4.7 / 5

Valley Of Flowers
📍 Valley of Flowers National Park, IndiaView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:July to September

⏰ Open Hours:7 AM to 5 PM

🏞 Things To Do:Trekking, Photography, Flora Exploration

💰 Budget:Free Entry. Costs for guide and porter services vary.

🧳 Traveller Types:Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers, Photographers

🔍 Known For:Alpine flowers, endangered species like Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, blue sheep, and rare high-altitude birds

🚉 Distances:Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (158 km), Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh (140 km)

📌 Tips:No accommodation inside the park, stay options available in nearby Ghangaria village. Last entry to the park is 2 PM.

⛰ Elevation:3,658 metres (12,000 feet)

📚 UNESCO Site:Part of Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site

🌼 Unique Aspect:Home to more than 500 varieties of wildflowers

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Valley of Flowers: A Guide to the Paradise of Nature and Adventure

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a place where you can witness thousands of colorful flowers blooming in a lush green valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains? A place where you can encounter rare and exotic animals like snow leopards, black bears, and Himalayan monals? A place where you can experience the thrill of trekking through scenic trails and crossing gushing rivers and waterfalls? A place where you can feel the spiritual vibes of ancient temples and shrines?

If yes, then you should definitely visit the Valley of Flowers, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Uttarakhand, India. The Valley of Flowers is one of the most beautiful and unique places on earth, where nature and adventure come together to create a magical experience for visitors.

In this article, we will explore the history, location, climate, flora, fauna, and trekking details of the Valley of Flowers, as well as some useful tips and FAQs for visitors. By the end of this article, you will be convinced that the Valley of Flowers is your next destination for an unforgettable trip.

History of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers was discovered by chance in 1931 by Frank S Smythe, a British mountaineer and botanist who was returning from an expedition to Mount Kamet. He was mesmerized by the sight of the valley filled with vibrant flowers and named it as the Valley of Flowers. He later wrote a book with the same title, describing his discovery and the flora of the valley.

The valley was declared a national park in 1982 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. It is now a part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which also includes the Nanda Devi National Park. The valley is home to more than 600 species of flowers, many of which are endemic and endangered. It is also a habitat for several species of animals, birds, insects, and butterflies.

The valley has a mythological significance as well. According to Hindu legend, it is believed that Hanuman, the monkey god, brought Sanjivani herb from the valley to cure Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama, who was wounded in the epic battle against Ravana. The valley is also considered as a sacred place by the Sikhs, who visit Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, a shrine dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru.

The valley has also inspired many artists, writers, poets, and filmmakers over the years. Some notable examples are Ruskin Bond’s novel “A Flight of Pigeons”, which is set in the valley during the 1857 revolt; Amitav Ghosh’s novel “The Hungry Tide”, which mentions the valley as a metaphor for ecological balance; and Ashutosh Gowariker’s film “Swades”, which features a song shot in the valley.

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Location of Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is located in the Bhyundar Valley of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. It lies at an altitude ranging from 3,200 meters to 6,675 meters above sea level. It covers an area of about 87 square kilometers. It is situated near Badrinath, one of the four holy sites of Hindu pilgrimage known as Char Dham.

The nearest town to the valley is Govindghat, which is about 20 kilometers away. Govindghat can be reached by road from various cities and towns in India such as Delhi (500 kilometers), Haridwar (300 kilometers), Rishikesh (270 kilometers), Dehradun (320 kilometers) etc. From Govindghat, one has to trek for about 14 kilometers to reach Ghangaria, a small village that serves as the base camp for visiting the valley. From Ghangaria, one has to trek for another 4 kilometers to enter the valley.

Climate of Valley of Flowers

The climate of the Valley of Flowers varies according to the seasons and altitude. The valley experiences four seasons: winter (November to March), spring (April to May), summer (June to August), and autumn (September to October).

Winter: The valley remains covered with snow during winter and is inaccessible for visitors. The temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius and can reach up to -15 degrees Celsius at higher altitudes. The snowfall can be up to 6 meters deep.

Spring: The valley starts to thaw in spring and the flowers begin to bloom. The temperature ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. The weather is pleasant and sunny, but can also be unpredictable and rainy.

Summer: The valley reaches its peak of flowering in summer, especially during the monsoon season from June to September. The temperature ranges from 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. The weather is humid and cloudy, but also offers clear views of the mountains and glaciers.

Autumn: The valley starts to fade in autumn and the flowers start to wither. The temperature ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. The weather is dry and windy, but also offers a colorful display of the foliage.

Flora at Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is a paradise for botanists and flower lovers, as it boasts of more than 600 species of flowers, many of which are endemic and endangered. The valley is divided into three zones: lower, middle, and upper, according to the altitude and vegetation. The lower zone has mostly grasses and herbs, the middle zone has shrubs and bushes, and the upper zone has alpine meadows and rocks.

Some of the most common and prominent flowers found in the valley are:

Brahmakamal: The state flower of Uttarakhand, Brahmakamal is a rare and sacred flower that grows at high altitudes. It has a white lotus-like shape with a yellow center and a pleasant fragrance. It is named after Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Blue Poppy: The national flower of Bhutan, Blue Poppy is a stunning and exotic flower that grows in cold and moist conditions. It has a bright blue color with a yellow center and a silky texture. It is also known as Himalayan Queen or Meconopsis.

Cobra Lily: A unique and fascinating flower that resembles the hood of a cobra snake. It has a greenish-yellow color with purple spots and a long curved stem. It is also known as Arisaema or Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Geranium: A common and cheerful flower that grows in clusters of pink, purple, red, or white colors. It has five petals and a hairy stem. It is also known as Cranesbill or Pelargonium.

Himalayan Rose: A beautiful and fragrant flower that grows in shades of pink, red, or white. It has five petals and a yellow center. It is also known as Rosa Macrophylla or Wild Rose.

Some of the rare and endangered flowers found in the valley are:

Himalayan Cinquefoil: A delicate and graceful flower that grows in yellow or white colors. It has five petals and a green center. It is also known as Potentilla or Five-fingered Grass.

Himalayan Slipper Orchid: A striking and elegant flower that grows in pink or purple colors. It has a slipper-shaped pouch and two long petals. It is also known as Cypripedium or Lady’s Slipper.

Himalayan Edelweiss: A charming and fluffy flower that grows in white or cream colors. It has star-shaped petals and woolly hairs. It is also known as Leontopodium or Lion’s Paw.

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Fauna at Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is not only a paradise for botanists and flower lovers, but also for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. The valley is a habitat for several species of animals, birds, insects, and butterflies, some of which are rare and endangered. The valley is divided into three zones: lower, middle, and upper, according to the altitude and vegetation. The lower zone has mostly herbivorous animals, the middle zone has mostly omnivorous animals, and the upper zone has mostly carnivorous animals.

Some of the most common and prominent animals found in the valley are:

Snow Leopard: The king of the Himalayas, snow leopard is a majestic and elusive animal that lives at high altitudes. It has a thick fur coat of gray or white color with black spots and rosettes. It has a long tail and powerful legs. It is also known as Panthera Uncia or Ounce.

Black Bear: The largest mammal in the valley, black bear is a furry and friendly animal that lives in forests and grasslands. It has a black or brown color with a white patch on its chest. It has a round head and a short tail. It is also known as Ursus Thibetanus or Asiatic Black Bear.

Himalayan Monal: The national bird of Nepal, Himalayan monal is a colorful and charismatic bird that lives in alpine meadows and forests. It has a metallic green, blue, purple, or bronze color with a crest on its head. It has a long tail and a curved beak. It is also known as Lophophorus Impejanus or Impeyan Pheasant.

Some of the rare and endangered animals found in the valley are:

Asiatic Black Deer: A graceful and elegant deer that lives in grasslands and forests. It has a dark brown or black color with white spots on its body. It has long antlers and slender legs. It is also known as Cervus Nippon or Sika Deer.

Himalayan Musk Deer: A shy and secretive deer that lives in alpine meadows and forests. It has a gray or brown color with white stripes on its face. It has no antlers but has long canine teeth. It is also known as Moschus Chrysogaster or Kasturi Mrig.

Himalayan Tahr: A rugged and agile goat that lives on rocky cliffs and slopes. It has a reddish-brown or gray color with a dark stripe on its back. It has horns that curve backwards and a long mane on its neck. It is also known as Hemitragus Jemlahicus or Jharal.

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Trekking at Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers is a popular trekking destination in Uttarakhand that offers a unique and mesmerizing experience of nature and adventure. The trekking route and itinerary from Govindghat to Ghangaria and then to Valley of Flowers are as follows:

Day 1: Govindghat to Ghangaria

Distance: 14 kilometers

Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Difficulty level: Moderate

Altitude: 1,800 meters to 3,050 meters

The trek starts from Govindghat, a small town on the banks of the Alaknanda River. From here, one can either take a shared jeep or a pony to reach Pulna, which is about 4 kilometers away. Alternatively, one can also walk along the motorable road. From Pulna, the trek follows a well-marked trail that passes through forests, villages, bridges, and waterfalls. The trail is mostly uphill and can be tiring for beginners. The trek ends at Ghangaria, a small village that serves as the base camp for visiting the valley. Ghangaria has several hotels, guest houses, campsites, and restaurants where one can stay overnight and enjoy the views of the mountains.

Day 2: Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers and back

Distance: 8 kilometers

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Altitude: 3,050 meters to 3,650 meters

The trek starts from Ghangaria early in the morning, after obtaining the entry permit and paying the fee at the forest check post. The permit is valid for one day only and costs Rs. 150 for Indians and Rs. 600 for foreigners. The trek follows a narrow path that crosses a bridge over the Pushpawati River and then ascends gradually through meadows and forests. The trek offers spectacular views of the valley and its flowers, as well as the surrounding peaks and glaciers. The trek ends at the tip of the valley, where one can see a small stream flowing from the glacier. One can spend some time exploring the valley and taking pictures, but must return to Ghangaria by evening, as camping is not allowed in the valley.

Day 3: Ghangaria to Govindghat

Distance: 14 kilometers

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Altitude: 3,050 meters to 1,800 meters

The trek starts from Ghangaria early in the morning and retraces the same path back to Govindghat. The trek is mostly downhill and can be completed faster than the ascent. One can also take a shared jeep or a pony from Pulna to Govindghat. From Govindghat, one can either continue their journey to Badrinath or return to their destination.

The trekking trail and its landmarks are

Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara: A sacred shrine dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, who meditated here in his previous life. It is located at an altitude of 4,329 meters and is surrounded by seven snow-clad peaks. It is also known as Lokpal Lake or Hemkund Lake. It is one of the highest Gurudwaras in the world and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

Pushpawati River: A tributary of the Alaknanda River that originates from the Tipra Glacier near the Valley of Flowers. It flows through the valley and joins the Lakshman Ganga River at Ghangaria. It is also known as Bhyundar Ganga or Laxman Ganga. It is a source of water and life for the valley and its inhabitants.

Tipra Glacier: A glacier that lies at the end of the Valley of Flowers, where the valley meets the Zanskar Range. It is the source of the Pushpawati River and a small stream that flows through the valley. It is also a viewpoint for witnessing the panoramic views of the valley and its flowers.

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We hope you have learned a lot about this amazing place and are inspired to visit it soon. If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you and answer your queries. You can also share this article with your friends and family who might be interested in visiting the Valley of Flowers.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Stay tuned for more articles on other exciting and beautiful destinations in India and around the world.

Happy traveling!

Valley Of Flowers Reviews

It was going to be a long day as we needed to cover the valley of flowers along with the 9 km of walk to Govindghat followed by a ride to Joshimath. We left early morning and were among the first ones to enter the park. The trek till the valley is close to 5 km from Ghagaria but a moderate one as compared to Hemkund in terms of altitude. The entrance to the valley is guarded by officials as it is a protected biosphere. The park is separated by a suspended bridge to walk over to a cliff on the other side of the Pushpawati river. Don't get fooled by the patches of flowers on the way as the real valley lies way beyond where you expect it to be. The trial is little raw due to the continuous rains in the area. We rushed as fast as we can taking intermittent stops to cherish the untouched habitat of the valley. The clouds were getting darker and darker as we went deep into the valley. Variety of unseen flora started popping up along the slopes of the mountains and the air was filled up with the scents unknown. The trail at some places witnessed fallen trees and rugged terrain washed away by strong streams. We met a German couple along the way who told us about a detour of a km from the valley to Margaret legge's grave- A botanist who lost her life while slipping off an edge studying flowers in the valley. We also gathered a fact about a river basin at a distance of 3 km ahead of the valley. We were in complete dilemma as we had pretty little space for impromptu plans but we decided to give it a shot. Hurried along the way after crossing a small stream, a short climb opened up a vast stretch of land all covered in infinite number of flowers in different colors. The slopes were entirely covered with a thick blanket of flora carrying enchanting scents. All we could do was take a deep breath and treasure such freshness for forever. We moved along the valley mesmerized by the variety of flowers surrounding us. Places like these makes you weak on your vocabulary as you run out of words to describe the sheer pleasure of being there and nothing else matters except to enjoy that very moment. After paying our homage to Miss Legge ,we followed the rocky path to reach the river basin that paved the way to a distant glacier. The road ahead was long and we turned back to reach Ghagaria by afternoon. The rains gods were smiling upon our intents and we were greeted by heavy downpour on our way back. We were already praying to get back as soon as possible as the weather in the mountains can be really harsh and we had no time in our hands to accommodate a few days of halt. Somehow we managed to get back by 2 pm to Ghagaria and left for Govindghat at once but this time on Salman and Raja - our Mules for the onward journey and believe me it was hell of a ride. After explaining our situation to reach early and a discussion with their master, we independently rode the mules on the mountain slopes racing among ourselves. The guided journey which usually takes around 3 hr was completed in just over a hour but with completely broken backs :P. Again an experience of a lifetime to race a mule for 9 km on a rugged terrain with steep mountains slopes. P. S. Don't try this. We took a private cab from Pulna till Joshimath which hurt our budget but served our purpose to reach at our only pre-booked stay of the entire trip. We had the best dinner of our journey after a long eventful day and crashed in our luxurious Swiss military tents for a peaceful night sleep.
Wewoke up at 5.am. Nobody wants to wake-up early unless they are getting up to see something very beautiful. It was a very delightful day for us. We were going to ‘Valley of Flowers’. We got ready and all gathered for our trek. We started our journey with our ‘YHAI’ lead Mr. Abhinav Agarwal and our adolescent guide Mr. Anshul Rawat. We commenced ascending the valley. At outset we were required to cross the river. Thereupon we stopped for registration for entry into the valley. The way towards valley is filled with briar, creeper, rocky stones, hedges and Roaring winds. Abhinav played soothing songs while ascending the valley which made our trek more interesting. The valley is about 8 km long and 2 km wide. This valley is found by British mountaineer Mr. Frank S. Smith in 1931. He wrote a book on the same. In 1939, Joan Margaret Legge, a botanist arrived at the valley to study flowers and while traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and lost her life. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial near the spot. We witnessed many flowers like Vajaradanti, Saxifraga parnassifolia, Marigold, Pedicularis, Ligularia, Ban Ajwain, Bistorta Affinis, Morina Longifolia etc. and later on we went ahead with Anshul for river bed known as Pushpavati river. The area has tendency of bears appearing, so it was quite risky being there. But the view of the river just gave my eyes instant relaxation. The shore of river flooded in my body and cold wind felt like heaven. No wonder why sadhus (monks) choose Himalayas for meditation. We had lot of fun there. I must say million thanks to Mr Anshul for getting us there. Actually very few batches cover this point. Every one left from picnic spot itself. While returning we visited the memorial. View from the memorial was something like river of flowers. We almost covered the whole valley. While retracing at about 2 p.m. valley bloomed like anything, everywhere just flowers and flowers. We were just 7 people while returning and we enjoyed and freaked out a lot. We taught each other peculiar languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Gadhwali etc. Then Suddenly I and Priya realized that it's friendship day (wohoooo ????). We quickly gave each other a tight hug, danced and came down the whole way crooning songs (lallalalalalla). At about 5 p.m we finished our trek. We stopped at Anshul’s shop and had piquant Maggi. Thereafter we went ahead to our campsite. After freshening up Abhinav asked me for boiled eggs. It was so amazing to have boiled eggs after very long time. I quickly invited our group members. Caring uncle and Karthik joined us. We had masala boiled eggs (yummmm). I was desperate for boiled eggs because I tripped and hit my knee which pained alot. My knee got blocked I was not able to walk properly. I was very much tensed whether I should do Hemkund sahib trek the next day or not. We reached our hotel and Ajay uncle asked us whether we want to book khachchar for tomorrow's trek to which me and my friend denied. I was praying my knee injury improved. Vaibhav uncle gave us vitamin tonic and I got massage done from hotel which gave me little relief.
The next morning we were all set for our trek to VOF. No one could have prepared us for the beauty we were about to be hit with. We started at about 7 am, walked some 500 metres towards the mountain ranges and the first sight of the bridge over the waterfall itself captured my attention. The trek leader and 2 trek guides assembled us near the bridge and gave us some basic information about the trek (altitude, terrain expectation, tips in case of some medical emergency etc). The path forks into two once you cross the bridge, the left one leading to VOF and the right to Hemkund Sahib. Initially it's a slow ascend and then it gets steep till you reach the entrance to the Valley. In the valley it's nearly flat lands you have to traverse to get to the river bed and view of the glacier. You'll get to experience it all on this trek, numerous waterfall crossings on makeshift but sturdy wooden bridges, lush green vegetation enveloping your walk, mountains taller than your eyes can see till, clouds within touching distance and of course your first glimpse when you enter the valley will forever remain a memory to hold onto. Because you'll be hit with the view of millions of flowers all laid out like a carpet, pinks and yellows and whites... There are no water or food sources on this trek so pls ensure you carry enough sustenance to last you through the day. Another important tip: don't limit your trek till the entrance to the valley, walk some 2-3 kilometers more till you get to the river bed because that's not a sight you would want to miss out on. Your heart skips a beat literally, it's that breathtaking and the path till the river bed is stunningly quaint and you feel you are walking in a magical land. My third tip would be always have a walking stick, not just for this trek but for any Himalayan trek in general. It truly saves your energy and in case of this trek where the terrain is a little rough at places, it saves you from losing your footing as well. Time your trek such that you get to the valley by 1 pm, have an hour or so to enjoy your time there and then head back to the base camp so that you are back before sunset. I'll let the images below stun you folks into silence...
Ghangharia - Valley of Flowers. It was 7am and the temperature in single digit, I started off from Ghangharia to the VoF with little lunch packed as you do not get any inside. The valley remains open only between 8am and 5pm as it is a biosphere reserve. I made my entry at the National Park's office with an entry ticket of 150 INR and proceeded. It is a 4 km trek with flowers welcoming you all through the way. The first sight of the valley makes you drool as you see a lush green, colorful valley surrounded by snow capped mountains at a distance. The valley itself is 10 kms long out of which I managed to cover some 6. There are around 500 different species of flowering plants out there in the valley. They say that the valley changes its colors through out the season. It starts off as green in July then blue colored flowers take over in few weeks followed by the pinks and whites in coming weeks. The most favourite of all is the queen of the Himalayan Flowers 'The Blue Poppy'. Its color so bright and attractive that once you see it you cannot let it go off your memory. Finally the lunch time and guess the venue ? Fall side ! (sounds similar to the pool side right 😎) I found a place on the rocks near one of those water falls that melts down from the glaciers. Man ! what a place to have your food. And you know the best part ! You do not need artificial mineralized water anymore, just refill your bottle from these streams. Never in life I found air and water so fresh that you don't actually need any food to stay alive. Then I visited Joan Margaret Legge's grave situated in the middle of the valley, the lady botanist who fell off the cliff while first exploring the flowers in the VoF. Time to trek back to Ghangharia. I reached by around 5 pm and after dinner and a casual walk, I called it a day.
After my initial plan of visiting Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand failed due to excessive rains and floods, I was craving to be back on the road. Fast forward to a few days, and a friend I made through Instagram (talk about the community!) and I are planning a few days in Spiti. Little did we know, clouds would burst in various parts of Himachal causing floods and road blockages across the state. On the day I was supposed to leave, I was hit with news notifications telling me so and so roads have been blocked till the next day. I was left with two choices: postpone my plans for Spiti to some other time, or leave despite the bad weather warnings and pray that the Universe somehow gets me out of it alive. Surprise, surprise I chose the latter. It was a scary, and perhaps not the wisest decision to leave for Manali, in spite of the bad weather conditions. Schools were called off , vehicles were stuck for hours, and the road clearing work was in full swing but I felt a sort of inner calling that I had to be in Spiti, come what may. And boy, am I grateful I went!
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