Monday, April 8, 2024

Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of Flowers National Park UPSC

The Valley of Flowers National Park is a renowned national park located in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and forms part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve


The Valley of Flowers National Park is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. The park is home to more than 600 species of flowering plants, including many endemic alpine flowers like the blue poppy, brahma kamal, and the cobra lily. These flowers bloom during the monsoon season, from July to September, creating a colorful carpet that attracts nature enthusiasts, botanists, and photographers from around the world.


Visitors to the Valley of Flowers National Park need to get a permit from the Forest Department, at Ghangaria. The permit is valid for three days. Only visiting and trekking are allowed during the day time.


Due to its fragile ecosystem and conservation concerns, the park has certain restrictions in place to preserve its natural beauty. Camping within the park is not permitted, and visitors are required to follow designated trails and avoid plucking flowers or disturbing the wildlife.


Table of Contents

  • Valley of Flowers National Park Location
  • Valley of Flowers National Park History
  • Valley of Flowers National Park Area
  • Valley of Flowers National Park Hills
  • Valley of Flowers National Park River
    • Pushpawati River
  • Valley of Flowers National Park Lake
    • Hemkund Lake
  • Valley of Flowers National Park Flora
  • Valley of Flowers National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Valley of Flowers National Park UPSC Questions


Valley of Flowers National Park Location

The Valley of Flowers National Park is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India. It lies in the western Himalayas and is situated near the Nanda Devi National Park. The Valley of Flowers is situated in the Pushpawati river valley.


The nearest town to the park is Govindghat, which is approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) away. To reach the park, visitors typically travel to the town of Joshimath and then proceed to Govindghat, from where a trek of about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) leads to the entrance of the Valley of Flowers. 


The park is nestled at an elevation ranging from 3,250 meters (10,660 feet) to 6,750 meters (22,150 feet) above sea level.


Valley of Flowers National Park Nearest Airport:

Jolly Grant Airport (Dehradun) is the nearest airport to Valley of Flowers National Park, which is 280 km away.


Valley of Flowers National Park Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to Valley of flowers National Park is Rishikesh, which is 273 km from Govindghat.


Valley of Flowers National Park By Road:

Valley of Flowers National Park is connected up to Govind Ghat by roads.




Valley of Flowers National Park History

The history of the Valley of Flowers National Park dates back to ancient times. The area has long been revered as a sacred place by the local inhabitants. However, it gained international attention during the early 19th century when British mountaineer Frank Smythe accidentally stumbled upon it during his mountaineering expedition.


1. Discovered by: In 1931, Smythe and his team were returning from an unsuccessful attempt to summit Mount Kamet, a nearby peak. While descending, they took a different route and discovered the stunning valley filled with a profusion of colorful alpine flowers. Smythe was captivated by the beauty of the place and named it the "Valley of Flowers."


2. National Park Status: It was declared as a National Park in 6 September 1982.


3. UNESCO World Heritage Site: Valley of Flowers National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. It is part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.




Valley of Flowers National Park Area

The Valley of Flowers National Park covers an area of approximately 87.50 square kilometers (33.75 square miles). This area includes the valley itself, along with the surrounding mountains, meadows, and forests that make up the park. 


It is about 8 km long and 2 km wide. The park lies completely in the temperate alpine zone. 


Valley of Flowers National Park forms one of the two core zones (the other being the Nanda Devi National Park) of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.




Valley of Flowers National Park Hills

The Valley of Flowers National Park is situated in the Western Himalayas, surrounded by picturesque hills. These hills contribute to the stunning beauty and dramatic landscapes of the park. While the valley itself is relatively flat and characterized by meadows, rivers, and a diverse range of alpine flowers, the hills in the vicinity add to the overall topography and charm of the area.


The hills surrounding the Valley of Flowers National Park vary in elevation and provide a scenic backdrop to the park. They are covered in lush green forests, which transition into alpine meadows as the elevation increases. The hills also contribute to the water sources within the park, as they serve as catchment areas for the numerous streams and waterfalls that flow through the valley.


The steep slopes of the hills provide a sense of grandeur and create a sense of seclusion within the valley. Visitors can often witness snow-capped peaks and towering cliffs as they explore the park's trails. These hills are also home to a variety of wildlife species, including elusive mountain goats, birds, and smaller mammals.




Valley of Flowers National Park River

The Valley of Flowers National Park is blessed with the presence of several rivers and streams that add to the beauty and ecological richness of the area. One of the prominent rivers in the vicinity of the park is the Pushpawati River.


Pushpawati River:

Pushpawati River flows through the Valley of Flowers National Park. The river not only adds to the natural beauty of the Valley of Flowers but also plays a vital role in sustaining the ecosystem. It supports the growth of various plants, including the alpine flowers for which the park is famous. 


The Pushpawati River originates from the Tipra Glacier, near Rataban, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India.


Pushpawati River flows in a southerly direction to join the Bhyundar Ganga near Ghagharia. The combined stream is thereafter known as the Lakshman Ganga. The latter merges with the Alaknanda River at Govindghat in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India.




Valley of Flowers National Park Lake

The Valley of Flowers National Park does not have a prominent lake within its boundaries. However, there are nearby lakes that visitors can explore as part of their journey to the Valley of Flowers. 


Hemkund Lake:

Hemkund Sahib, a Sikh pilgrimage site located in close proximity to the Valley of Flowers, is known for its glacial lake called Hemkund Lake. It is also known as the “Lake of Snow”. 

 

A small stream called Himganga emerges from this lake. This pristine lake is situated at an elevation of approximately 4,300 meters (14,100 feet) and offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks.


Hemkund Lake is considered sacred by Sikhs and is surrounded by beautiful alpine meadows. It is often visited by pilgrims and trekkers who combine their visit to the Valley of Flowers with a trip to Hemkund Sahib and the lake.




Valley of Flowers National Park Flora

The Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its diverse and exquisite flora. It is home to a wide range of alpine flowers, rare plants, and endemic species. 


The park is home to more than 600 species of flowering plants. The park's unique microclimate, with its cool temperatures and abundant moisture, creates an ideal habitat for these alpine flowers to flourish. 


The flora of the Valley of Flowers National Park is a sight of natural splendor and a haven for botanists, researchers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world.


Here are some notable examples of flora found in the Valley of Flowers:


(1) Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata):

The Brahma Kamal is one of the most iconic and revered flowers in the Valley of Flowers National Park. It is a high-altitude species that blooms in late monsoon. This large, white flower with a golden center is considered sacred and has mythological significance. Brahma Kamal is known as the King of Himalayan Flowers and is Uttarakhand's official flower.


(2) Blue Poppy (Meconopsis aculeata):

The Blue Poppy is another striking flower found in the Valley of Flowers National Park. It is known for its vibrant blue petals and can be seen blooming during the monsoon season. The Blue Poppy is a rare and prized find for botany enthusiasts. Blue poppy, described as the Queen of Flowers.


(3) Cobra Lily (Arisaema flavum):

The Cobra Lily is an unusual and fascinating plant found in the Valley of Flowers National Park. It has a unique flower structure that resembles a cobra's hood. The Cobra Lily is known for its distinct yellow coloration and is often found near streams and damp areas.


(4) Himalayan Edelweiss (Leontopodium sp.):

The Himalayan Edelweiss is a beautiful and delicate flower that thrives in rocky and high-altitude areas. It has white woolly petals that provide protection from extreme weather conditions. The Himalayan Edelweiss is a sought-after flower due to its rarity and beauty.


(5) Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia):

While the Blue Poppy mentioned earlier is a different species, the Himalayan Blue Poppy is also found in the Valley of Flowers. It has stunning blue petals and is a sight to behold when in full bloom.




Valley of Flowers National Park Fauna (Valley of Flowers National Park Animals)

The Valley of Flowers National Park is not only known for its breathtaking flora but also supports a diverse range of fauna. The park provides habitat to several animal species, including mammals, birds, and insects. 


Here are some notable examples of fauna found in the Valley of Flowers:


Mammals:

  • Snow Leopard
  • Asiatic Black Bear
  • Brown Bear
  • Musk Deer
  • Blue Sheep
  • Red Fox
  • Yellow-throated Martens
  • Gray Langur 
  • Flying Squirrel
  • Himalayan weasel


Birds:

  • Himalayan Monal Pheasant
  • Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus
  • Himalayan vulture 
  • Himalayan Golden Eagle
  • Himalayan Snow Cock
  • Sparrow
  • Snow Pigeon


Reptiles:

  • Common Indian Skink
  • Himalayan Pit Viper
  • G√ľnther's Mountain Snake




Valley of Flowers National Park UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Valley of Flowers National Park?/In which state of india would you find the Valley of Flowers National Park?/ In which state is the Valley of Flowers National Park located?/Valley of Flowers National Park is located in which state?

A. The Valley of Flowers National Park is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India.

Q. Which river flows through Valley of Flowers National Park?

A. Pushpawati River flows through Valley of Flowers National Park.


Q. Valley of Flowers National Park is famous for which animal?

A. Valley of Flowers National Park is famous for Snow Leopard, Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Blue Sheep etc.


Valley of Flowers National Park

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