The world famous Valley of Flowers is situated in the upper expansions of Bhyundar Ganga in the far interior of Garhwal Himalayas.
The valley is spread over an area of 87.5 Sq. Kms. and is 3,250 mts. to 6,750 mts. above sea level. Rich references have been made about this colouful and eye catching valley in the records of Indian History and epic literature such as the Ramayana and Mahabharat.
Legend associate with this valley with the area from where Hanumanji of Ramyana collected 'Sanjeevani" herb to revive Lakshman.
The trek towards the Valley of Flowers National Park starts from the roadhead at Govindghat, it is a long 14 kms trek to Ghangria. Since only day visits are allowed to the Valley, Ghangria serves as the base and it is usually filled with people.
The trek takes a good six to seven hours and many find the going tough. The scenery is however delightful with alpine forests all around and the Bhyundar Ganga roaring past you, especially if you visit in the rainy season when the river has maximum water.
After crossing the tollgate near Ghangria, one finally starts on the delightful walk towards the valley. Since a relatively lesser number of people visit the Valley, and horses are not allowed in any more, the trek is more peaceful and enjoyable.
The approach to the main valley leads through lovely dense forests of oak, spruce and silver birch.
The Valley of Flowers itself, is a classic U-shaped valley - a work of the Tipra-Kharak glacier. Over millions of years, glaciers have advanced and receded many times.
Today's Himalayan glaciers are only a pale shadow of their former selves as they have been receding ever since the last Himalayan Ice Age. However, the rich morainic soil left by the glaciers proved to be ideal and numerous varieties of alpine flowers took bloom.
Below the forest is the meadow. River Pushpavati flows through the valley and there are many waterfalls enhancing the beauty of the valley. The splendour and the scintillating beauty of the valley attracts tourists from all over the world.
The bloom starts immediately after the melting of snow but the peak blooming period is from mid July to mid of August. Almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here in natural way. Wherein some of the species are Anemone, Geranium, Marsh Marigold, Prinula, Potentilla, Geum, Asters, Lilium, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Inula, Braham Kamal, Campanula, Pedicularis, Arisaema, Morina, Impatiens, Bistorta, Ligularia, Anaphalis, Saxifrages, Sibbaldia, Thermopsis, Trollius, Codonopsis, Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Strawberry, Epilobium, Rhododendrons and numerous others. Most of the flowers have medicinal values too. The abundance of Asmanda fern in this valley is a rare sight than in other Himalayan valleys.
The rainy season - in August and September - is the best time to visit the valley, if you want to witness the around 300 varieties of alpine flowers bloom and turn the valley into a flower paradise.