The ecology of Valley Of Flowers

Introduction

Valley of Flowers is an Indian National Park, located in North Chamoli, in the state of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.  This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic Black Bear, Snow Leopard,Musk Deer,Brown Bear,Blue Sheep and Red Fox. The Birds found in the park include Himalayan Monal Pheasant and many other high altitude birds. Valley of Flowers is one of the core zones of the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve.

Location

The Valley of Flowers is nestled in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Garhwal region. To reach the valley one has to reach Joshimath then the nearby Govindghat, trek all the way to a small village named Ghangaria in an approximate 14 km ascent, where there are several trekking routes to the valley. This route is the most popular is followed by many trekking groups. One can also hire a porter, mule or helicopter to reach Ghangaria. The trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria is common to the Sikh Temple at Hemkund and one is likely to find many Sikh pilgrims on the route. The Trek happens during the monsoon season and Ghangaria is closed off for the rest of the year.

Flora

Flowers that carpet the meandering meadows of Valley of Flowers include Orchids, Poppies, Primilas, Marigold, Daisies, Geranium, Petunia, Sediams, Lilies, Calendula, Himalayan Bell Flower, Zinnia and several others. Sub-Alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover the valley’s area. The park has many species of medicinal plants including Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum and Fritillaria roylei.

Fauna

There are many sub-alpine animals found in the valley. The Red Giant flying Squirrel, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Fox, Himalayan Weasel, Himalayan Goral, Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr and even Snow Leopards are some of the examples of the diversity of the valley’s Fauna.

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