“High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanted Valley.” About 600 kilometers from Delhi, in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal can be found The Valley of Flowers, a breathtaking array of over 500 different species of wild flowers spread over an area of 87.5 km². It is situated a height of 11,000 feet to 14,000 feet above the sea level in the Western Himalayas.
This mysterious valley was hidden from the outside world, with only locals frequenting the place. Initially, it was avoided by the shepherds who believed this magical valley to be the celestial playground of the Gods, nymphs and fairies.
The Valley was discovered by Frank Smith, a mountaineer, botanist and an explorer who came across it quite accidentally in 1931. He was so captivated by its outstanding beauty, which was in its full bloom at the time that he wrote a book about it called “Valley of Flowers”. Thus, the Valley remained a secret no more much to the delight of nature enthusiasts all over the world.
The Valley itself is flanked on either side by imposing peaks, capped with snow. It is divided into two sections due to the Pushpawati River which cuts through the valley. The major portion of this valley is on its right bank and is every trekker’s dream come true. The entire trek from Govindghat to the valley via Ghangharia is a feast to the eyes. The Valley of flowers changes color almost every day, as it blooms with hundreds of new different flowers along with the changing shades of the old flowers as time passes by. It has been acknowledged by botanists, mountaineers and nature lovers as one of the most picturesque high altitude valleys in the world.
It was only in 1982 that an area of 8,950 hectares of the valley was declared a National Park. In July 2005, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is mainly due to the fact that the valley contains so much rich diversified fauna within its area especially as it is a meeting point of Zanskar, Himalayan ranges and Eastern and Western Himalayas. The importance of this beautiful valley is furthered as many endangered flower species and medicinal plants can be found here.
From November to May, the valley is covered in a bed of snow but the flora here is well adapted to the harsh climatic conditions. The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is in the months of July and August after the snow has melted. The flowers are in full bloom during this time, giving you ample opportunity to enjoy the never ending charm of this place.