Nandadevi : Valley of Flowers
Read on to find out more about Nandadevi and Valley of Flowers National Park. If you are keen on trekking in this picturesque region, you are sure to be enthralled by the abundant alpine flowers, endangered species of animals and view of the snow-capped mountains.
Nandadevi National Park
Dwelling for endangered species of mammals such as bharal, snow leopard and the Himalayan musk deer, Nandadevi National Park is the least exploited park because of its inaccessibility. This Park is dominated by the Nandadevi peak (the second largest peak in India) that stands regally to a height of 7,800m. Hindus visit this place once in twelve years to worship the Trishul that is placed here.
Nandadevi National Park is located in the greater Himalayan ranges of the Chamoli district within the Gharwal division in the State of Uttaranchal. Entrance to the Park is from the Lata village, 23 km from Joshimath. The west side of this park is unreachable because of a ravine and the other three sides are covered by the mountain peaks.
W.W. Garden was the first person in the year 1883 to enter this area. Iit was after 1936 when Tilman and N.E.Odell reached this place that this place attracted more trekkers. It was made a game sanctuary in 1939 and was named national park in 1982 covering an area of 630 sq km. This Park has been declared as a World heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.
Valley of Flowers National Park
The valley of flowers National Park is prominent and well-known for its extensive alpine flowers and stupendous natural beauty. It houses animals like Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, blue sheep and brown bear that are in fear of becoming extinct. This place was discovered by botanist and mountaineer Mr. Frank. S. Smith on his expedition to Mount Kamet. This place lies 20 km northwest of Nandadevi national park. This place is admired by mountaineers and botanists for more than a century and holds pride of place in the Hindu mythology too.
The beauty of this place has made people liken it to the abode of Gods. This valley is at its best during the rainy season when the entire valley is transformed into a natural garden with innumerable alpine flowers. This valley has also been included in the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO in 2005.
These two parks together cover an inimitable changeover precinct linking the mountain ranges of Zanskar and Great Himalaya. It is given to understand from historical epics that Hanuman collected the sanjeevani herb from this valley to rescue the life of Lakshmana, brother of Lord Rama. These two extended sites together are called the Nandadevi and Valley of flowers national park.
By air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun and is 295kms from the park.
By rail: The nearest railway station is at Rishikesh located at 276kms from the Park.
By road: The nearest point people can reach by road is Joshimath and from there they have to trek to this park. Joshimath is well connected to towns at Uttaranchal like Dehradun, Haridwar, and Rishikesh.
Fir, rhododendron, birch and juniper trees are seen in abundance here. In Nandadevi just about 312 floral species are found of which 17 are considered very exceptional. In the valley of flowers 600 species of flora are found, some of them being rare ones. In Nandadevi 14 species of mammals are found of which 6 are in the endangered list of the nation. There are various species of birds too living in this area. In the valley of flowers barely 13 species of animals are found but all of them figure in the endangered list. There are many species of birds living here too.
An entry permit has to be obtained from the forest check post by paying a nominal entry fee. The entry permit is valid for three days; extra charges have to be paid for carrying still cameras. To carry video cameras, special permission needs to be obtained from Chief wildlife warden at Lucknow. Visitors are allowed into the park only during the day.
- Take care not to damage the flora or the fauna, as they are rare and need extra care to be preserved.
- Take care not to throw cigarette buds, any kind of fire or lit matches as this may cause extensive damage to the flora and fauna.
- Throwing or leaving behind polyethylene bags, waste, rubbish and garbage will interfere with nature here.
- Do not play music loudly as this may interfere with the fauna here as they will be disturbed with the noise.
- Firearms of any type or chemicals that can cause damage to the flora and fauna should not be carried.
The climate is cold almost all year through as the altitude of this place is pretty high. For six months the region is covered by uninterrupted snow and rest of the six months is pleasant. Between June and August there is severe rainfall and it is ideal to plan a trip between April and October. No accommodation exists at Nandadevi National Park and there are no other facilities. Joshimath is the nearest point where accommodation facility is available.