valley of Flowers National Park is near to Badrinath in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand state, India on the Western Himalayas. It is quite hard to access this valley and hence was not known to the outside world, until 1931. In 1931, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton, and R.L. Holdsworth accidentally stumbled upon this area on their return journey from Mount Kamet, the second-highest mountain in the Garhwal region. It takes four days of trekking
Himalayan Valley of Flowers National Park was declared as a national park in 1982. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site (along with nearby Nanda Devi National Park), at 3250 to 6750 meters above sea level. The main valley is 8 kilometers by 2 kilometers in length and breadth. this national park has an area of 87.50 square kilometers
Flowers in the valley of flowers National Park changes its colors at different times/days according to the colors of the flowers and is one of the most beautiful High Altitude Valleys of the World. Himalayan valley of flowers in Uttarakhand is rich in flora with different species of valley flowers.
Alpine flowers, a rare species, is found only in this Himalayan Valley National Park in the world. There are many other species of flora in this valley.
Valley of flowers India National Park is rich in fauna with many endangered species of animals like Snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, and brown bear.
Nada Devi National Park borders Valley of Flowers National Park.
Valley of flowers trekking is a major activity in the Valley of Flowers National Park.
How Do I Go to Himalayan Valley of flowers in Uttarakhand?
Valley of Flowers National Park is around 600 kilometers from New Delhi, the capital of India. The nearest airport to the flowers valley is at Dehradun, at 300 kilometers distance.
Rishikesh, at around 275 kilometers distance, is the nearest railway head.
Joshimath is the nearest town to the valley.
Normal Trekking Itinerary to the Himalayan Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara
Summary – Reach Joshimath. From there, go to Govindghat. Then trek to the Base camp at Ghangaria.
Details: Govindghat is at around 6000 feet altitude and around 22 kilometers from Joshimath on NH58, is the point where trekking to Himalayan valley flowers National Park starts. You need to trek around 13 kilometers from Govindghat to reach the base camp at Ghangaria. (Only BSNL mobile phones have signal in these areas; that too very week signal.)
You may travel a distance of around 4 kilometers up to Pulna by Jeep, from Govindghat. In that case, you need to trek only the remaining 9 kilometers to reach the base camp at Ghangaria.
The last entry time at Ghangaria base camp is 3 pm. (Sometimes, this may get relaxed by an hour or two or a little longer, if you are lucky and hold the previous bookings. Again, this relaxation is totally dependent on the officers on duty there.)
You can go by mule to the valley of flowers base camp at Ghangaria. It lacks adventure and costs Rs 1000 or even higher in some cases.
There is a Gurudwara at Ghangaria. Free food and accommodation are available here.
Summary- Ghangaria base camp to the Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangaria base camp
Details – The paradise, i.e. the valley of flowers, is at around 3 – 4 kilometers from the base camp at Ghangaria. It requires passing through some of the dangerous trekking rails, to reach the valley. After spending some time, you are required to trek back to the base camp, on the same day. (You are not allowed to stay overnight in the valley of flowers). Return trekking is even more dangerous.
Note: From Ghangaria to the valley of flowers, there are people who carry those who can not walk, inside the large baskets on their back.
Day 3 (Optional)
Summary – Trekking to the Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara
Details – The famous holy Sikh Shrine of Hemkund Sahib is also near to the Ghangaria base camp. It is around six kilometers distance from the Ghangaria base camp, at around 14100 feet altitude.
Those who are interested and adventurous can trek to this holy place. It takes one day for the to and fro trekking to the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara from Ghangaria base camp; a total of 12 kilometers, including return journey. You are not allowed to stay at the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, after 3 pm.
Bhrama Kamalam flowers are seen on the route to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara.
Note: There are mules for those who are unable to walk to the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara from Ghangaria base camp.
Day 4 / Day 3 (For those who avoided the optional third-day trek to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara )
Summary – Return from Ghangaria base camp to Govindghat and then back to Joshimath town, thus ending the trekking package to the Himalayan valley of flowers.
Which is the Ideal Time to Visit the Himalayan Valley of Flowers?
Valley of Flowers National Park is open only for 5 months, from June to October, as it is snow-covered during other months. It is open from 6 am to 6 pm and night camping inside the valley is not allowed.
Valley of Flowers National Park is only for the medically fit, as it requires a strenuous hike of the Himalayas.