The Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand is a popular destination, especially for trekkers who want to experience the beauty of the Himalayas for the first time. This is why trekking into the valley is also called a “beginner’s trek”.

Covering an area of ​​87 square kilometers in the Chamoli District, the Valley of Flowers National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the two core zones of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

However, some website descriptions and Google pictures of the valley may look like “heaven” or some sort of “flower fairy tale”. But in reality, it may not be as dreamy as it sounds.

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand (Bhaswati/News18)
Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand (Bhaswati/News18)

beauty and the beast?

Located at an altitude of about 11,500 feet above sea level, Valley of Flowers is believed to have been discovered in 1931 by a lost English climber who accidentally ended up in the valley.

Your journey begins in the city of Purna. Trekkers must follow a well-defined trail through lush forests along the Lakshmanganga River, covering 13 to 15 kilometers to reach a small village surrounded by mountains known as Gangalia. .

Gangaria has some small hotels with no air conditioning and no ceiling fans due to comfortable to extremely cold temperatures.

However, trekkers from Gangaria have to cover a distance of almost 4 km, following a narrow path to reach the Valley of Flowers, enjoying the stream that runs all the way through the valley.

It is worth noting that in the Ramayana Hanuman is said to have brought from this valley a magical herb that was used to reanimate Lakshman.

According to the Uttarakhand Tourism Board website, a variety of exotic flowers (over 600 species) can be seen from May to October, including orchids, poppies, primulas, marigolds, saxifrage, sedums, lilies and daisies. Flowers can be seen from July to September.

When asked about the best time to witness the breathtaking beauty of the valley in full bloom, the young trekking guide said that it doesn’t matter when the trekkers plan to visit the valley, such beauty Said he couldn’t see it anymore.

he said: But few people take these instructions to heart. ”

According to him, such insensitive behavior by trekkers is affecting the germination process and causing a decline in valley flower varieties.

“When I visited the Valley of Flowers earlier this year with my trekking team, I noticed that some varieties were in the early stages of growth. Nor can it be considered a majority due to human interference,” added the trekking guide.
While explaining further, he also talked about how natural inhabitants are affected by these issues.

Therefore, he believes that if the government closed the national parks for at least three to four years, it could help the entire valley and provide enough time for different types of flowers to grow.

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand (Photo: Bhaswati/ News18)

scientific facts

News18 spoke with environmentalist Maharaj K. Pandit, Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Delhi, to understand the scientific reasons behind the decline of valley flowers.

he said: Besides, where did the baseline decline in flora and fauna come from? ”

Professor Pandit said there are vague explanations as to why such changes occurred predominantly in plant species, and that there is no record of such or such changes in fauna.

“I am rather amused that Google images can show flowers blooming in the valley of flowers,” he added.

Professor Pandit said:

“Our study clearly shows shrub encroachment on Himalayan meadows, which may have resulted in flower changes,” he noted.

When asked if the trekking guide’s suggestion to close the gorge for a few years would help, Professor Pandit said that given the impact of climate change, it would be “restricted to human visits or closed for public viewing.” How can that help?”

Rather, it proposed strengthening regulatory mechanisms and penalties in the event of violations.

Role of technology

From health to space, technological advances have played a major role in finding solutions to previously unsolved problems. News18 asked the environmental experts if technology could help the valley regain its enchanting beauty.

Professor Pandit said: The use of drones is a great tool for monitoring land-use change and monitoring various biological pressures. Beyond that, I have no idea what the technology is supposed to offer. ”

News18 reached out to India’s leader in drone manufacturing to find out if and how such unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could help restore the valley’s beauty.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder and CEO of Garuda Aerospace, one of the beneficiaries of the drone’s PLI scheme, said: Monitor and analyze ecological impacts in our environment. ”

Note that Garuda Aerospace has completed the mapping and digitization of land records for over 7,000 villages in Uttar Pradesh under the Center’s Svamitva scheme.

However, Jayaprakash said: ML capabilities that not only aid in monitoring, but also help scientists, biologists, and government officials make informed decisions to maintain the ecological balance of their environment. ”

Meanwhile, Vishal Saurav, CEO and founder of VFLYX India, one of the top players in the UAV industry, said using drone-based data acquisition, which makes multiple flights over vegetation for observation and data analysis, would allow two He said he could achieve two major goals:

The first, he says, is “using a photogrammetric process chain to map an entire region with an orthomosaic, providing a bird’s-eye view of the terrain and enabling a detailed understanding of vegetation and plant health. That is.”

“Next, high-end drones with high-definition cameras and image processing software like PIX4d can be used to calculate both plant populations and densities in specific areas,” Saurav said.

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