The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, located in the Western Himalayas, is a vibrant and beautiful national park known for its alpine flower meadows. The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is formed when the Nanda Devi National Park and the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve are combined. In 2005, it was also added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Originally known as Bhyundar Valley, the British mountaineer Frank S Smythe changed its name to Valley of Flowers in 1931. This picturesque beauty is one of a kind, with a diverse range of flora and fauna. This enchanting valley, located high in the lofty Himalayas of the Garhwal region, is also thought to be the location where Hanuman collected Sanjeevani Buti to cure Lakshmana.
• Col. Edmund Smyth discovers the Pushpawati Valley in 1862;
• 1931: Climber Frank S. Smythe visited the valley and published a book about the "Valley of Flowers";
• 1934: Mountaineers Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman reach and describe the upper Nanda Devi Sanctuary;
• Bill Tilman and Noel Odell, mountaineers, climbed Nanda Devi in 1936;
• 1939: Government Order 1493/XIV- 28 of 7/01 designates the basin as the Nanda Devi Game Sanctuary;
• 1962: Border disputes shut down traffic in the area, affecting the local economy;
• From 1974 to 1982, the sanctuary was open to mountaineering, but due to the subsequent degradation, it was closed to all users.
• 1980: Sanjay Gandhi National Park was established by Notification 3912/ XIV 3-35-80; grazing and mountaineering were prohibited.
• 1980: The Valley of Flowers was designated as a national park under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, by Government Order 4278/XIV-3-66-80, for the conservation of its flora;
• Nanda Devi National Park was renamed in 1982.
• 1988: The Nanda Devi National Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) was established, with the national park as the core zone (62,462 ha) and a 514,857 ha buffer zone surrounding both sites; villagers' rights were restricted.
• 2000: The government expanded the Biosphere Reserve to 586,069 hectares, and the Valley of Flowers National Park was added as the second core zone (62,462 hectares plus 8,750 hectares, for a total of 71,212 hectares);
• UNESCO designated the two core zones and the buffer zone as an MAB reserve in 2004.
The Valley of Flowers is located near Joshimath in the Garhwal region, in the Pushpawati river valley, which is in the upper reaches of the Bhyundar Ganga river. Bhyundar Valley is the lower reaches of the Bhyundar Ganga near Gobindghat. The Valley of Flowers, located in the Pushpawati valley between 30° 41' and 30° 48'N and 79° 33' to 79° 46'E, is 20 km northwest of Nanda Devi National Park across the wide Bhyundar Ganga valley. It is one of two hanging valleys at the head of the Bhyundar valley, the other being the smaller Hemkund valley, which runs parallel to Valley of Flowers 10 kilometres south. The Valley of Flowers is about 15 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide, and it runs east-west. From Gauri Parbat in the east, a small tributary of the Pushpawati river emerges from the Tipra glacier and flows through the Valley of Flowers.
Gauri parbat, at 6,719 metres above sea level, is the highest point in the national park, which is located on the Himalayan Zanskar range.
FLORA AND FAUNA AT VALLEY OF FLOWERS NATIONAL PARK
The valley is completely covered in flowers of all colours and types, giving it a magical quality. It is home to over 650 flower species, including the Blue Poppy, Cobra Lily, and Brahmakamal. Several rare and endemic animals can also be found in the area. The valley is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Asiatic black bears, blue sheep, brown bears, black and brown bears, and yellow-throated martens. The Himalayan golden eagle, Himalayan snow cock, sparrow, snow pigeon, and Himalayan monal are among the birds that can be found here.
The park also has a high diversity and density of west biographic zone flora and fauna, including endangered species such as Himalayan musk deer, snow leopards, and other plant species. The park covers 71,210 hectares and is surrounded by a buffer zone covering 514,857 hectares. This entire area in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area supports populations of Galliformes and mountain ungulates, which are prey for snow leopards and other carnivores.