Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian National park, located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox, and blue sheep. Birds found in the park include Himalayan monal pheasant and other high altitude birds.
At 3352 to 3658 meters above sea level, the gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskarand Great Himalaya. The park stretches over an expanse of 87.50 km and it is about 8 km long and 2 km wide. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve which is further surrounded by a buffer zone. This Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.
The Valley of Flowers is a high-altitude Himalayan valley that has long been acknowledged by renowned mountaineers, botanists, and in literature. It has been recognized internationally for over a century and is referenced in the Hindu religion. Local people have visited the valley since ancient times. Indian yogis are known to have visited the valley for meditation.
The Valley of Flowers has many different colourful flowers, taking on various shades of colours as time progressed. The valley was declared a national park in 1982 and now it is a World Heritage Site. The Valley of Flowers has gained importance as a region containing a diversity of alpine flora, representative of the Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadow secretion. The rich diversity of species reflects the valley’s location within a transition zone between the Zanskar and Great Himalayas ranges to the north and south, respectively, and between the Eastern Himalaya and Western Himalaya flora.
A number of plant species are considered threatened. Several have not been recorded outside of Uttarakhand. Two have not been recorded in Nanda Devi National Park. The diversity of threatened species of medicinal plants is higher than has been recorded in other Indian Himalayan protected areas. The entire Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve lies within the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA).
The Valley of Flowers National Park is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Seven restricted-range bird species are endemic to this part of the EBA. The park is administered by the Uttarakhand State Forestry Department, the national Ministry of Environment and Forests, India. There is no settlement in the national park and grazing in the area has been banned since 1983. The park is open only during summer from June to October and it is covered by heavy snow for the rest of the year.
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