“High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanted valley. Here flowerful pastures with clear running streams are set against silver birches and shining snow peak. Dew lies thick on the flowers, birds sing in the surrounding forest and the air is pure and charged with floral smells. Hidden from the probing eyes of civilization, this valley had been known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar Valley, the playground of fairies and nymphs.
Trespassing their celestial abode was avoided although shepherds did take the liberty to graze their cattle here. Legends associate this valley with the area from where Hanumanji of Ramayana collected. ‘Sanjeevani’ herbs to revive
Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama. Hanuman had to visit far-flung areas in his search for the life-saving herbs, some named after him.”
–Frank Smythe The Valley of Flowers
In 1931, English mountaineer, explorer, and botanist Frank Smythe, on his way back from an expedition to Mt Kamet, stumbled across the Bhyundar Valley, an 8-km long glacial corridor in Chamoli Garhwal. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and carpeted with flowers- some 500 species, including the elusive brahmakamal, the cobra lily, the Himalayan edelweiss and the ethereal Himalayan blue poppy- the Valley forms one of India’s most unusual protected areas. Declared a National Park in 1982, the Valley of Flowers stretches over an expanse of 87.50 sq km- an area which has steadily gained in popularity, not just among nature lovers, but also among eager-beaver trekkers over the past few years.
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It was a journey that began in search of wild waters and wild flowers. A group of seven trekkers who went to visit an old lady. Lady Ganga. How she was born, matured, and aged gracefully right in front of our eyes! While flowers guided our way, while Ganga kept us company, I picked up some moments to be stashed away in my memory box…