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Enter the Lands of the Gods:
The Greater Himalayan ranges of Garhwal

Image taken en route to the Valley of Flowers, a beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India.
Nestled high in the Garhwal Himalaya, the Valley of Flowers National Park is an outstandingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty, this richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. Its ‘gentle’ landscape, breath-takingly beautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of access complement the rugged, mountain wilderness of the the surrounding Nanda Devi National Park.

The valley is splashed with colour as it blooms with hundreds of different beautiful flowers, taking on various shades of colours during the month of August. Declared a national park in 1982, it is now a World Heritage Site. The locals, of course, always knew of the existence of the valley, and believed that it was once inhabited by fairies.

Hemkund, a glacial lake surrounded by seven peaks, is located in the Garhwal Himalayas at an elevation of over 15,200 ft (4,632 m) in Uttarakhand and accessible only by foot from Govindghat on the Rishikesh – Badrinath highway. It is most known for a gurudwara, Hemkund Sahib, associated to the Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, and is one of the most sacred of Sikh shrines.

The holy shrine of Badrinath nearby is also a must visit during this trip. Considered one of the most sacred centres of pilgrimage in the Himalayas, Badrinath has been mentioned as a holy place in scriptures and legends for thousands of years. According to the Bhagavata Purana - "There in Badrikashram the supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities." There is a cave in Mana village to the north where the great sage Vyasa is said to have narrated the Mahabharata, and a day hike to the pristine "Vasudhara" water falls. The areas around are known to be abounding in spiritual treasures.

  Parvati Valley and Manali  
  Kumaon Himalayas  
  Himalayan Peaks  
  Himalaya Haven  

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