Double Bed (Valley of Flowers)
The Valley of Flowers National Park (87.50 km2, latitude 30° 41” – 30° 48”N and longitude 79° 33” – 79° 46”E) is located in Chamoli Garhwal, about 595 km northeast of India’s capital Delhi in the state of Uttaranchal. The Valley of Flowers was declared World Heritage Site in July 2005. Its altitude ranges from 3,200 m to 6,675 m. Such a variation in the altitude provides a great diversity of landscape and microhabitats.
The Valley was introduced to the world as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S, Smith – mountaineer, explorer, botanist who camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and did valuable exploratory work. He authored a book called “The Valley of Flowers” which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.
In 1939, Miss Margarate Legge, a botanist deputed by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost for ever in the garden of the gods. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals.
The trek towards the Valley begins at Govind Ghat, after crossing the Alaknanda river on a hanging bridge. The zig-zag mule track straightens through an ascending valley of terraced fields and vegetation. In the midst, Laxman Ganga tumbles down in a haste to join the Alaknanda. 3 kms. further is the small, pretty hamlet, Pulna. Beyond this, the trek becomes more exciting – the Laxman Ganga becomes swifter,and betweenthe green, rocky mountains, you can catch a glimpse of snow-clad peaks.
The 7 kms. trail from Pulna to Bhyundar village is full of nature”s scenic splendours including cascading waterfalls and cold water springs.
Shrubs and wild roses grow abundantly and Rhododendrons colour the area with pink and dark red. Small wayside tea stalls run all across the route and young and enthusiastic tourist guides can be engaged at Bhyundar village. After resting awhile here, the trek on the right bank of the Laxman Ganga continues through the rich vegetation till a log bridge, supported on huge boulders, is reached. Crossing over to the left bank now, the trail becomes steeper and harder and 2 kms. from here, you will reach Ghanghria, the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hernkund Sahib.
Since camping and overnight stay Is not allowed in the Valley of Flowers, Ghanghria is the logical base camp for the trek.
Travel beyond Ghanghria is on foot at Nature”s pace since the entry of ponies is prohibited. The trek is subject to strict ecological discipline and the trekker is expected to be concerned about the ecosystern of the region.
After crossing a log bridge over the Laxman Ganga, 3 kms. from Ghanghria. the route of the Valley of Flowers separates from that going to Hernkund Sahib.The Laxman Ganga joins the Pushpawati river 400 mtrs. downstream.
The trek continues along Pushpawati. A couple of kilometres ahead, the river is crossed overto its right bank on another bridge and this trail goes upto the Valley of Flowers. Snow bridges can be seen spanning the river but their strength should be properly judged if they are to be used to cross the river.