Friday, 26 June 2015

Valley of flowers



The valley of flowers is located in the district of Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India. This is one of the famous trekking routes of all times because of its unique feature of having different types of flowers in the midst of snow capped Himalayan mountains. This place is very special & fascinating which attracts lots of visitors during its peak season between July to September every year.

The route:

Place
Altitude(m)
Distance (km.)
Rishikesh
340
-
Joshimath
1890
250
Govindghat
1829
20
Pulna
1920
3 trek
Bhyundar
2439
7 trek
Ghangaria
3049
5 trek
Valley of flowers
3352 (lowest), 3658 (highest)
4 to 10 trek

Valley of flowers got recognition after its official discovery in 1931 by Frank Smythe, though many believe that Richard Holdworth, a botanist member of Smythe’s successful Kamet expedition was the real discoverer of this valley. The next prominent visitor of this valley was Joan Margaret Legge, who visited this valley in 1939 in pursuance to study the Smythe’s work on valley of flowers. Joan Margaret Legge camped in valley of flowers for few days but died in an accident while collecting the flowers when she slipped from a rock. In 1944, her sister visited this valley and built a memorial tombstone attributing her work for the valley with an inscription engraved, as follows:
“I shall lift my eyes up to the mountains, from whence cometh my help”.

This valley has concave shaped structure amidst snow capped mountains. The length of the valley is around 10 km with 2 km width. The lowest  point is at an altitude of 3352 mtr.  whereas the highest  point is located at an altitude of 3658 mtr. At the other end this valley is blocked by a massive mountain called Goradhungi, which is a snow capped Himalayan Mountain. There is an old traditional route to an altitude of 5091 mtr. to Bank kund, Gamshali valley and eventually to Niti, the last Indian village bordering to Tibet, China.
The valley is divided by the river Pushpawati along its length and many small water streamsmelting from mountain glaciers merge with this river. 

The Laxman Ganga river flowing out from Hemkund Sahib merges with Pushpawati at Ghangaria. The combined river retains its name Laxman Ganga until it merges with Alaknanda at Govindghat.
Nag Tal :
On the left bank of Pushpawatiriver, the area is known as Nag Tal, which is home to extremely poisonous flower. This flower is blue in colour and quite attractive, the botanical name of this flower is Aconitum Balfouri. Since the flower is quite attractive, so one should not be tempted to touch or pluck it. Make it a point that no flower should be plucked in order to maintain the valley’s sanctity and ecological balance. The Nag tal is not accessible due to absence of any bridge connecting it.
Time :
The different time zones for valley of flowers are as follows:
April – May :Galcial deposits melt to provide space for plants to crop out on surface.
Mid May to mid June : The buds start appearing and few of the varieties even start blooming.
Mid June to mid July : Many species start making their colonies and prepare to bloom.
Finally, between mid July to 3rd week of August, the valley reaches to its youth denoting full of flowers and this time may be considered the best time, although this valley is visited during other times also. This flower blooming continues till mid September and afterwards there is trend of flowers’ withering and  dyeing.
The flowers of this valley:
Few of the flowers are as follows:
Golden lily, Pedicularis, creamy Anemones, pink Perimula, white androsace, large purple Asters, blue Borage, rosy-petalled Cypripedium, blue forget-me-nots, green and chequered Fritillaries, pink Geraniums, purple and dwarf Irises, dwarf Larkspurs, Indigo-coloured Nomocharis, blue and yellow Pansies, mauve Polemoniums, golden lilly and many others.

The trek:
One can travel till Govindghat by using local motor transport or own vehicle. After Govindghat, one has to trek 15 km till Ghangria for over night stay. Ponies can be hired by those who can not trek by foot. On other day, the valley of flowers trek is done, which is 10 km maximum one way. Out of those 10 km, 6 km is valley of flowers. The tourists are mandatory to return on same day, as the camping and staying is not allowed in the valley.
                

The place Ghangria is also the base point for another famous holy place called Hemkund Sahib, which is 5 km trek from this place.


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