Valley of flowers may be lost forever

Valley of Flowers_UttarakhandDehra Dun: The Valley of Flowers, located in the west Himalayas of Uttarakhand, which has lured trekkers and tourists from the world over for many decades, may soon be lost forever, courtesy the weed, polygonum, which is spreading in the Valley dangerously.

The weed, which ironically is also an annually flowering weed, has a wiry stem and stem branches that grow out of the base of the plant in an open form, or laying on the ground soil. This prevents the seeds of the plants falling on the ground and germinating and thus propagating.

The Valley authorities said that they had been fighting a losing battle for containing the spread of the weed that is slowly but steadily spreading in the Valley and taking a toll of its rich flora. “We have spent lakhs of rupees during the past five years trying to contain the spread of the weed, but not with much success”, they claimed.

They said that they were spending on an average of Rs 5000 per hectare to contain the spread of the weed, but not with much success and had even sent requests to various agencies abroad, but an effective response was still awaited.

It may be recalled that because of its location, it had been lost as a tourist spot, till three Polygonum_linicola_WeedBritish mountaineers, Frank Smythe, Eric Shipton and R L Holdsworth, who lost their way after a successful expedition to Mt Kamet in 1931, stumbles upon the Valley, which was full of flowers and called it the ‘Valley of Flower’. They also wrote a book by the same name, popularizing it.

It is renowned for its meadows of endemic Alpine flowers spread over an area of about 80 sq kms and was declared a national park in 1982. It is on the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004 and is World heritage Site.

Popular local belief was that the Valley, which abounds with Brahm Kamal (a flower in demand by devotees going to the Kedarnath shrine), poppies, specially blue poppy, cobra lily, orchids, daisies and primulas, used to be inhabited by fairies who survived on the nectar from the flowers.

Prof Chandra Prakash Kala, a botanist deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India, deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India carried out, a research study in the Valley for a decade beginning 1993 and made an inventory of 520 alpine plants, of which 498 are flowering plants.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

4 Comments

  • VOF is a heritage site and attracts a lot of foreign and domestic tourists. The local economy is totally tourism dependent, and if anything goes wrong with the valley, with the tourism falling, the common man(local population) would get hurt first. The government should take action before the paradise is lost for ever.
    However, had the govt been awake this place would not have remained unknown for so long; this place is like switzerland of india and the it deserves to have a name.
    I urge all those nature lovers, who have been to this heaven and those who wish to go there, to group and start working to save the heaven on Earth.

    contact me if anybody wish to work on this one “[email protected]

    Enough of this loitering, now its time to preserve the cradle…come forward

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