Valley of flowers- Introduction;

VoF Week August 20 to September 2, 2012: Introduction: Here I am giving a brief intro of Valley of flowers and Hemkund Sahib.

VoF and other nearby places are situated in Chamoli District of Uttrakhand State of India. Chamoli is the second largest district of Uttarakhand. Chamoli District is worldwide famous for its beautiful hill stations, picturesque spot and religious places including very famous Pilgrimage spots such as Badrinath, kerdarnath, Tungnath and Joshimath, Hemkund Sahib. This area also have option for adventures people who are fond of trekking in mountains such places are Devaria-Taal, Vedni-Bugyal, Auli-Bugyal, Gurson-Bugyal and Roopkund. Name of Chopata, Chamoli and Gvaaldam can be viewed as a Beautiful hill stations.
Valley of Flowers, Auli and Hemkund Sahib are situated around Joshimath. we may reach to joshimath by local transport like Buses shared taxies/sumo or by own vehicle. Road from haridwar to joshimath is good besides having landslides at few places. Landslides are also not a big worry as this road is maintained by Border Road Organisation. After landslides BRO clears this road within hours. The distance from Haridwar to Joshimath is about 280 Kms. from Joshimath we may go towards Badrinath Dham or Auli andd towards Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib via Govindghat. Buses Taxies etc Runs only upto Govindghat. You may park your car there in big parkings for 4-5 days by giving one time charges 500 Rs.
After Govindghat for reaching Ghangriya we may hire mules @Rs 720 (Govt approved rate) for one mule. Or may book seat in Helicopter @ Rs 3500/ Or may go by foot. This distance of 13 Kms from Govindghat to Ghangriya can be covered in less than 5 minutes by Helicopter, in about 3-5 Hours by Mule and from 6-12 hours by foot (12 hours by foot if doing photography in the way). For this 13 kms way you can also book porter (Kandi) for childern and Palki (carried by 4 persons) for adults. However charges of the palki are higher. You also have to book your luggage on mules on sharing basis.
In Govindghat for stay there is a big Gurudwara with all facilities (even better than Hotels there) and more than 100 rooms and many halls for groups. Hotels are available there on double or triple sharing basis starting from the range of Rs 100 per bed to 500 per bed per night. This rate may be high in june as June is the very crowded season there. In Ghangriya the charges of the hotels are slightly higher than Govindghat and here also a big Gurudwara is there with better facilities. Ghangriya is a base camp for both destinations ie valley of flowers and Hemkund sahib. You can not stay at night in Hemkund Sahib as well as in VoF.
From Ghanghriya the entrance of valley of flowers is about 1 Kms and after this gate main valley starts after 3 kms and you may go upto 5 kms more (Total 1+3+5 Kms). facilities of mules are not available for VoF. However upto the main entrance of Valley (3Kms from Gate) we may hire Kandi (A porter with back basket for carrying luggage as well as persons). In main valley one has to go by foot only. Daily after 2:00 PM or even before usually rain starts (particularly from 25 June to end of August) so one should go as early as possible. Valley opens daily at 7 AM in Morning. The entry charges for Indian Nationals are Rs 150 for 3 days. The valley remains open from 1 June to 31 October every year. The flora of valley changes from June to October a lot. Flowers one can find in June will not be there in end of july or august. For covering whole flora of valley atleast 4 visits are needed first near 15 June second near 10 July Third around 5 August and fourth around 1 September. As per my opinion about 600 species of flowering plants may be there in VoF, Hemkund Sahib, Auli and Badrinath area (Total area of all these spots is within 50 Kms range in Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve). We could find about 300 species during this tour. Flora changes a lot from place to place. Plants were different in all ways ie from way to Govindghat to Ghanghriya, from Ghangriya to VoF, Ghanghriya to H sahib. Even plants were different in different areas of Valley.
Trekking to Hemkund Sahib is of abut 6 Kms and mules are availble for Hemkund Sahib. Mule charges about 500-800 for H sahib. Trek to H sahib is more difficult to climb than Govindghat Ghangriya and VoF. Climbing is steep and zigzag. The way to H sahib is also very beautiful;l and one can see thousands of Brahm Kamal there. The height of Hemkund sahib is around 4300 meters. We could find about 80 flowers different than that of VoF on H sahib trek. Scenic beauty of Hemkund sahib is Picturesque. The Gurudwara closed daily at 2:00 Pm and all have to go to Ghanghriya daily as no option of stay is there in H sahib. The Langar we received there in Gurudwara was very good and delicious. On the way to H sahib there are many tea stalls for tourists where you can have snacks and beverages.
With this mail I am attaching some pictures of Beauty of places and way. Hope I will be able to through some light on the flora of valley in next mail by today evening.

loved it
did you have to acclimatize your self for the 4300 meters ie 12,000 feet above sea level trekking ? how long did you have to train?
or are you used to heights?

… no training at all, and height was not a problem for almost all of us even at Hemkund sahib. As we travell 2-3 times in a year to height so i think habitual.

… it is 14108 feet above sea level and great feat (although I had done that in Kashmir in a single day back in 1973, from 7000 ft to 14000 ft and back), not just 12000 ft. I had a simple formula: multiply with 3 and add 1/4th. Exactly it is 1m= 3.28083989501312 feet.

In previous mail I described about the travel to VoF and Hemkund Sahib. In this mail I am trying to provide some information about its geography, Ecology and floristic Diversity.

The valley of Flower National Park is a part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in Uttrakhand. This is situated between 300 41 to 30048 N and 790 33 to 790 46 E. The altitude range from 3000 mts to 6700 mts. The rivers Pushpavati and Lakshman Ganga flows through the valley along with many small streams. The valley spreads over about 90 Sq Kms out of which more than 50% comes under perpetual snow and glaciers. The valley mainly lies along Pushpavati river. The main central part of the valley is about 10 Sq Kms.

About in the middle of central valley there is a grave of Joan Margaret Legge , who was a botanist from Royal Botanic Garden Kew England. During her visit to Valley on 4th July 1939 she sliped from a slope died there. Her sister came in the valley later on and made a memorial of her in Valley.

The valley receives little rains in June and September very less in October. Rains are very frequent in July and August almost ondaily basis particularly after 2:00 PM

The valley contains many mountains and large meadows at different altitudes. So valley has unique floristic diversity in different parts. Here I am providing a list of common genera which one might have met during the valley visit

Aconitum, Anemone, Clematis, Delphinium, Thalictrum, Berberis, Podophyllum, Meconopsis, Corydalis, Erysimum, Viola, Arenaria, Silene, Stellaria, Hypericum, Geranium, Oxalis, Impatiens, Astragalus, Desmodium, Indigophera, Oxytropis, Parochetus, Thermopsis, Trigonella, Cotonester, Geum, PotentillaRosa, Rubus, Sorbaria, Spiraea, Saxifraga, Bergenia, Parnassia, Rhodiola, Sedum, Eplobium, Herpetospermum, Angelica, Bupleurum, Heracleum, Selinium, Leycesteria, Gallium, Rubia, Morina, Anaphalis, Aster, Carduus, Cicerbita, Cirsium, Cremanthodium, Erigeron, Inula, Lactuca, Leontopodium, Ligularia, Prenanthes, Saussurea, Senecio, Solidago, Taraxacum, Campanula, Codonpsis, Cyananthus, Gaulthera, Rhododendron, Androsace, Primula, Jasminum, Halenia, Hackellia, Ipomoea, Cuscuta, Mazus, Pedicularis, Verbascum, Veronica, Dicliptera, Clinopodium, Colquhounia, Leucas, Nepeta, Phlomis, Prunella, Salvinia, Phytolacca, Thymus, Bistorta, Fagopyrum, Polygonm, Rheum, Rumex, Euphorbia, Girardinia, Urtica, Cannabis, Habenaria, Malaxis, Satyrium, Spiranthes, Hedychium, Roscoea, Dioscorea, Fritillaria, Mianthemum, Polygonatum, Commelina, Juncus, Arisaema, Carex, Taxus, Drosera.

This list is not complete and represents those genera which we could observe. Members are requested to upload as much as they can, so that this list can be updated.

Nice presentation …this was a unique you have given enough information I do not have anything to add..still I can suggest that one should be completely equipped with necessary medicines depending upon his/her we had seen few bad incidents there…definitely one should not overlook physical problems, as the area of climb does not offer any emergency help…no signal always.. any ways hope to find many good uploads the coming week…