Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 5 of 7

Thread: The Mesmerising Valley of Flowers

  1. #1

    The Mesmerising Valley of Flowers


    High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanting valley adorning floral pastures with clear running streams set against silver birches and shining snow peaks. Dew lies thick on the flowers, birds sing in the surrounding forest and the air is pure and charged with floral smells. Hidden from the probing eyes of civilization, this valley had been known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar Valley, the playground of fairies and nymphs.

    Yes, the “Valley of Flowers” was our next trek destination. We had been planning for such a trek for quite sometime and with our Captain of the Wanderers Team, Anirbanda deciding upon the “Valley”, we were all set within a few days’ time. The day of start was decided to be August 6th 2011. The Valley becomes accessible from late April when the snow starts melting and flows down the buttresses and gullies of the adjoining mountains. The spring avalanches pouring down the slopes provide appropriate moisture for the flowers. The moist turf begins to pulsate with life and from the dead herbage of the previous summer, innumerable shoots of countless plants rise expectantly as though in anticipation of the warm life-giving breath of the approaching monsoon. From late July to the end of August, the Valley begins to take on celestial dimensions. The riot of colors is awe-inspiring. By September, the plants start podding and the Valley dons tranquil shades of brown. Visitors during September and October get to witness the Valley in a crystal clean atmosphere-the mountain ranges shining like polished steel in the sunlight, rain-washed rocks with gurgling streams and sun-kissed meadows about to be covered soon with a spotless white sheet of snow. The Valley was declared a National Park in 1982, and now it is a World Heritage Site. Our nature-loving selves found that the month of August would satisfy our search of ethereal beauty of the bloom.

    The trek route: Kolkata-Haridwar-Joshimath-Govindghat-Ghangria-Valley of Flowers-Hemkund-Ghangria-Govindghat-Badrinath-Joshimath-Rishikesh-Haridwar-Kolkata

    Places, altitudes and distances:

    Place Altitude (meters) Distance
    1 Joshimath 1,890 252 km, 8-9 hours drive from Rishikesh
    2 Govindghat 1,828 21 km, 1 hour drive from Joshimath
    3 Ghangria 3,048 14 Km, trek from Govindghat.
    4 Valley Of Flower 3,352 - 3,658 3 km from Ghangria
    5 Hemkund 4,329 5 km steep climb from Ghangria.

    Trail Map:

    Name:  v-trekmap.jpg
Views: 2526
Size:  107.0 KB

    Day 1
    August 6th, 2011

    We were a group of 13, including two children!! It was an odd combination for there were many new faces travelling together. With a common interest in photography and the exciting quest of the journey, soon all of us started bonding with each other. Being a photographic trek the luggage was to be kept minimal. The train was to leave Howrah at 1.10 p.m. It was raining heavily and finally our train left Howrah at 1.20 p.m. We were off to Haridwar.

    Day 2
    August 7th, 2011

    We reached Haridwar at 3.30 p.m. and checked ourselves in the Ganga Azure, which is quite near the station. One of our friends coming from Delhi joined us there at Haridwar. Haridwar is situated at height of 314 m from the sea level, between the Shivalik Hills in the North and Northeast and the Ganges River in the South. It is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time here giving the city its ancient name, Gangadwara.
    Some interesting facts: The name of the town has two spellings: Haridwar and Hardwar. Both of these names have their own significance.
    In Sanskrit, “Hari” means "Lord Vishnu" and “dwar” means "gate" or "gateway". So, Haridwar stands for "Gateway to Lord Vishnu". In order to reach Badrinath, one of the four Char Dhams with a temple of Lord Vishnu, Haridwar is a typical place to start a pilgrim's journey, therefore, the name Haridwar.
    In Sanskrit, Har means "Lord Shiva". Hence, Hardwar stands for "Gateway to Lord Shiva". In order to reach Kedarnath, one of the Chota Char Dhams with a temple of Lord Shiva, Haridwar is also a typical place to start a pilgrim's journey. Haridwar is also known as the home of Devi Parvati and the palace of her father Daksha.
    Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to the Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. Amidst the Kumbha Mela, millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord") and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.
    We decided to freshen up and without much ado headed for Har Ki Pauri at 5.30 p.m. to witness the evening Ganga aarti.

    Name:  1.jpg
Views: 4966
Size:  116.9 KB

    The aarti was a spiritual circus and we were in the thick of it surrounded by hundreds of people, pandits, babas, idols of various gods, loud speakers, clanging bells, singing, incense, flowers, and the flames. It starts at around 6.30pm after sunset, with large crowds gathering around both the banks of a canal that carries the waters of Ganges.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2.jpg 
Views:	736 
Size:	981.0 KB 
ID:	3766

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	3.JPG 
Views:	667 
Size:	1.43 MB 
ID:	3767

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4.jpg 
Views:	600 
Size:	617.6 KB 
ID:	3768

    Loud speakers blare songs in praise of Ganga Maiya and Lord Shiva. People keep walking in all direction trying to find a good place to sit or stand. Hawkers sell wick lamps or diyas to float in the Ganges. The aarti lasted for around 30 minutes. A few priests standing on the ghat swayed huge lamps backed by the blares of bhajans and instrumental music. Lamps of different sizes lit up in the hands of people all along the banks and was a pretty sight to watch in the darkness after sunset. The burning lamps with huge flames hypnotically moved around and around in circles. After the event we made our way to have some food. Through the narrow lanes flunked by various stalls selling every kind of thing that one can use to worship god – many colorful powders, vibhooti, rudraksha, stones of several colors and colorful necklaces, etc. Almost every other shop sold plastic cans to fill the holy water. Some shops that looked slightly modern, sold devotional audio and video material. The road is closed for motorized vehicles a kilometer before the ghat. Both sides of this portion of road looked like a devotional super market with a large number of pedestrians and the cycle rickshaws desperately trying to make some way between the ocean of people. We had an early dinner and retired for the day. We were to leave for Govindghat the next morning at 4.00 a.m. and had already arranged for a Tata Winger van, which would stay with us for next 7 days.

    Day 3
    August 8th, 2011

    At 4.30 a.m. in the fading darkness of the night we started off for Govindghat via Josimath through lush green forested roads along rivers and numerous streams. Govindghat, a town in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India. It is the road head and the starting point for trekking to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. It is 298 m away from Haridwar. We knew that all along the journey to Govindghat we would come across the Panch Prayag. Panch Prayag is an expression used to connote the five sacred river confluences in the Garhwal Himalayas. The five prayags are namely the Vishnu Prayag, Nand Prayag, Karn prayag, Rudra Prayag and Dev Prayag, in the descending flow sequence of their occurrence. It starts with the Vishnu Prayag on the Alaknanda River, which is one of the two source streams of the sacred river Ganges in the Garhwal Himalayas; the other streams are the Dhauliganga, Mandakini, Pindar and the Bhagirathi - the head stream of the Ganges.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	6.jpg 
Views:	848 
Size:	1.07 MB 
ID:	3769

    Soon we reached our first prayag, Devprayag. Devprayag is a town and a nagar panchayat (municipality) in Pauri Garhwal district in the state of Uttarakhand and is one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River. Traditionally, it is considered to be the place where sage Devasharma led his ascetic life, giving birth to its present name, Devprayag.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	7.jpg 
Views:	1060 
Size:	1.37 MB 
ID:	3770

    It is one of the important places of pilgrimage for devout Hindus. Devprayag is 70 km from Rishikesh and has the average elevation of 830 m (2,723 feet). The Alaknanda rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers in Uttarakhand. The headwaters of the Bhagirathi are formed at Gaumukh, at the foot of the Gangotri glacier and Khatling glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya. These two sacred rivers join to form the Ganges (Ganga) in Devprayag. After a brief photo session we left the beautiful place and carried on with our journey. A little ahead we came across a cloudy meander of the river Alaknanda.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	8.jpg 
Views:	733 
Size:	984.3 KB 
ID:	3771

    The sight was heavenly and we savoured it with all our hearts. Soon we drove past a bridge over the alongside river and after a while reached Rudraprayag.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	9.jpg 
Views:	2510 
Size:	1.40 MB 
ID:	3772

    Rudraprayag is a town and a municipality in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Here lies the confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. Pilgrims go to Kedarnath, a Hindu holy town which is located 86 km from Rudraprayag. It has an average elevation of 895 m (2,936 ft). Rudraprayag is named after Rudra, an aspect of Lord Shiva. According to a widely narrated legend, Shiva performed the Tandava here. Shiva also played his favourite musical instrument the Rudra veena here. By playing the Veena, he enticed god Vishnu to his presence and converted him to water.. An ancient shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of 'Rudra'. Next came Karnaprayag at a height of 788 m (2,600 ft). Karnaprayag is a city and municipal board in Chamoli District. It is situated at the confluence of the Alaknanda, and the Pindar River, which arises from the icy Pindari glacier. Karnaprayag is named after Karna, the legendary Mahabharata character, known for his bravery and generosity. It is believed that Karnaprayag is the place where Karna meditated and worshipped Suryadev or the Sun God for many years in order to acquire the impregnable shield, to enable him to be a formidable warrior in the battlefield. There is an ancient temple at Karnaprayag, dedicated to Uma Devi. Nanda Devi, towers above at 7,816 m (25,634 ft.), and is surrounded by an array of glittering peaks, Trishul, Drona Giri, Narad Ghunti, Mrigathuni and Maiktoli. Then came Nanda Prayag 20 km from Karna Prayag, Nand Prayag is formed by the confluence of the Alaknanda & Mandakini (flowing from a glacier near Nanda Devi Peak). It is said that confluence is named after the pious Raja Nanda. According to one legend, the king had been promised the boon of Vishnu as a son. It has an average elevation of 1,358 m (4,455 ft). Lastly came Vishnuprayag, which lies at the confluence of Alaknanda River and Dhauliganga River on the Joshimath-Badrinath route, in Chamoli district. According to mythology, it is the place where Sage Narada meditated, after which Lord Vishnu appeared before him. Kagbhusandi Lake, with its emerald green water, is a nearby attraction. It has an average elevation of 1,372 m.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	10.jpg 
Views:	579 
Size:	1.17 MB 
ID:	3773

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	11.jpg 
Views:	807 
Size:	1.36 MB 
ID:	3774

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	12.jpg 
Views:	745 
Size:	459.2 KB 
ID:	3775

    At around 5.00 p.m. we reached near Pipalkoti. We learnt here that there was a massive landslide about 11 kms away and that all the roads were closed for the day. We were forced to stay at Pipalkoti for the night. Road onward from this place is difficult and heavy slides obstruct the traffic.

    Name:  16.jpg
Views: 1963
Size:  120.7 KB

    Name:  15.jpg
Views: 2409
Size:  114.8 KB

    A unit of GRIF, A body of Border Road organization, is stationed here permanently-described by Prabhat Tandon,Bareilly,UP,India. Pipalkoti, is a busy town cradled in the lap of lush green mountain and terraced fields. It is 80 kms from Badrinath on Rishikesh-Badrinath route.

    Name:  17.jpg
Views: 1812
Size:  115.7 KB

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	14.jpg 
Views:	897 
Size:	1.45 MB 
ID:	3777

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	13.jpg 
Views:	734 
Size:	1.66 MB 
ID:	3776

    We were already exhausted from the day-long drive and quickly checked ourselves into Ajay Palace and had our dinner later in the night. The rooms were big and the hotel provides with clear views of the surrounding mountains and the neighboring terraced fields.

    Day 4
    August 9th, 2011

    The morning was bright and clear. We took some pictures of the adjoining mountains, which had already started getting bigger and closer.

    Name:  18.jpg
Views: 1577
Size:  140.3 KB

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	19.jpg 
Views:	546 
Size:	993.5 KB 
ID:	3819

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20.jpg 
Views:	612 
Size:	817.5 KB 
ID:	3820

    With dampening thoughts of the landslide ahead we had our breakfast. Later in the morning our driver brought in the good news that the roads would open by 12.30 p.m. It was enough a silver lining for our otherwise morose selves. We quickly gathered ourselves up and geared up for Govindghat. We had lunch at a Punjabi dhaba nearby Ajay Palace as it was discovered that they serve eggs, a taboo in Dev Bhumi. But we were by now at our carnivorous best and almost ran to the place to have some steaming hot omelets. Lunch was satisfying. We left Pipalkoti at 3.30 p.m. for Govindghat (54 Kms. / 2.5 hrs).
    Last edited by shubha_dg; 11th September 2012 at 09:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	21.jpg 
Views:	410 
Size:	1.19 MB 
ID:	3926

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	22.jpg 
Views:	396 
Size:	918.1 KB 
ID:	3927

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	23.jpg 
Views:	418 
Size:	884.4 KB 
ID:	3928

    We crossed Josimath at around 5.00 p.m. Jyotirmath or Joshimath is home to one of the four cardinal pīthas established by Adi Shankara. Jyotirmath is the uttarāmnāya matha or northern monastery, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara, the others being those at Sringeri, Puri and Dwaraka. This place can be a base station for travellers going to Guru Gobind Ghat or the Valley of Flowers National Park. A little further away we saw that all the cars ahead of us were lined up on the road as one of them had a punctured tyre. We had already reached Vishnuprayag Hydroelectric Project and it would take us another hour and a half to reach Govindghat. We had no option but to wait as the roads here are so narrow that no car can cross over. We had to wait for another 1.5 hrs.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	24.jpg 
Views:	434 
Size:	1,015.2 KB 
ID:	3929

    It was getting dark and finally the car was fixed and we drove ahead to Govindghat.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	route map from rishikesh to badrinath.jpg 
Views:	5538 
Size:	171.1 KB 
ID:	3930

    Name:  25.jpg
Views: 1808
Size:  59.4 KB

    Govindghat , a town in Chamoli district, is the road-head and the starting point for trekking to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. Located on the confluence of the Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers, it is roughly 22 km from Joshimath on NH58 at an altitude of 6000 feet. Hundreds of people, mostly Sikh pilgrims on way to the holy shrine of Hemkund Sahib and occasional tourists to the Valley of Flowers, arrive here everyday. We reached Govindghat at 7.00 p.m. and checked into Hotel Ganga.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	26.jpg 
Views:	764 
Size:	928.0 KB 
ID:	3932

    We had dinner at Hotel Badrish right across the street. Soon we realized that there was no signal in our mobiles. We were slowly been cut off from urbanization. Noise of the flowing river dominated the otherwise quite surroundings. River Lakshman Ganga was nearby.

    Day 5
    August 10th, 2011

    The early morning started with light drizzle and we instructed our driver to wait at the hotel for the next two days as there are no motorable roads ahead of Govindghat to Ghangaria. Various agencies manage parking places where one can park their vehicles for long durations, generally till they return from the trek. All essential stuffs, which one may require for trekking, is available in the local market. Mules and porters are available here for trekking to Ghangaria about 13 km, which is the base camp for visiting Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. We packed light luggage sufficient for two days and left the rest of them at our hotel room booked for the next three days. What seemed to be outlines of huge blackness looming in front of us in the previous night, now were stupendous mountains standing before our eyes. Lakshman Ganga was flowing in front of our eyes just behind Badrish. The mountain which we were to trek to reach Ghangaria was in front of our eyes and on close observation we could see miniature figures of people climbing the spiral paths of the mountain.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	27.JPG 
Views:	426 
Size:	1.58 MB 
ID:	3933

    We sure knew by now that we were in for a treat. We started off at 8.30 a.m. for the grueling trek to our next stop Ghangaria begun and soon came across a bridge crossing over to the other side of the Lakshman Ganga. The other side was the foot of the mountain that we were to climb. After crossing the foot bridge over Lakshman Ganga, lots and lots of mule-waalas offered to take us up.

    Name:  29.jpg
Views: 1584
Size:  115.9 KB

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	30.jpg 
Views:	423 
Size:	1,023.6 KB 
ID:	3935

    There were numerous Pithoos too. Total distance from Govindghat to Ghangaria is around 14 km. One has either to travel all the way up walking or can opt to hire a porter or mule. The weather was by now clear and sunny and the cold winds were pleasing. It was decided that Pithoos (Cane Baskets used to carry people, luggage, children etc.) would be arranged for the children. A few of us also arranged for porters to take our luggage. The track was littered with mule dung and the strong smell persisted till Ghangria. The track is crowded by Sikh pilgrims. The valley was echoing with the voices of hundreds of Sikh pilgrims chanting “Satnam Waheguru!” The chant sets the rhythm for their footsteps and it helped us as well to keep going. We saw many kids on mule back followed by their elders.
    Last edited by shubha_dg; 12th September 2012 at 02:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	31.jpg 
Views:	347 
Size:	1.01 MB 
ID:	3936

    Name:  32.jpg
Views: 1497
Size:  146.7 KB

    Many aged people opted to be carried by the Palkis carried by four shepas at each corner. There were mules carrying goods also. One has to be real careful and move to the hill-side when a mule comes along; otherwise the danger of being accidentally pushed over the slope is very real. The climb is mostly steep, and occasionally levels out. The path moves along river Lakshman Ganga, which flows down below.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	33.JPG 
Views:	646 
Size:	1.40 MB 
ID:	3938

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	34.jpg 
Views:	602 
Size:	1.34 MB 
ID:	3939

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	35.jpg 
Views:	474 
Size:	1.39 MB 
ID:	3940

    As we moved up, we come closer to the level at which the river flows. There were tea and snack stalls all along the way up, which serve tea, "maggie" noodles, aloo-prathas, chips etc. Anything one buys is costlier than Govindghat, mainly because everything has to be hauled up on mules. We broke our journey frequently, stopping for tea, noodles or parathas.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	36.jpg 
Views:	387 
Size:	1.68 MB 
ID:	3941

    The first few kms were arduous, really steep and occasionally leveling out. All along, the path was uneven. The trail is full of green valleys, snow covered peaks and rivers/streams.

    Name:  38.jpg
Views: 1628
Size:  137.7 KB

    One is mesmerized by the eye catching views from the mountain slopes. On the way, we came across the Bhyundaar village which looked picturesque, set in the middle of the mountains and the river flowing through it. Further up and we are able to climb down and reach the river. We decide to relax for some time next to the river. The flow is strong and it proved to be a good spot for some amazing snaps. Our eyes had already spotted species of Cobra Lily, Clematis vine, and the beautiful Inula. The trek continued and the last bit was a very steep climb which tires one out, but one is always rewarded with a beautiful view from the top. We spotted a helipad just 1 km before Ghangria with a few tents around it. It was for the rich who can afford it.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	37.jpg 
Views:	458 
Size:	1.89 MB 
ID:	3943

    They can fly from Govindghat to Ghangaria avoiding putting their physical abilities to a grueling test. We took our final walk through the steepest part of the climb taking us into Ghangria, a small village by the side of the river Lakshman Ganga. In Ghangria the larger river Pushpawati flowing from Rataban and Nilgiri Ranges cuts across the Valley of Flowers, meetig the Lakshman Ganga from Hemkund Lake (The glaciers of Haathi Parvat and SaptShring peaks forms this lake). From here onwards the river is known as Lakshman Ganga.
    It is the last human habitation in this tiny valley. This place is usually used by travelers as a base camp to visit Hemkund and Valley of flowers. It is only open from May till September. The rest of the year the valley is covered under 8 feet of snow. There are no houses visible, only hotels. Some of us made our way to a temporary shelter of a roadside stall for we had availed the mule in midway had already reached our destination at around 1.30 p.m. We waited for the rest climbing on foot.

    Name:  41.jpg
Views: 1681
Size:  121.0 KB

    It had started raining the weather started getting chilly. The huge mountains looming before our eyes were slowly getting shrouded in moisture laden clouds. All of a sudden visibly was near zero.

    Name:  39.jpg
Views: 1474
Size:  57.6 KB

    There was a continuous flow of people reaching Ghangaria on foot or on mule. Many of the mules were tied to the fences and left alone to drench in the rain. It was a sorry sight. It was learnt from the mule waalas that they take such trip almost 3-4 times a day. We were out of our wits. Hungry and tired we ordered tea and Maggie the stall waala obliged us. We did not have any prior bookings of our stay. The wait seemed never ending but ultimately the rest arrived around 4.30 p.m. By that time it was freezing cold outside and hastened ourselves to find a comfortable hotel. The passage through the village is narrow, uneven, strewn with mule-dung wetted with rain, lined with hotels on both sides. It is like a crowded bazaar. The biggest building there is the Gurudwara, which is always a fallback option for staying. It provides free accomodation and a blanket to anybody who comes. The GMVN guesthouse was fully booked in advance. We soon realized the mistake of not having checked into some hotel during our 3-hour long wait. The hotels were all packed and it seemed to be an unusually crowded day. With difficulty, we managed to find a place for the night. We checked into Hotel Kuber. We had dinner at one of the many restaurants there, all of which served almost identical menu. We had the usual Punjabi veg stuff, and retired for the night.
    Last edited by shubha_dg; 12th September 2012 at 04:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Day 6
    August 11th, 2011

    The day started on a cloudy note and we had plans of going to the Valley on this day.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	42.jpg 
Views:	583 
Size:	1.22 MB 
ID:	3946

    The Valley was introduced to the world as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S, Smith a mountaineer, explorer and botanist who camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and did valuable exploratory work. He authored a book called "The Valley of Flowers" which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.
    In 1939, Miss Margarate Legge, a botanist deputed by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost for ever in the garden of the gods. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals. The thoughtful memorial is still there and the lines inscribed on the marble slab read:
    "I will lift mine eyes
    unto the Hills
    from whence cometh my strength"

    Name:  40.jpg
Views: 1490
Size:  155.7 KB

    We took some dry foods with us for there is nothing available at the top and the food comes pretty handy if one wants to spend sometime in and around the place. Since the Valley of Flowers is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are rules that need to be followed to help it maintain its divinity. Unfortunately one of the rules was that one cannot camp in the valley. The trek is subject to strict ecological discipline and the trekker is expected to be concerned about the ecosystem of the region. The Valley of Flowers is a 4 km climb from Ghangria. We walked out of Ghangria, from the side opposite to the one from which we entered the previous day.

    Name:  43.jpg
Views: 1672
Size:  131.7 KB

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	44.jpg 
Views:	709 
Size:	1.49 MB 
ID:	3949

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	54.jpg 
Views:	1076 
Size:	1.97 MB 
ID:	3950

    We crossed a bridge across Lakshman Ganga, which we saw falling down from the rocky mountain far away. It originates from the Hemkund lake. The Laxman Ganga joins the Pushpawati river 400 mtrs. downstream. After the bridge, the path bifurcates - the right one goes to Hemkund, and the left one leads to the Valley of Flowers. No mules are allowed into the Valley, although one can ride right upto Hemkund. A difference is noticed soon. The smell of mule-dung which had gotten to our heads was replaced by the pleasant smell of vegetation. We crossed the check-post after entering our names in the register, and paying a nominal fee of Rs. 150 per head. Just before one enters the gate to the park there is a board that talks about the animals (Snow Leopards, Blue Sheep etc.) and the picturesque location of the Valley of Flowers (Phoolon ki Ghati in Hindi). There is a stream coming down from the left, and one has to cross it over a makeshift bridge.

    Name:  45.jpg
Views: 5910
Size:  95.9 KB

    The path goes down, and there is an iron bridge over Pushpawati River which hurtles down with great fury, and meets Lakshman Ganga at Ghangria. The Valley of Flowers is flanked on either side by majestic peaks, many capped with snow. The Pushpawati river, emerging from the glacial deposits around Rataban and Nilgiri ranges, cuts through the Valley. Exotic flowers start right from here. Blue poppies are here on the rocks beside the bridge, but most visitors walk past without noticing them. Climbing up from the bridge, the path is narrow and the river is way down below, with rocky slopes on both sides.

    Name:  46.jpg
Views: 1497
Size:  99.7 KB

    The Valley of Flowers is an alpine valley, and has been formed by the retreating glaciers whose periodic advances and retreat pulverize hard rocks, resulting in a smooth U-shaped valley which was later colonized by numerous plants adopting themselves to the harsh climatic conditions prevailing there. The Valley remains snow covered from November to May but when the ice envelope thaws in June it is a signal for profusion of colors hidden in petals of alpine during July and August.

    Name:  47.jpg
Views: 1588
Size:  171.0 KB

    Some important flowering plants having tremendous medicinal values are: Anemone, Geranium, Marsh, Marigold, Primula, Potentilla, Geum, Aster. Lilium, Himalayanblue poppy, Aconite, Delphinium, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Inula, Saussurea abvallata, Campanula. Pedicularis, Trysimum, Morina, Impetiens, Bistorta. Ligularia. Anaphalis Saxifraga, Lobelia, Thermophis, Trolises. Aquilogia, Codonopsis, Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Strawberries and Rhododendron etc. From late July to the end of August, the Valley begins to take on celestial dimensions. The riot of colors is awe-inspiring. Although the main land of the Valley is about 4 kms. from Ghanghria, flowers and foliage in exotic varieties can be spotted throughout the route. Immediately as one crosses the Laxman Ganga, colonies of blue Hackelia uncinata, commonly known as 'forget me not' can be seen in the midst of shrubs and foliage along the path. Primulas, Morinas, wild roses and many other species are quite abundant.

    Name:  48.jpg
Views: 1532
Size:  56.4 KB

    Name:  49.jpg
Views: 1432
Size:  60.2 KB

    Name:  50.jpg
Views: 1663
Size:  90.6 KB

    Name:  51.jpg
Views: 1485
Size:  128.8 KB

    Name:  52.jpg
Views: 1439
Size:  128.2 KB

    On reaching the banks of Pushpawati, a rich formation of blue poppies, sun flowers, Ligularia and pink Andsosace can be seen between the rocky stretches near the bridge abetment. After crossing the river, to its right bank, you can see various flowers in small pockets dotting the entire distance. Pedicularis in pink and yellow, Phlomis in purple and Potentilla in all shades can be seen. Further on, towards the approach of the main Valley, are gorgeous varieties of wild roses, Rhododendron, Geranium and the killer plant Polygonum which is at present off-setting the floral composition of the valley.

    Name:  53.jpg
Views: 2018
Size:  156.4 KB

    A large variety of ferns like Epiphytic, maidenhair and oak fern can be seen. It is often said that the root stock of almost all high altitude alpine flowers lies in and around the Valley of Flowers. The oak trees, blue pine and other conifers between Ghanghria and the bridge on Pushpawati are sometimes laden with ferns and tendrils hanging from their branches. The forests on the higher formations are full of birch trees, popularly known as bhojpatra whose bark was supposedly used to write scriptures in ancient times although there are regions where tall plants are totally missing. Apart from the flowering plants, wild animals like Himalayan birds, phigents, butterflies, Tendula, Musk deer, Bharal Mountain goats, Himalayan bear, tail less rat etc. enchances the beauty too. The Valley of Flowers is an irresistible treat for naturalists, ecologists. environmentalists, zoologists, ornithologists, trekkers. tourists and pilgrims. The steep climb clasping the sides of the mountain stepping over the rocky terrain left us out of breath in no time.

  5. #5
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	57.jpg 
Views:	375 
Size:	1,012.9 KB 
ID:	3960

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	58.jpg 
Views:	411 
Size:	1.51 MB 
ID:	3961

    Our journey to the huge rock at the top of the valley continued and we crossed many small streams and also hit upon a glacier on the way. The breathtaking view around the glacier surely took some time off the journey.

    Name:  59.jpg
Views: 1517
Size:  77.2 KB

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	69.jpg 
Views:	379 
Size:	1.36 MB 
ID:	3981

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	91.jpg 
Views:	413 
Size:	1.11 MB 
ID:	3982

    We could see the river flowing right under the glacier on which we were standing. It also bridges the distance between the mountains on the opposite side. It does not take long in the Valley to start raining. Clouds soon descended without warning, and it started raining. As we took shelter under the huge rocks we saw the flowers sway to the rhythm of the monsoon breeze as it ripples across the slopes and the atmosphere was filled with an indescribable scent of plant life.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	60.jpg 
Views:	403 
Size:	975.3 KB 
ID:	3963

    We stood there for quite sometime enjoying the chilly wind on our faces. We had already put on our raincoats and hunger was suddenly taking over our emotions. We took out the dry foods that we carried to the top and savored them in the heavenly environment. It was already decided that we would visit the grave of Mary Legge as there was a signboard indicating the way to the grave. We paid our respects to an enthusiastic botanist and explorer who lost her life in the Valley. If one walks further down the Valley, he comes to a stream which has a small bridge.

    Name:  61.jpg
Views: 1271
Size:  124.2 KB
    Last edited by shubha_dg; 13th September 2012 at 01:50 PM.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

About is a travel community devoted to all citizen travellers from all over the world.

    Every member is a Wanderer, whether you read, write or share!!

Recommended Links

Follow us on

Twitter Facebook RSS Feed