The Magical Valley of Flowers

Imagine yourself in the middle of an endless expanse of lush green meadows, covered in vibrant flora, overlooking snow-capped mountains that touch the sky. No, it’s not a fairy tale scene and you are not dreaming. You could be there, right at this moment.

Welcome to India’s very own wonderland at the Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand. The valley region is known for its myriad species of flora amidst verdant meadows, stretching across 87.5 sq. km. This exotic floral pasture was discovered by the British officials in the 1930s and later declared as a ‘National Park’ in 1982. Today, the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and is a popular World Heritage Site. If you’re planning a trip to the valley, book Dehradun cabs for a comfortable journey.

Image source: Wikipedia

Getting There

The valley is a part of the Garhwal region and lies 20km north-west of the Nanda Devi National Park. Perched at 3,658 meters above the sea level, this exotic locale is situated in the district of Chamoli, about 300Kms north of Rishikesh, near Badrinath. You can rent a car in Dehradun to get to the Valley of Flowers.

Exploring the Valley

Image source: Wikipedia

Since the valley is remotely located, you can only drive till Govindghat and there onwards, trek through the wilderness, to reach the national park.

Trekking through the Valley of Flowers is the best way to enjoy its magnificence. Explore the Himalayan flora and immerse yourself in the abundance of nature’s beauty, as you tread the natural trails, feel the crisp mountain air and smell the perfumed wild-flowers.

There are trekking expeditions organized by local groups and tourist guides, which you can sign up for online or at the nearest towns of Joshimath, Dehradun or Haridwar. If you’re planning to visit the valley after your Char Dham yatra, you can easily book a Haridwar taxi and go on a trekking expedition here. The trek continues for about 17Kms, through the village of Ghangaria, and then enters the valley region through rose bushes and strawberry shrubs on either side. Trekking through the Valley of Flowers requires a permit from the Forest Department, at Ghangaria.

Best time to visit

Image source: Wikipedia

The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is between the months of June and August when the lap of the Himalayas opens up in its full glory. In June, as the Himalayan glaciers start melting, you can explore the valley, but you would find most areas still frosty, which is yet another beauty. The peak season is from July to mid-August when the flowers are in full bloom. Thereafter, the hills and valleys assume a warm, golden hue of autumn and the greenery transforms into a golden glow, with the snow gradually engulfing the mountains. For the photography enthusiast, any time of these three months is equally delightful.

The parks are open to the public from 7am to 2pm, post which, it is recommended that you start heading back, lest you get lost in the hills or encounter the wild. There’s a nominal entry fee which allows you to roam across anywhere within the valley, with professional guide and assistance, of course.

Flora & Fauna

This colorful paradise is home to myriad kinds of alpine flowers and other endemic flora, that you would not have ever seen anywhere in India. Flowers like Epilobiums (locally called River Beauty), Golden and Cobra Lilies, Geraniums, Rhododendrons, Himalayan Bellflowers, Blue Poppy, East Himalayan Fritillary, Vajradanti and similar, cover the vales in a chromatic blanket.

Besides the picturesque greenery, the Valley of Flowers National Park is also home to unique wild animals. If the wild side of nature attracts you, then don’t miss out on a wildlife adventure. Though less in number, most of the species found here are rare and endangered and include the Himalayan black bear, red fox, Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep, snow leopard and more. Among the winged ones, you can spot the Himalayan monal pheasant, or the Scaly-bellied woodpecker, yellow-billed choughs, snow pigeons and lime butterflies.

As you absorb the colors and sounds of this exquisite Himalayan turf, rest assured that you would mentally transcend to another world, and feel that you are living in a fairytale.

Offbeat getaways in India: Rishikesh

Rishikesh, located at a distance of 210km from Chandigarh is a perfect getaway destination for anyone who seeks relaxation and positivity. Rishikesh being one of the holiest cities in India attracts tourists from around the world.

This beautiful pilgrimage town is a place with many cafes, yoga centres, temples, adventure sports, and has something to offer to everyone. The tall mountains, rivers, and fresh air make Rishikesh a promising destination for many travellers.

This holy city where many arrive to seek spiritual guidance and relaxation is a land of sadhus and adventure enthusiasts. Rishikesh houses some of the most famous ashrams, meditation centres, and yoga centres. Tourists can sit serenely on either side of river Ganga and witness the ritual or join the crowds in chanting hymns and singing bhajans. Experiencing the evening Ganga Aarti at Rishikesh is something that will leave you amazed. 

Locals are used to seeing tourists in town, hence are very friendly and helpful. Notably, the local language is Hindi and Garhwali. If a spiritual journey and yoga are not for you, there are several other activities and places to visit which can make your stay worthwhile.  

If you love adventure sports, then you can indulge in bungee jumping, parasailing, kayaking, rafting, and rock climbing activities. Apart from this, you can also pamper yourself with the various Ayurvedic massage and therapies. Rishikesh is an ideal place to buy some souvenirs. The Lakshman Jhula Market, Ram Jhula Market, Rishikesh Main Market are a perfect place to shop for handicrafts, clothes and bags.

Laxman Jhula, a suspension bridge above river Ganga offers some stunning visuals of the boats and rafts passing underneath. A similar structure, the iconic Ram Jhula connects the Sivananda Ashram and Swarg Ashram. As both the ashrams are widely acclaimed, you will find huge crowds at Ram Jhula. Barely 5 km from the Ram Jhula are the Phool Chatti and Garud Chatti waterfalls.  If you’ve booked a cab from Delhi to Rishikesh, you’ll find it very easy to get around and visit nearby spots.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is an amazing temple that can be reached either by walking (3 hrs) or via Lakshman Jhula. Triveni Ghat, the most famous ghat of Rishikesh is the confluence of three holy rivers, the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. You will come across several pilgrims who come here with the belief that a dip at Triveni Ghat has the power to wash away your sins and purify your soul. The famous Rajaji National Park which is home to several rare species of flora and fauna should also be visited.

The weather in Rishikesh is pleasant during the months of October to March, but to enjoy water rafting summers are the best option. If you wish to travel by air, then the nearest airport is Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun situated at a distance of 20 km from Rishikesh. Travelling by bus is a good alternative since regular government buses are available from Delhi, Haridwar, and Dehradun. Since only a few direct trains are available up to Rishikesh, it is advisable to reach Haridwar barely 25 Km and well-connected to all major cities. You can hire a private taxi from Haridwar to Rishikesh. Happy Vacationing!

 

#60DaysOfSummer – Ziplining in Mussoorie

Mussoorie has the perfect blend of adventure and the rustic charm of an old hill station. If you plan your trip well, you’ll have plenty of time to relax in the hills, go sightseeing and even go looking for adventure.

The hill station has a few adventure camps and parks where you can go rock climbing, rappelling, ziplining and even try your hand at a skywalk (with the proper safety equipment, of course). Some of the adventure parks here are legally authorised to conduct adventure sports – make sure you’re signing up for these activities at places that are legal. They’re also more likely to have proper safety gear.

The adventure camps are a little distance away from the main town, though, so you might have to schedule your adventure activities accordingly. Too book activities, you can get in touch with Mussoorie Adventure Park or Snow Adventure Zone.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Dehradun to Mussoorie or a taxi from Delhi to Mussoorie.

#60DaysOfSummer – Swim Under the Kempty Falls

If travelling to Mussoorie is on the cards for you this summer, we must say, you’ve made an excellent choice! With an old world charm, cliff-side walkways, cable cars and a lovely street filled with locally owned stores and eateries, Mussoorie is a great place to unwind away from the heat.

And when you’re not at Cambridge Book Depot or going on a mad hunt to find Ruskin Bond’s bungalow, you can head to Gun Hill in a cable car for a stunning view of snow-capped mountains. But one of our favourite spots to head to when we visit Mussoorie is Kempty Falls, about 15km from the hill station.

Given the sheer number of tourists who visit the falls throughout the year, we’d go as far as to say that Kempty is a natural water park. The base of the falls make for a great picnic spot, and a nice place to go for a swim.

HOW TO GET THERE

Take a cab from Dehradun to Kempty, or take your already booked cab to Kempty from Mussoorie.

 

#60DaysOfSummer – Jungle Safari at Jim Corbett

If the great outdoors call out to you often, a visit to Jim Corbett National Park may just be what you need this summer. The sense of adventure at the park is unparalleled.

Everything from fishing, river crossing, nature trek to mountain biking, bridge slithering and river rafting is on offer. One of the best experiences at the national park, though, is the Corbett safari you can go on in the morning and evening. You can choose between the Elephant Safari, Canter Safari and Jeep Safari. Each safari has a designated assembly zone, so make sure you find out which one you’ve signed up for.

Apart from the safaris, the sheer number of outdoor activities at Jim Corbett are enough to keep you occupied through the duration of your holiday.

If you’re looking for some great budget stays near the park, you can head to Corbett Comfortable Resort, The Den Corbett or Corbett – Treetop Riverview.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a taxi from Delhi to Nainital district, and get to Jim Corbett National Park by road.