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Monday, December 11, 2017

Valley of Flowers Offers Sublime Trekking Opportunities

Credit: Devendra Singh
Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand

The Valley of Flowers offers a sublime experience like nowhere else on Earth. The trek to the valley of flowers is a real difficult one. If you are planning for the trek, read on to get all info...

Valley of Flowers Offers Sublime Trekking Opportunities like Nowhere Else on Earth. The Valley of Flowers in Uttarkhand, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserves is home to some really rare species of Alpine flowers which when bloom present an enchanting sight to behold indeed. Nature lovers, botanists, florists from every corner of the globe are drawn to this unique fairy land to have a glimpse of that colorful floral bounty in full blooms. The trek to the valley of flowers is a real difficult one. If you are planning for the trek, read on to get all the relevant info.

Valley of Flowers

Notified as a UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Valley of Flowers offers a sublime experience like nowhere else on Earth. The gentle rolling meadow comes to life in summer as millions of alpine flowers bloom in a variety of colors against a backdrop of the Green forest covered Zanskar ranges swathed in clouds at the top. Located at a height of about 3352 meters, the Valley is also home to snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep and the black bear in addition to birds of colorful plumage.

Trekking and Sightseeing
It is best to spare at least 3 days for a trek through the Valley. Wear tough walking shoes and warm clothing. Carry a water bottle and bare necessities since weight of your backpack can tire you. Walking through the flower strewn Valley is like walking in paradise and people do tend to forget that they have to make the return trip so as to exit by 5 PM. It is best to reach the gate by 6.30 AM and have tickets in hand by the time entry opens at 7 AM. Keep in mind that you can lose track of distance and time so it is best to go forward and then make a decision to return by 2 PM. The walk will take you across paths with flowers carpeting the land on both side and then on to tiny waterfalls on the way and the natural green covered slopes of the mountains, a lovely, soul-fulfilling experience. From Ghangaria you can walk a distance of 9 to 11 kilometers across the Valley but most people can manage a trek of only 4 to 5 kilometers within the allotted time. The trek will also take you to the Pushpawati River bed, about 6 km from Ghangaria. From Ghangaria you can go on to Hemkund Sahib to visit the famous Sikh Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru. Another day can be devoted to visiting the Nanda Devi National Park, close to the Valley. The Nanda Devi sanctuary is spread over 2236 sq. km and the Park covers an area of 630 sq. km inside the Biosphere Reserve so, at best, you can only get to visit a part of the Park. The most fabulous site here is that of the Rishi Ganga Gorge. Time permitting you can go on to the Rishi Glacier. The fabulous Nanda Devi lies within the Sanctuary area.

Accommodation
Since no one is allowed to stay within the Valley of Flowers the closest point where one can find accommodation is Ghangaria where one can find hotels and lodges offering rooms at rates varying from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000. Rates are higher from May to July, falling slightly from second week of July onwards.

Things to Carry
Travel light so that you can walk greater distances. The minimum things you must carry include thermal wear, sun glasses, woolen hat or cap, gloves, dry fruits and food that will not spoil for a couple of days, water bottle, torch, tough walking boots, medications to treat vomiting, cramps and antibiotics.

Best Time to Visit
The trekking season starts from June and lasts till 4th of October. The best time to visit is in July, August or early September when the valley is in full bloom. If you start from Haridwar it will take you three days to reach the Valley located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. You can also take a bus from Delhi, a journey of 500 km. The Valley is open for visitors from 7 AM and the latest time for entry is 2 PM. Visitors must exit by 5 PM. Entrance fee for first day is Rs. 150 for Indians and Rs. 600 for foreigners with Rs. 50 and Rs. 250 for each additional day.

Getting there
The Valley of Flowers is one of Uttarakhand’s prime attractions located near Joshimath in Gharwal’s Bhyuandar Valley. It is about 23 km North West of the Nanda Devi Park and 10 Km from Hemkund Valley. You start from Joshimath and walk a distance of 17 km to reach the Valley or start from Govindghat from where it is 14 km. You can reach Joshimath via Govindghat from Dehradum or Haridwar by bus, traveling a distance of 270 km. The trek takes you across enchanting fairy tale landscape lushly covered with flowers filling the air with their rich fragrance. You reach Ghangaria where you can find accommodation since no one is allowed to stay within the Valley of Flowers Park spread over an area of about 87 sq. km.

Take care
If you have hypertension or are not used to high altitudes, get acclimatized first. Save energy and effort by making use of ponies or porters to travel the distance from Gangaria or Govindghat to the start of the Valley of flowers.

Spare at least 10 days for the Valley of Flowers Trip if you really wish to enjoy its beauty. You will cherish each moment.



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