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The Exotic Valley of Flowers!

Text: Promila Paruthi

Photographs: Prakash Israni

India is a land as ancient as time, with a beauty that's equally exotic. Up in the Garhwal Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttranchal, the fragrance of countless blossoms on the high altitudes of the mountains, transports one to another world. Crystal-clear streams criss-cross the valley floor and bird songs enhance the silence of this paradise.

This is the Valley of Flowers, known to the local inhabitants for centuries - but introduced to the world in 1931 by Frank Smyth, an Englishman in his book, "The Valley of Flowers", published in 1937, made this region quite famous. In fact, it also led to the renaming of the Bhayandar Valley, the playground of fairies and nymphs, as the Valley of Flowers.

The Valley of Flowers lies between the majestic peaks and snowcapped mountains. Cascading waterfalls and cold water springs work as segregating lines between the flowers of myriad hues and varieties… in yellows, pinks, reds and whites. The flora also consists of many plants that have medicinal value.

The Valley is not always floral. During winter months, a thick blanket of spotless white snow covers the entire landscape (November-May). With the advent of spring, the Valley pulsates with a new life. The flowers are innumerable and of unlimited variety. June sees the arrival of monsoons when pink and red dominate the colour patterns of the Valley without subduing the seasonal shades of yellow, purple and white. There is a riot of colours from late July to August. By September, the Valley wears a tranquil shade of brown.

While nature lovers drool over this Valley, the Forest Department in Uttaranchal has identified two more equally beautiful Valleys tucked between the craggy crevices of the Himalayas. These Valleys lie in their primeval virginity and are full of wild flora and fauna… waiting to be explored. The two "new" Valleys - the Chenew and the Kheero - are situated quite close to the Valley of Flowers. Both lie at the foothills of the famous Neelkanth peak and are part of the Reserve Forest of the Nanda Devi Forest Division.

The author is a freelance writer.


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