The Valley of Flowers located on the upper expansions of Bhyundar Ganga in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand is a booming bouquet of beautiful and lively of wild flower species, at an altitude of 3,600 meters above the sea-level, protected by snowy mountains. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to is renowned meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty.
Covering an area of 87.5sq km, the valley is also known for the Rich Biological Resource almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here in natural way. Its inhabitants call it as the Bhyundar valley. Between the best examples of flowers, the valley hosts the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily. The bloom starts immediately after the melting of snow but the peak blooming period is from mid July to mid of August, so it can be the best time to visit the valley. Visited only during the day and overnight stay is prohibited, the abundant natural resource of the valley captivates a large number of nature lovers, environmentalists, botanists and trekkers and tourists every year.
The valley hosts rich flora examples like daisy, dianthus, calendula, white and yellow anemones bloom and swing with life during the monsoons. Some other species are Geranium, Marsh marigold, Prinula, Potentilla, Geum, Asters, Lilium, Ranunculus, Corydalis, Inula, Braham kamal, Campanula, Pedicularis, Arisaema, Morina, Impatiens, Bistorta, Ligularia, Anaphalis, Saxifrages, Sibbaldia, Thermopsis, Trollius, Codonopsis, Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Strawberry, Epilobium, Rhododendrons and numerous others. Most of the flowers have medicinal values too. The abundance of Asmanda fern in this valley is a rare sight than in other Himalayan valleys.
The valley remains in bloom for three months while the floral arrangement keeps on changing every few days. By September the hue of the Valley starts changing and autumn bids farewell to flowers and the entire vegetation remains resting continuously for next five months when the valley is snow wrapped.
However the park is home to the fauna like some species of Butterfly, Musk deer, Blue sheep (Bharal), Himalayan bear, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan mouse hare and some Himalayan birds and Snow leopard are also found in this area. All of them contribute to conserve and maintain the natural balance of the valley.
A legend is associated with the valley, which says that this is the area from where Hanymanji of Ramayana collected Sanjeevani herb to revive Lakshman.
For centuries this enchanting valley lies frozen during colder months and burst into its youthful beauty every year. Until one day, Frank Smith an Englsih mountaineer explorer and botanist discovered it in 1931, during an expedition to Mt. Kamet. He wrote a book called “The Valley of Flowers” unveiling the beauty and floral splendours of the valley.
In 1939, Margaret Legge a botanist of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh died when she traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers for further studies. After this incident her sister erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals.
The valley was declared a National Park in 1982. Of course, the locals knew of its existence and believed that it was inhabited by fairies.