Valley of Flowers : An Eventful Journey

An eventful journey that I will never forget is our visit to Valley of Flowers (in 2007). Situated high in the Himalayas in the Uttarakhand region of India, Valley of Flowers is a stunning valley flanked by mighty mountains on both sides. During the colder months, the valley remains frozen but in Summer, the snow begins to melt and is replaced by a myriad range of colourful blooms. It is said that a different set of alpine flowers bloom every 15 days. In addition to its beautiful flora, the valley is also home to rare and endangered animals. No wonder, the national park is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Our onward journey from Delhi was uneventful but stunning for the most part. Serpentine roads wound around the mighty mountains and each bend offered a breath-taking view. At times the roads were so treacherous that a slight deviation from the path would have meant a plummet into the mighty Alaknanda River flowing below. Our journey took us through numerous small villages, past converging rivers, and many waterfalls. After a very long journey, we reached Ghangria, a small village that serves as the base camp for all those interested in visiting the Valley of Flowers.

The visit to the valley the next day was much more breath-taking than we had expected. The beautiful valley filled with delicate alpine flowers complemented the might rugged mountains on either side. Numerous streams, large and small, fed by the melting snow formed enchanting waterfalls at almost every bend. The misty clouds floating among the mountains added a lovely halo. The whole atmosphere was so pristine. After spending some time in the valley we started on our way back to the base camp.

Valley of Flowers : An Eventful Journey

Our journey back proved to be the most adventurous and eventful part of the trip. We were a group of 8-10 and travelling by a Toyota Qualis or something similar. It was nearing evening and beginning to get dark and we proceeded on the winding mountain roads (against official advice) as we all had connecting trains to catch. A part of the journey though difficult was uneventful but then we ran out of luck. The rains had triggered a major landslide and a part of the mountain road was completely blocked with mud, rocks and other debris. The bulldozer would not arrive until the morning as there had been many other landslides and many roads were blocked. So we had to spend the night on the road. It was exciting but equally scary as well. We had never seen a landslide, so this was something to add to our experiences but the prospect of spending the night on a landslide-prone road was very unnerving. The eerie darkness along with the thought that there might be another landslide kept us all awake for the entire night. Never before had we welcomed the first ray of sunlight with so much fervour as we did on that day. Very soon the bulldozer arrived and the road was cleared fairly quickly and we were on our way back safely.

This journey to the Valley of Flowers will always be one of the most eventful and memorable journeys we have been on so far.

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