Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India, Valley of flowers in one of the prettiest treks in India. Also known locally as the Bhyundar Valley or Nandankanan, the valley is truly blessed with the flowers from heaven. As per the study made by Prof. C.P. Kala from 1993 onward, it is said that, summing up all the different types of flowers and trees seen across the seasons, the valley is home to 520 species of higher plants, of these 498 are flowering plants.
To reach the Bhyundar valley or Nandankanan you have to first reach Govindghat which is connected to Haridwar via NH 7. From Govindghat you can take a shared Jeep to reach Pulna which is the end point of the motorable roads and starting point of the trek route to Ghangharia (3,049 m) . Pulna to Ghangharia is a 9 Kms trek following a well defined but steep trail. As the Bhyundar valley starts after Pulna, a variety of flowers is also seen along the trail. Various types of accommodations are available at Ghangharia ranging from Rs. 600 to Rs.2500 per night. I must say that among them the GMVN(Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam)’s government guesthouses are the best but to get a room you must book online well in advance. From Ghangaria two trails open – one for the Nandankanan or the Valley of Flowers(between 3,352 and 3,658 m) and the another for the Lokpal or the Hemkunt Sahib( 4,633 m). From Baman Dhaur to the Pushpawati River bed, the valley is 10 Kms long having a cross sectional area of 87.5 Sq. Kms. On the other hand, Ghangaria to Lokpal or Hemkunt Sahib is a 6 Kms long trek which is indeed a strenuous walk.
My guide Mr. Rupesh Chauhan was a local guy and he knew the place very well. He said that during the month of June-July-Aug-Sept, the variety of flowers in the valley changes in every 15 days and so does the color of the valley.
Now let me take you through the some of the flower species that I saw during my walk across the valley.
The ‘best time’ window for the trek to the valley of flowers is very narrow. The month of July and August are the best but be almost sure to face mild to heavy rain as you walk across the valley. As camping is not allowed in the valley and the weather in the region is very unpredictable so I kept a couple of days in hand extra which helped me to see the best of it. On the 6th of August, along with my friends we trekked to the valley, but before we could enter the main part which starts from the Baman Dhaur, suddenly out of nowhere, black clouds filled the whole area and raining started in no time. My friends were in a tight schedule so the next day, they started descending from Ghangaria but I gave a second try to the valley alone with my guide. This time I got a perfect weather and I could walk up to the Pushpawati river bed. The moment of bliss I was looking for was there in that spot. The sight of the Rataban peak and the Bhyundar Khal filled my soul with utmost happiness.
The treks to the valley of flowers and Hemkunt Sahib takes a total of five days for the round trip from Govindghat via Ghangaria. I started from Govindghat on the 5th of Aug’2019.
Valley of flowers was declared as a national park in the year 1982 and was recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988.
You can have a look at a very informative website – https://valleyofflowers.info/ to enhance your knowledge about the flowers of the Valley.