It was in 1931 that British mountaineers Frank S. Smythe and R.L.Holdsworth stumbled into Valley of Flowers while returning from their successful Kamet expedition. Impressed by its scenic beauty, Smythe once gain visited this area in 1937 and published a book named ‘Valley of Flowers’.
Located in the Garhwal Himalayas, the 87-sq-km Valley of Flowers is nearly 5 km in length and 2 km in width. The Valley of Flowers National Park is surrounded by Nilgiri Parvat in the north, Saptsring in the south, Rataban, Gauri Parbat in the east and Kuntkhal in the west.
With its source in the Tipra Glacier, the Pushpawati River flows through this valley. Nearby at Hemkund there is a lake by the side o which a famous Gurudwara is located. Legend has it that it was from the Valley of flowers that Lord Hanumanji, disciple of Lord Ram, collected 'Sanjeevani' herb to revive Lakshman. The valley remains open for visitors from 1st June to 31st October.
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, the Valley of Flowers National Park is home to almost 300 species of wild flowers including Anemone, Marsh Marigold, Geranium, Primula, Geum, Lilium, Potentilla, Himalayan blue poppy, Delphinum, Morina, Aconitum, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Brahma Kamal, Inula, Campanula, Pedicularis, Impatiens, Trysimum, Bistorta, Anaphalis, Saxifrages, Ligularia, Lobelia, Thermophis, Aquilogia, Trollius, Codonopsis, Rhododendrons, Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Sibbaldia, Epilobium, Strawberry and many others. Ideal time to visit the Valley of Flowers National Park is from July to August during which thousands of flowers bloom in the park.
Air: The nearest airport to Valley of Flowers is Jolly Grant at Dehradun which is 307 km away. Delhi, 514 km away, is the convenient airport.
Rail: Rishikesh, 281 Km away, is the nearest railhead connected via Haridwar with major cities and places in India.
Road: Govind Ghat on the Joshimath-Badrinath route is the place where motorable road ends. From Govindghat you have to take a 19 km trek to the Valley of Flowers. Govindghat is connected with motorable roads with Joshimath (38 km), Badrinath (42 km), Chamoli (50 km), Rishikesh, Haridwar and Delhi.
5 Km from the Valley of Flowers Ghangharia, also called Govinddham, is located amidst of the pine groves and is a base for visiting Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. Ghangharia Is a 14km uphill trek from Govindghat.
Located at an altitude 4320 mts, this high altitude Hemkund lake is about 2 km. in circumference. The reflection of the Saptashringa peaks on the still waters of the lake is a feast for the eyes. Located on the banks of the lake, the Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib, the highest Gurudwara in the world, is a sacred shrine for the Sikhs. surrounded by seven mountain peaks, the star-shaped Gurudwara marks the spot where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and the last Sikh Guru, to have meditated before his incarnation as a Shikh Guru. Hemkund Sahib draws lakhs of pilgrims every year.
In close proximity to the Gurudwara is the source of the River Lakshman Ganga. There is a shrine dedicated to Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama. Helicopter services are available from Joshimath to Ghangaria, which is 6 km from the shrine and the last human habitation centre on the route to Hemkund Sahib.
The Hemkund Sahib shrine opens for four months in a year due to inclement weather during the rest of the period.
19 km from the valley of flowers is Govindghat, situated at the confluence of the rivers Alakananda and Bhyunder or Lakshman Ganga. It has an imposing Gurudwara which provides comfortable accommodation.
38 Km from the Valley of Flowers, Joshimath houses Shiva shrine and is home to a temple of dedicated to Narsimha, one of the nine incarnations of lord Vishnu. New Tourist Rest House and Old Tourist Rest House are accommodation options in Joshimath. During winter, the image of Lord Badri at Badrinath is brought to the Vasudev temple at Joshimath. Shankaracharya Math, established by greatest Hindu theologian, is another famous attraction of Joshimath.
For the adventure lovers, a trek has been opened. By this new route they can trek to Ghanghariya from Hanuman Chatti which is 10 km from Badrinath. This 15-km route is filled with glaciers, rivers and gorges. Best time to trek here is from July to October during which a variety of flora can be seen. The exotic Brahm Kamal flower, which flowers at an altitude of over 4500 meter above sea level, can be spotted on this route.
Apart from Tourist Rest House and Forest Rest House, you can find Dharamsalas at Ghangharia.