Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers
At 10,500 feet, I bring to you glimpses of the elusive Valley of Flowers. A solid reason I have to use the term elusive. You'll see why.

Trudging through tough terrain for 6 hours on a 14km hike from Govind Ghat, our motley group reaches the destination, Gangaria. Gangaria is the base camp for hikes to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund.

like the tips of icebergs
All we could see was something like the tips of icebergs. This was the rock face surrounding the valley. With fog and rain playing relays of hide and seek, we were mere onlookers to the magic unfolding.

On the other hand, it felt as if a series of mesmerising episodes has been shot, cropped and loaded on to wide hd screens for us. Trudging past the oh so high rock face with an uncanny resemblance to the movie Avatar where in the main leads swoop over magical lands with their flying steeds. Fighting for our attention was a glimpse of this lush valley; not to forget the shy smiles of tiny flowers along our path.

paths through flora
They say the valley changes colours every few weeks i.e various species of flowers have their unique phases to bloom and therefore if you so happen to visit in June, you will see the pinks and reds of precious rhododendrons. A visit in July as yours truly did, a greeting with blues and purples with take your breath away, you will truly ‘forget me(them) not.’

The Valley of Flowers trek is an easy to medium grade one from our base camp Gangaria.  Within the first 800 meters you will reach the official entrance to the valley. Mountaineers will tell you about the valley's association with the Nanda Devi Reserve ecosystem, botanists will rave about the uniqueness of a multitude of flowering species in one spot, but for a city dweller, what I am engrossed in is the stillness. The silence.

My group members will tell you, "oh, Dii found the first rock she could fit on and dozed off to sleep!" but I tell you this, even dozing off to sleep in such a place is something!

Of course I was kicked in the behind by my sister to explore..and of course do justice to the heavy bit of imaging equipment (read hi-tech digital SLR) the results of which are here for you to see.
 'forget me not', indeed

I don't want to describe the trek up to the valley simply because its one of those magical places were you make up your own memories and moments. Mine is of lying on my rock and looking out to the best view in the world: to my right a sparkling silver freefalling waterfall, to my left imaginary Avatars weaving through the mist and in front of me framed with snow capped mountains lies a carpet of purple flowers, of every hue and shade, as far as my eyes can see.

Cobra Lily
Himalayan Bell flower

Wild Purple Orchids
Go ahead, bring home your memories.

No comments: