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Valley of Flowers

Photographer: Harish Tyagi


Officially British mountaineer Frank Smythe discovered the Valley of Flowers, in the West Himalayan Mountains, India, in 1931 but some believe that Eichard Holdsworth, a botanist member of the Smythe's Kamet Expedition was the real discoverer of the valley.


Although local people have far longer known about the magical valley of flowers, a superstition prevented them from exploring the area. According to local folklore, anyone who ventured into the valley would disappear, never to return.


The valley of flowers national park is located in the Chamoli district, high in the Himalayas of the Unnarakhand Indian state, at an altitude ranging from 3,200 to 6,675 meters and surrounded by the mountain peaks of Gauri Parbat, Rataban, and Kunth Khal.


The remote valley is famous for its meadows of alpine flowers and stretches over an area of 87.5 square kilometers. With more than 300 varieties of flowers, it was declared a national park in 1982 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is home to more than 300 varieties of flowers, which mainly blossom from mid-July to mid-September. To reach the valley one must trek 14 kilometers from Govindghat to Ghangria and further 4 kilometers from Ghangria to valley of flowers. The national park is closed from November to May when it is covered by a thick blanket of snow.