April 22, 2009

Valley of Flowers: Introduction


No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or
sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway
for the human spirit. - Helen Keller



1931.
July. Frank Smythe, a mountaineer, botanist, explorer, photographer, author, romantic and much else that he is, is returning from Kamet Peak expedition with his group. They lose their way and accidentally discover an enchanting valley in full bloom.

1937.
Overwhelmed by what he had seen six years back, Frank Smythe returns to the Valley and explores it extensively together with R. L. Holdsworth, another botanist.

1938.
Smythe writes a book and titles it “Valley of Flowers”. The Valley gets christened with the name. The book is published and the world comes to know of this natural wonder of about 90 sq km situated at a height of 3,342 m - 3,658 m (10 to 12,000 feet), with one of its peaks towering up to 6,675 m (21,899 feet) above main sea level.

1982.
The Valley of Flowers is declared a national park. Many restrictions are clamped on tourists. Camping is not allowed in the Valley. Collecting plants from the Valley is banned. Grazing of animals in the Valley is banned to protect some of the rare species of plants. (That there is a controversy on the latter decision is another matter.)

1988.
The Valley of Flowers is inscribed to be on the list of World Heritage Site.

2005.
The Valley of Flowers, one of the seven natural sites, is added to the list of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
I read on BBC's In Pictures website about the Valley of Flowers getting the status of world heritage site. The more I read about the Valley of Flowers, the more fascinated I get. That day, I decide to visit the Valley someday for an up close and personal experience of the natural wonder.

2008.
Online, I outline plans with fellow travelers to meet up in Delhi and spend two weeks in Garhwal, trekking right up to the Valley of Flowers. The time that I choose is July end as July-August is supposedly the best time when the Valley blooms in full abundance while through most of the year it sleeps in a thick blanket of snow.


To be continued…


16 comments:

Tabib said...

Beautiful, especially the second photo.
Very good notes about this world heritage site.

AJEYA RAO said...

I have not travelled for a long time now...Your posts and pics make me crave for another trip to the mountains or wild. I miss them

sandeep said...

thnx for the notes ... and beautiful photos as always. u'r making me crave for a trip!

Rajesh said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful details. The snaps are eye catching.

B Squared said...

What a fabulous place this must be. You are very fortunate, indeed.

Sumit said...

the second pic is good...

Indrani said...

Good you mentioned the history part too. I don't think I can make it there in July, till my children grow. Waiting to read the second part.

Vamsee said...

Thanks for the notes on the history of the park. As always, beautiful snaps. I am still hoping to go here this year...in August. Let's see

BTW, you have to visit my blog to read about my Corbett Trip
http://letsgoforavacation.blogspot.com/

Lakshmi said...

Ive been dreaming of the mountains Celine and seeing your post now, i want to make it a reality..waiting to read more..

Iona said...

From the pictures that you have posted, I think I have fallen in love with the Valley of Flowers!:) Gr8 write up too!

Grace Albaugh said...

What a spectacular view! My husband spent a few weeks in India in 2007. He has the most wonderful pictures and memories. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Also, it was nice to find you after you left a comment on my blog today.

Final_Transit said...

Good history lesson Celine! My parents trekked there 2 years back, I haven't been there yet. But I have your pictures for now. :)

Zhu said...

What a wonderful place! I'm adding it to my "must go" list.

Jeevan Baretto said...

Beautiful pics and good piece of information. Btw I am off to another trip. This time to Manali and nearby places :)

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