The Hemkund - Valley of Flowers trek, Uttaranchal
The world-famous Valley of Flowers is situated in the upper part of Bhyundar Ganga in the far interior of Garhwal Himalayas. The valley is at an altitude of is 10700 ft to 12300 ft above sea level and spreads over an area of 54.35 square miles.
Frank Smythe, a famous mountaineer and explorer, discovered this extraordinary spot in the year 1931. A very popular destination for trekkers who love Alpine flowers, the Valley of Flowers is often described as ‘a land ablaze with a bewildering variety of flowers fluttering in the gentle intermittent breeze, set amidst majestic snow-clad mountains that stand in bold relief against the skyline’.
At the entrance of the Valley stands the snow-clad peak of Ratban Parvat, towards the left is Nar Parvat, which separates the Badrinath valley from this valley, and to the right is dense Birch forest on the hillsides.
Below the forest are meadows and the River Pushpavati flows through the valley. Several waterfalls enhance the beauty of the valley. The bloom starts immediately after the melting of snow but the peak blooming period is from mid July to mid August. Almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here unhindered by mankind. The prominent species are Braham kamal, Anemone, Geranium, Marsh marigold, Prinula, Lilium, Inula, Corydalis, Arisaema, Ligularia, Morina and Sibbaldia.
The Hemkund Lake at an altitude of 14500 ft is considered to be a very sacred place by pilgrims. Both the treks to Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers originate from Govind Ghat and bifurcate at Ghangaria. One may choose to take a detour to visit the spectacular Vasudhara Falls at an altitude of 11800 ft.