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1 Suresh Chand Bhadana [Assistant Security Officer ] Subject :- Date:-2/14/2012 11:00:11 PM
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Trek to Valley of Flowers

A travelogue which can tell you how to go there on a limited budget

This is a travel account of the trip to the Valley of Flowers, made by Thingnam Girija, N. Ulysses and Tabish, basically to find Himalayan flowers, for the website, Flowers of India.
Valley of Flowers is a fairy-land situated high in the Himalayas of the Uttaranchal, at an altitude of 3,600 meters above the sea-level, protected by snowy mountains. Unknown to humans, for centuries this enchanting valley lay frozen during the colder months, and burst into its youthful beauty every year, as the snow melted with the advent of summer. Every year, the valley was splashed with color as it bloomed with hundreds of kinds of flowers, taking on various shades of colors as months progressed. Finally one day, nature condescended to bless humans with this heavenly sight, when Frank Smith - mountaineer, explorer, botanist - chanced upon it in the monsoon of 1931. He authored a book called "The Valley of Flowers" which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and made the world sit up and watch. It was declared a national park in 1982, and now it is a World Heritage Site. The locals, of course, always knew of the existence of the valley, and believed that it was inhabited by fairies.

The valley is home to many celebrated flowers like the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily. It is a much sought after haunt for flower-lovers, botanists and of course trekkers, for whom a sufficient excuse to embark on a mission to reach a place, is that it exists!

This article is a travelogue aimed to guide newbies about how to reach Valley of Flowers, with a limited budget. It is for those who want to go there as a group of friends, and not part of an organised tour, which is an easier, but not so much fun way to go there.

The trip starts by reaching Rishikesh from Delhi. For logistic reasons everybody seems to pass through Delhi. It is followed by an 11 hrs bus journey from Rishikesh to Joshimath. Then, 1 hr bus ride from Joshimath to Govindghat. Then comes the 14 km trek from Govindghat to Ghangria, along the river Lakshman Ganga. This is the most difficult, but also an enjoyable part of the trip. From the base camp Ghangria, the Valley of Flowers is a 3 km climb, where one has to go daily and come back the same day. The satellite picture above can give a reasonable idea about the location and the route.

Large versions of the small pictures can be viewed by just moving your mouse over the smaller pictures. But for this to work, all the big pictures have to load first, which takes a little time - so, be patient.
The take-off: Delhi to Rishikesh
Let us start from Delhi, which most people pass through, even if they are coming from Pune, Mumbai or Calcutta. Yes, people do come from that far off, not to speak of foreigners. If you are unorganised like us, you will not have booked train tickets in advance. So, the only option is to go to the ISBT, Kashmere Gate, and catch a bus to Rishikesh. It is better to start early in the morning, as one can get a deluxe bus. In the afternoon, only the ordinary buses will be there which will stop every now and then to pick up passengers. The bus takes about 6 hours, and one will get to stop in between for snack and tea. The journey is likely to be uneventful, and not very interesting, as most commuters will be going from Delhi to Roorkee or Haridwar. We met a saffron-clad sanyasin, who was a follower of Swami Agnivesh - we had a brief chat on her ideology during a stop-over for tea. Rishikesh is a small, noisy town with Ganga flowing right through it. One can easily find hotels for overnight stay - we found a 3-bed room for Rs. 350 per day.

Leaving the plains behind
You can have a last look at the plains of Rishikesh because you won't get to see them for at least five days. Next morning we started for Joshimath. And starting early is very important - start as early as you can - you will see the advantage as you travel. There are two ways - either take a Garhwal Mandal bus which takes 11 hours (ouch! my backside!), or take shared Tata Sumos. The roads on that route are dangerous (let's be frank), and so buses are not allowed to ply at night - as a consequence, the last Joshimath bound bus leaves Rishikesh at 9 AM! Of course, there is a third way, hire a Sumo for yourself, but that option is not for the budget conscious trekker, who is quite likely to be a student. Sumos are fast and will take you there in 8-9 hours, but there is no direct shared-Sumos plying between Rishikesh and Joshimath. You will get a Sumo from Rishikesh to Rudr-prayag. Be careful that all jeep-like vehicles are called Sumos - 10 persons packed into a Sumo is not very uncomfortable, but in some others, it can be. From Rudraprayag, you can easily get a shared Sumo to Karn-prayag, or if lucky, to Chamoli. In Chamoli everybody seems to be going to Joshimath. So, the route should be:
Rishikesh - Rudr-prayag - Karn-prayag - Chamoli - Joshimath

During the 252 km journey from Rishikesh to Joshimath, you will get tired (mainly of sitting immobile in the Sumo), but you will also be treated to panoramic views of the mountains. The road winds around the green mountains, and one cannot help admire their beauty, and at the same time shudder at downward slopes which can tumble you down into the river Alaknanda, which we follow all the way. We felt reassured seeing numerous warning signs like "main pahaadi naagin hoon - tez chalne waalo ko dasti hoon" (I am the mountain naagin [female cobra], and will strike at those who drive fast). The Sumo occasionally stops for a cup of tea, or for lunch. Incidently, the word prayag stands for confluence - so, whenever you come across a Karn-prayag or Dev-prayag, you can look for two rivers joining. One thing to note is that while Rishikesh is at an altitude of 356 m, Joshimath is at 1890 m - so, the bus really has to climb on the way.

Joshimath is the halt for the night, and gearing up for the next day. Joshimath has many cheap and comfortable hotels. We got a double-bed room for Rs. 200. Recharge your camera batteries and tank up with chips, chocolates or whatever is close to your heart. All this should be done at night, because the next day starts early, and earlier the better. Remember that, from Joshimath onwards, the prices of goods increase as the altitude increases. Regarding communication, once in Joshimath, we realize the emptiness of mobile service providers' slogans like, "our network follows you wherever you go..." - only BSNL works there!

Joshimath is the place where Adi Shankaracharya set up a 'mutt' in the 8th century. Mutt (मठ) is not just a temple - it is something like a monastry, which follows and propagates a particular school of thought. However, you will not see any ancient temple there, although a Shankaracharya temple is there.

The Grind: the 14 km trek
Now comes the most difficult part, the 14 km trek from Govindghat to Ghangria. But first we have to reach Govindghat, which is a 21 km drive from Joshimath. It is raining in the morning - we haven't still got used to the mountain ways where rain doesn't affect one's routine. We take a Sumo to drive through the most dangerous road in our lives. The road is narrow, sometimes just makeshift after a landslide, and we can see river Alaknanda thundering along down below. Reaching Govindghat, one has to walk about a km to reach the bustling small town, which serves mostly as a starting point of the trek to Hemkund Sahib, the beautiful lake, considered holy by the sikhs. We see sikhs, sikhs, and more sikhs. In fact, there are so many of them that we start wondering if there is anybody at all going to the Valley of Flowers. We enter one of the numerous dhaabas there and catch a cup of hot tea. Standing in the back window of the dhaba, we can see the pilgrims moving slowly along the steep track on the mountain, wearing shiny colorful raincoats. That makes us wonder if we should buy a raincoat too. Thought of investing money in a raincoat, just for this trek, makes us hesitant. But an enquiry reveals that these are temporary raincoats, just plastic sheets in the appropriate shape, which one can pull over one's head, and it cost a rediculous Rs 15. As it turned out later, we haven't ever invested Rs 15 better! Those raincoats turned out to be the most useful thing we carried.

We move out of the town by crossing a foot bridge on the river which flows through Govindghat, and start climbing the track. There are lots and lots of mule-waalas who offer to take us up. There are also porters (called Pitthoo) who offer to carry out luggage on their backs. In our initial enthusiasm and confidence, we ignore all porters and climb on with our luggage, not knowing how it was going to turn out, this being our first experience of the kind. The track is littered with mule dung and there is strong smell of mule dung which persists till Ghangria. The track is crowded by sikh pilgrims - they move along frequently chanting "Sat-naam, waahe guru!", mainly to help themselves go on. There are mules carrying goods and mules carrying people. One has to be careful and move to the hill-side (not the down-slope-side) when a mule comes along, otherwise the danger of being accidentally pushed over the the slope is very real.

Slowly we realize the mistake of not getting a porter to carry our luggage. The climb is mostly steep, and occasionally levels out. But we put up a brave face and carry on. The path moves along river Lakshman Ganga, which flows down below. As we move up, we come closer to the level at which the river flows. There are tea and snack stalls along the way, which serve tea, "maggie" noodles, aloo-prathas, chips etc. Anything you buy here, is costlier than Govindghat, mainly because everything has to be hauled up on mules. We break our journey frequently, stopping for tea, noodles or parathas.

On the way, we pass the Bhyundaar village which looks picturesque, set in the middle of the mountains and the river flowing through it. Further up and we are able to climb down and reach the river. We decide to relax for some time next to the river. The flow is strong and nobody dares climb down into the cold water. Our eyes are peeled for flowers, and we already spot species of Cobra Lily, Clematis vine, and the beautiful Inula, which is sunflower like flower. Our flower hunt has already begun.

The trek continues and the last bit is a very steep climb which tires out everybody. The rule of the mountains is that one shouldn't get disappointed with the tiring climbs - one is always rewarded with a beautiful view from the top. We feel rejuvinated on spotting a mile-stone which says, Ghangria 1 km. We spot a helipad on the side and a few tents, probably belonging to some organised tour company.

We rest a bit and then go for the final walk which takes us into Ghangria, a small village by the side of the river Lakshman Ganga. Ghangria, it seems, serves only one purpose - act as a base camp for people going to Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers. There no houses visible - only hotels. The passage through the village is narrow, uneven, strewn with mule-dung wetted with rain, lined with hotels on both sides. It is like a crowded bazaar. The biggest building there is the Gurudwara. The GMVN guesthouse is fully booked in advance. We realize the mistake of having started a bit late in the morning, and taking a bit longer to reach up, because of carrying our luggage on our own - the hotels are all packed. Seemed to be an unusually crowded day. With difficulty, we manage to find a place for the night. They provide us with blankets, and there are shops where blankets and sleeping bags can be rented. The Gurudwara is always a fallback option for staying - it provides free accomodation to anybody who comes, and provide them with a blanket.

We have dinner at one of the many restaurants there, all of which serve almost identical menu, a typical city punjabi food, and retire for the night. The next morning we get up and look for a better accomodation, which is easily available, because people returning from Hemkund the previous night, are all leaving for Govindghat. We are raring to go into the valley, and start off after getting some parathas and boiled eggs packed.

Entering the Fairy-Land
The Valley of Flowers is a 3 km climb from Ghangria. We walk out of Ghangria, from the side opposite to the one from which we entered the previous day. We cross a bridge across Lakshman Ganga, which we see falling down from the rocky mountain far away. It originates from the Hemkund lake. After the bridge, the path bifurcates - the right one goes to Hemkund, and the left one leads to the Valley of Flowers. No mules are allowed into the Valley, although you can ride one right upto Hemkund. And the difference is noticed soon - the smell of mule-dung which had gotten to our heads, is replaced by pleasant smell of vegetation. We cross the checkpost after entering our names in the register, and paying a nominal fee. There is a stream coming down from the left, and one has to cross it over a makeshift bridge. The path goes down, and there is an iron bridge over Pushpawati river which hurtles down with great fury, and meets Lakshman Ganga at Ghangria. Exotic flowers start right from here. Blue poppies are here on the rocks beside the bridge, but most visitors walk past without noticing them. Interestingly, there are only a few who keenly look for flowers - most have either yoga and meditation on their mind, or are just trekkers looking for a beautiful place.

Climbing up from the bridge, the path is narrow and the river is way down below, with rocky slopes on both sides. Soon we reach the glacier which, of course, is not frozen in these months. After a 3 km uphill walk, we enter the valley, which is marked by crossing a woodden bridge, with map of valley put up next to it. There is a huge rock, with people climbing over it. We feel thirsty and fill our bottle with the stream water, which is cold and clear and tastes like mineral water (which it is, literally) with a slight overdose of minerals. The vast expanse of the valley is beautiful, and there are meadows of flowers as if somebody is maintaining a huge flower farm. Big stretches of Himalayan Balsam, which is the most predominant flower of the valley.

The sheer number of certain flowers is so large that most people tend to think that there are only a few kinds of flowers there. Sometimes one has to stop and gaze, to spot some new flowers. Sometimes one has to wade in knee-deep flowers to reach an area which could have flowers of a different kind. The more you look, the more you see, and there doesn't seem to be a limit to it. Another flower which is present in large number is the Himalayan Hogweed. The name is misleading, because the white flat-topped flower clusters swaying in the breeze is a delightful sight. Then there is another alluring plant, which is touted as the most beautiful one in the valley, the Himalayan Whorlflower. It adds charm to the Valley of Flowers, and grows in abundance. Bears tiered whorls of fragrant white flowers that turn pale pink and then rosy red with time.

Further on, we are greeted with a captivating sight - low on the ground, masses of wooly white flowers, which we recognize as the famous Edelweiss. Edelweiss is the symbol of the Alps. It usually grows in inaccessible places, at high altitudes in the mountains of Europe, Asia, and South America. That is why it is associated in Slovenia with mountaineering. Its white colour is considered in Switzerland a symbol of purity and beauty.

Some flowers grow on low ground, and one has to make an effort to spot them - Trailing Bellflower is an example. In the world of flowers, blue is an unusual color. But here, mother nature has splashed various shades of blue with gay abundance. There are tiny beautiful blue flowers called forget-me-not, spread throughout. The blue poppy is of course much sought after. Infact, some tourists come all the way from Japan just to have a look at this charming Himalayan flower. Then there are unusual blue geraniums - we had seen numerous varieties of geraniums before coming to the Valley, but all of them were pink or purple.

There are regions where tall plants are totally missing, but what is there is even more enchanting. Uneven ground covered with grass and rocks - small red berries spread over rocks in one place, small white flowers dot the whole expanse small asters, with blue daisy-like flowers heads are seen every so often. We are enchanted with bunches of blue-berries, and what a heavenly blue! We feel like Alice in wonderland. The place doesn't let us move on - we just feel like exploring it more and more.

It doesn't take long in the Valley to start raining. Clouds decend without warning, and it starts drizzling. We pull our Rs 15 raincoats over our heads and carry on with with our enchanting journey. In playful mood now, our excitement has ebbed. After a while, we lay down in the grass, chat and admire the green expanse of the Valley, the huge mountains on either side, and the snow peaks at the end of the Valley. The sun is going down, and we have to start our journey back to Ghangria before it gets dark.

If one is serious about flowers, one day in the Valley is really insufficient. So, we decided to spend another day, and explore areas which we did not explore before. Next day we move faster through the parts where we spent lot of time the previous day, and go further down the Valley. We see a signboard indicating the way to the grave of Mary Legge - we decide to go there and pay our respects to an enthusiastic botanist and explorer who lost her life in the Valley. In 1939, Miss Margarate Legge, a botanist deputed by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she had a fatal slip. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the locals. The following words are inscribed on the stone:
"I will lift mine eyes unto the Hills
from whence cometh my help."

We walk further down the Valley and come to a stream which has a small bridge. We spot a pink Geranium, which looks different from others. Geraniums are a confusing lot, and some species vary so much in color, and resemble other species that sometimes even experts get foxed. Walking ahead we see a charming sight, tiny purple flowers hugging rocks. We recognize it as Himalayan Thyme. In the Valley you will see lots of flowers which prefer to stick to rocks, to growing in soil, and one wonders why such strange behaviour. It turns out that it is a clever survival strategy. Some soil gets collected in rock cervices and the seeds of these tiny plants germinate very well in it. In normal soil, these tiny plants would get swamped out by bigger, and more aggressive plants. The little soil in rock cervices is of no use to the big bullies.

Leaving the pebbled track, we move into the grass in search of more flowers, and nearly stamp over really tiny blue flowers. These are very tiny, but very beautiful. In the Valley one will truely understand the meaning of "small is beautiful". There are some flowers so tiny that, although one get attracted to them by their vivid colors, it is hard to get your camera to focus on them. We reach the last of the major streams, called Dona gair stream. If one has reached this point, it means one has explored the best part of the Valley. This area has a completely different character. Epilobium latifolia, which is aptly called River Beauty, is seen growing along the banks of the stream. A new pink species of Geranium appears here, which is not seen in most parts of the Valley. There is Himalayan Thyme all over on the rocks, many times growing together with some yellow flowers which we are unable to identify. We come across a lone, small Bhojpatra tree, with paper-white bark. The bark of Bhojpatra was used in ancient times for writing. We decide not to go ahead beyond this point, and start our jounrney back to Ghangria.

When we started out from Ghangria, if we had taken the right side path, it would lead us to a difficult and steep climb which goes on for 5 km. And it takes one to an altitude of 4,329 metres! Hemkund is a beautiful lake at this altitude, surrounded by snow peaks. There is a gurdwara, Hemkund Sahib, and a Lakshman temple on the banks of this lake. At an altitude of 4,329 metres, these are the highest places of worship in India. Hemkund literally means 'lake of ice' - and true to its name, for eight months of the year this lake is frozen and inaccessible. When the weather warms up, the ice and snow melt, and meadows of ferns and moss and wildflowers sprout on its banks. Then, in their thousands, Sikhs climb the steep stone path to the lake and bathe in its chilled waters. They come in the belief that Guru Govind Singh meditated here in a previous birth. For the non-religious, the place holds its charm with its aquamarine lake surrounded by beautiful peaks. And this is the right altitude for many rare flowers. The famed Brahmakamal grows in abundance amidst the rocks on the banks of the lake.

Leaving nature's paradise
After exploring the Valley, we are back to our hotel room in Ghangria. We have to leave the next day. Ghangria generally has no electricity throughout the day. Power comes only in the evenings, around 6-7 PM. Because of rain and little sun, our wet clothes and shoes do not get dry even in two days. We have run out of fresh clothes. We are in need of going to a dry area and have nice bath and wear fresh clothes. But we are sad to leave this heavenly place. Next day in the morning, we start our downhill trek, back to Govindghat. The climb down is much easier, and we see new visitors huffing and puffing while coming up, and remember our difficult uphill trek. Our porter wants to stop for lunch at a dhaba on the way. We know that the place he eats will serve simple homely food. So, we eat in the same place, a tasty meal of dal, rice and vegetable. A pleasant change from the dal-makhani which we had been eating at Ghangria.

After a few hours of trekking and flower-spotting, we are back at Govindghat. We look for the first shared Sumo, and reach Joshimath and check into the same hotel that we had left. A bath and fresh, dry clothes do wonders and we doze off. We get up and relax, talking about the trip and looking at pictures in our digital camera. We seem to have got over 80 new flowers.

Next morning, the trip back to Rishikesh is long but uneventful, except for a few places where landslide had occured. By late evening, we reach Rishikesh and check into a hotel. Next morning, we catch a bus to Delhi. The life of plains now appears very dusty, crowded and pointless. We wonder if people grinding through their daily lives are aware that their exists a charming place called the Valley of Flowers.

Approximate prices (2009)
Delhi-Rishikesh by bus: 170
Delhi-Dehradoon by AC bus: 280
Delhi-Haridwar by Jan Shatabdi: 400
Rishikesh-Joshimath by shared Sumo: (basically Rs 1.15 per km) 300
Rishikesh: 2-bed hotel room 600-900
Joshimath: 2-bed hotel room 630 (GMVN guesthouse)
Ghangria: 2-bed hotel room (varies on the demand) 700-1200
Joshimath/Ghangria: 3 people having a meal 200
Porter from Govindghat to Ghangria 450
At Ghangria, all packaged items are double the marked price: A Rs 20 Pepsi costs Rs 40.
Places, altitudes and distances:

Place Altitude (meters) Distance
1 Joshimath 1,890 252 km, 8-9 hours drive from Rishikesh
2 Govindghat 1,828 21 km, 1 hour drive from Joshimath
3 Ghangria 3,048 14 Km, trek from Govindghat.
4 Valley Of Flower 3,352 - 3,658 3 km from Ghangria
5 Hemkund 4,329 5 km steep climb from Ghangria.

Suggested trip plan:

Day 01: Delhi-Rishikesh (230 Kms)
Take a bus from ISBT, Delhi in the morning. The bus takes about 6 hours. No AC buses to Rishikesh. You can take an AC bus to Dehradun, and take a shared Sumo from there to Rishikesh (45 mins). Alternatively, take one of the many trains to Haridwar, and then take a bus to Rishikesh. Haridwar and Rishikesh are close by. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.

Day 02: Rishikesh-Joshimath (250 Kms)
After breakfast leave for Joshimath. The earlier you leave, the better it is. Lunch enroute in Rudraprayag. Overnight stay at Joshimath.
Joshimath is the winter home of Sri Badrinathji. It is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the 'maths' established by Adi guru Shankaracharya.

Places to stay
1. Hotel M.J. Comfort (9897144495, 9758610841): Bang next to the bus stand. brand new, excellent rooms. Double-room 1000 (AC), 700 (Non-AC). They don't serve food, only tea. Excellent value for money.
2. Akash Ganga (2430870, 2430451, 5540513): Walking distance from bus stand, Rs. 700-900 double-room. Old big rooms, not very good but okay for one night.
1. GMVN guesthouse: In the upper bazar. Rs 630 for basic, clean, double-rooms. Serve good food. Good value for money. 2. Many other places very close-by. Cheaper ones also available.
1. GMVN guesthouse: Double-rooms - Rs 1200 deluxe, Rs. 1150 hut, Rs 850 economy rooms, Rs 180 per bed dormitory. Best place to stay. Will be fully booked in the peak season. Book online
2. Lots of other places with varying prices.
Day 03 : Joshimath-Govindghat-Ghangria (25 Kms drive + 14 kms trek)
After an early breakfast, leave for Govindghat - eat well before leaving - you will need all the energy you can muster. Thereafter 14 km trek to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria.
Govindghat is the confluence of Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga Rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Govind Singh.
Ghangria is the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund, where lodging and boarding facilities are available. Rivers Pushpawati and Hem Ganga meet here to form Lakshman Ganga.

Day 04: Ghangria - Valley of flowers - Ghangria (7+ km trek)
After breakfast, leave for Valley of flowers with packed lunch. Return back to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria
High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanted valley. Here flowerful pastures with clear running streams are set against silver birches and shining snow peaks - a must see for all nature lovers.

Day 05 : Ghangria-Hemkund (5 Kms steep climb)
After breakfast, leave for Hemkund with packed lunch. Return back to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria
Hemkund is a beautiful lake at a breathtaking altitude of 4,300 m, and has a gurdwara, Hemkund Sahib, which a holy place for the sikhs.

Day 06 : Ghangria-Govindghat-Joshimath (14 km downhill trek + 1 hr drive)
Start after breakfast and trek to Govindghat. Lunch on the way. From Govindghat, take a shared Sumo to Joshimath. Overnight stay at Joshimath.

Day 07: Joshimath - Rishikesh (250 kms)
Early morning leave for Rishikesh by shared Sumo. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.

Day 08: Rishikesh - Delhi (230 kms)
Early morning leave for Delhi by bus.

Tabish :
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2 Suresh Chand Bhadana [Assistant Security Officer ] Subject :- Date:-2/14/2012 10:59:03 PM

Valley of Flowers National Park

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Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks *
View of the Valley of Flowers
Country India
Type Natural
Criteria vii, x
Reference 335
Region ** Asia-Pacific
Inion history
Inion 1988 (12th Session)
Extensions 2005
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, nestled high in West Himalaya, is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. It is located in Uttarakhand state. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. 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 Zanskar and Great Himalaya. The park stretches over an expanse of 87.50 km². Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 km²).[1] This Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.

The Valley of Flowers is an outstandingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley that has been acknowledged as such by renowned mountaineers and botanists in literature for over a century and in Hindu religion for much longer. Its ‘gentle’ landscape, beautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of access complement the rugged, mountain wilderness for which the inner basin of Nanda Devi National Park is renowned.

The Valley of Flowers is splashed with colour as it bloomed with hundreds of different 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 locals, of course, always knew of the existence of the valley, and believed that it was inhabited by fairies.

The valley is home to many celebrated flowers like the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily. It is a much sought after haunt for flower-lovers, botanists and trekkers.

The Valley of Flowers is internationally important on account of its diverse alpine flora, representative of the Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows ecoregion. The rich diversity of species reflects the valley's location within a transition zone between the Zaskar 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 internationally threatened, several have not been recorded from elsewhere in Uttarakhand and 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). Seven restricted-range bird species are endemic to this part of the EBA.

The Valley of Flowers was declared a national park in 1982. This part of Uttarakhand, in the upper reaches of Garhwal, is inaccessible through much of the year. The area lies on the Zanskar range of the Himalayas with the highest point in the national park being Gauri Parbat at 6,719 m above sea level.



[edit] History and legends

Margaret Legge's memorial grave
Picturesque landscape near Legge's memorial grave
Valley Of Flowers

The place had disappeared from the tourist map due to its inaccessible approach but in 1931 Frank S. Smythe a British mountaineer lost his way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt.Kamet and happened upon this valley which was full of flowers. He was so attracted towards the beauty of the place he named it the "Valley of Flowers". He authored a book called "The Valley of Flowers" which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.

In 1939 Miss Margaret Legge, a botanist deputed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh arrived at the valley for further studies. While she was traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and was lost for ever. Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial near the spot. The memorial is still there.

Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala, a botanist deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India, carried out a research study on the floristics and conservation of the valley for a decade starting in 1993. He made an inventory of 520 alpine plants exclusively growing in this national park and authored two important books - "The Valley of Flowers - Myth and Reality" and "Ecology and Conservation of the Valley of Flowers National Park, Garhwal Himalaya'.

[edit] Management

There is no settlement in the national park and grazing in the area has been banned. The park is open only in summer between June and October, being covered by heavy snow during the rest of the year.[2]

[edit] Location

State: Uttrakhand

Exact location: The Valley of Flowers is nestled in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region and the old name of this valley was Bhyundar Valley.

District: Chamoli

Nearest town: Joshimath [1]

[edit] The trek

Valley of Flowers see trek in left hand side and valley in front

Getting to the Valley of Flowers requires a trek of about 17 km. The nearest major town is Joshimath in Garhwal, which has convenient road connections from Haridwar and Dehradun, both about 270 km from Joshimath.

Govindghat is a small place close to Joshimath (around one hour distance), from where the trek starts. From Gobindghat, a trek of 14 km brings trekkers to the Ghangaria, a small settlement located about 3 km from the valley. The valley starts near a gorge over the Pushpawati River.

[edit] Fauna

The park is home to tahr, snow leopard, musk deer, red fox, common langur, bharal, serow, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan brown bear, Pika (Mouse hare) and a huge variety of butterflies. Among the important birds and pheasant are, Himalayan Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Snow Partridge, Himalayan Snowcock, Himalayan Monal, Snow Pigeon, Sparrow Hawk etc.

[edit] Flora

Flowers mostly orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones carpet the ground. Sub-alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover parts of the park's area. A decade long study of Prof. C.P. Kala from 1993 onwards concludes that the Valley of Flowers endows with 520 species of higher plants (angiosperms, gymnosperms and pteridophytes), of these 498 are flowering plants. The park has many species of medicinal plants including Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Fritillaria roylei and Podophyllum hexandrum.

[edit] Species

Gaultheria trichophylla flowering June–September, used to prepare appetizer
A flower found in the park
A flower with several insects on it
Himalayan bell flower
A fly feeding on a red flower
Morning dew on a pink flower
Multi storied flowers
A white flower
a mesmerizing scene from valley of flowers
No. Name of Flowers Time of flowering
1. Rhododendron arboreum February–June
2. Primula denticuleta April–July
3. Iris kemaonensis June–July
4. Fritillaria roylei June–July
5. Lilium oxypetalum June–July
6. Arisaema costautum June–July
7. Thermopsisa barbata June–July
8. Rosa macrophylla June–July
9. Caltha palustris June–July
10. Fragaria nubicola May–July
11. Saxifraga roylei July–August
12. Anemone obtusiloba June–August
13. Cypripedium himalaicum June–August
14. Rheum australe July–August
15. Phlomis oracteosa June–August
16. Hackelia uncinata June–August
17. Senecio jacquemotiamus August–September
18. Ligularia amplexicaulis July–August
19. Morina longifolia July–September
20. Geum elatum July–August
21. Geranium wallichianum July–August
22. Impatiense sulcata July–August
23. Meconopsis aculeata July–August
24. Delphenium roylei July–August
25. Aconitum hookeri August–September
26. Thalictrum reniforme July–September
27. Potentilla atrosanguinea July–September
28. Sedum ewersii August–September
29. Dactylorhiza hatagirea June–July
30. Bistorta affinis August–September
31. Stachys sericee August–September
32. Nepeta connata August–September
33. Pedicularis hoffmeistri July–August
34. Swertia hookeri August–September
35. Gentiana ornata August–September
36. Gaultheria erichophy August–September
37. Codonopsis affinis August–September
38. Angelica cyelocarpa July–September
39. Leontopodium jacotianum July–September
40. Saussurea fastuosa July–September
41. Campanula latitotia August–September
42. Cyananthus lobotus August–September
43. Sassurea obvallata August–September
44. Cremanthodium ellisii July–September
45. Anaphalis triplineruts July–September
46. Inula grandiflora August–September
47. Aster albescens July–September
48. Selinium tenuifolium August–September
49. Heracleum pinnatum August–September
50. Epilobium latisperma August–September
51. Silene setisperma August–September
52. Arenaria griffithii August–September
53. Corydalis junecea August–September
54. Erigerono multiradiatus August–September
55. Polygonum molle August–September
56. Himalayan Blue Poppy July–September
57. Codonopsis viridis July–August
58. Origanus vulgare July–August
59. Hackelia uncinata July–August
60. Salvia hins/lanata July–August
61. Smilacina purpurea/oleracea June–July
62. Viola biflora June–August
63. Rhodiola heterodonta July–August
64. Epilohium latifolium July–August
65. Cotoneaster integrifolius July–August
66. Dubyaea hispida August–September
67. Saussurea costus July–August
68. Ligularia fiseheri July–August
69. Androsace museoidea July–August
70. Eritrichium conum July–August
71. Lindelofi anchusoides July–August
72. Thymus linearis June–August
73. Rheum webbianum June–August
74. Megacorpaea polyandra June–August
75. Trillidium govanianum June–August
76. Satyrium nepoleanse June–August
77. Podophyllum hexaneum June–August
78. Picrorhiza kurrooa June–August
79. Polygonatum multiflorum June–August

[edit] Other attractions

[edit] How to reach

The nearest airport is in Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 295 kilometers (183 mi) away, and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, 276 kilometers (171 mi) away. The closest you can get to The Valley of Flowers by road is Govind Ghat. This requires around an 11 hour drive to Joshimath from Dehradun, then another one hour to Gobindghat. From Gobindghat it is a 13-kilometer (8.1 mi) trek along a steep, narrow, but well defined mountain trail to base camp at Ghangaria. This will take between 4 and 8 hours, depending on your fitness. Ghangaria has hotels with electricity and mobile towers. From Ghangaria, another 3 km trek leads to the valley.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

2. Kala, C.P. 2005. Indigenous uses, population density and conservation of threatened medicinal plants in Protected Areas of the Indian Himalayas. Conservation Biology, 19 (2): 368-378.

3. Kala, C.P. 2005. The Valley of Flowers A newly declared World Heritage Site. Current Science, 89 (6): 919-920.

4. Kala, C.P. 2004. The Valley of Flowers Myth and Reality. International Book Distributors, Dehradun, India.

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 30°44′00″N 79°38′00″E / 30.7333333°N 79.6333333°E / 30.7333333 79.6333333

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3 V.P.S. Yadav [Joint Director (Security) ] Subject :-Trip To Dalhousie Date:-8/17/2011 4:48:52 PM



 Dalhousie is a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British viceroy in India at that time.

It is built on and around five hills. Located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, it is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of snow-capped peaks. Dalhousie is situated between 6,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level. The best time to visit is in the summer, and the peak tourist season is from May to September. Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches in the town.

Dalhousie is a gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State, now Chamba District of the state of Himachal Pradesh of India. This hill region is a repository of ancient Hindu culture, art, temples, and handicrafts preserved under the longest-running single dynasty since the mid-6th century. Chamba is the hub of this culture. Bharmour, the ancient capital of this kingdom, is home to the Gaddi and Gujjar tribes and has 84 ancient temples dating from the 7th–10th century AD.

Get in

The trip to Dalhousie is a long one if you are heading from Delhi. It usually involves taking an overnight train to Pathankot (about 10 hr) and then a 2–3 hr drive from Pathankot to Dalhousie.

Get around

The main mode of transport is a car or motorcycle it can get very cold in the evening so a car is recommended. Pony rides are available in G.P.O. and Khajjiar, but this is mostly a recreational activity rather than a functional one. The ponies are called khachhars (mules), crosses between horses and donkeys: don’t expect thoroughbred horses! Walking around Dalhousie is a good option, but to see Khajjiar and Chamba you will have to use some kind of transport. Taxis to these destinations are easily available from the main market.


  • Khajjiar – A stunning valley with a spring in the middle, while being quite beautiful, it gets littered with trash in the peak season of July when a massive number of tourists come. Known as the ‘Switzerland of India’ for the meadowy look.
  • Dainkund Walk – A gentle, sloping walk near an Air Force base in Dalhousie, leading to a Hindu temple.
  • Alah Water Tank – The main water tank in the area, holding 100,000 gallons.
  • Upper Bakrota – The highest area in Dalhousie, it has a number of estates, a residential school, and an Army barracks at the top. The area is circled by a road called Bakrota Walk, on the way to Khajjiar which ends at Alah Water Tank. It was the preferred destination of the landed gentry of Punjab during the Raj, now populated by similar residents from the new India. Some of the houses are worth seeing, but are mostly on private gated estates.
  • Kala Tope Rest House – It’s on the way to Khajjiar at the toll barrier for Kala Tope, a road to the left of the barrier leads to the government rest house, a nice quiet spot and a great place for a picnic. The 3-km route through dense pine forests from Lakkadmandi to Kala Tope is simply exhilarating. No cars are allowed on this 3-km route.
  • Ganji Pahadi Walk – It is called Ganji Pahadi (ganji means bald, pahadi means hill) because there are no trees on the summit of the hill and it looks like it’s got a bald patch at the top. You can ask a local how to get there. It is a long walk of at least an hour, but quite pleasant.
  • Subhash Chowk – This is the spot (chowk means intersection) where the road from the bus stand makes a cross road between two roads to G.P.O. and the one coming in from the bus stand. It is also a fairly active market, second to G.P.O.
  • Church – It is right next to the post office and police post in G.P.O.
  • Chamba – It is a major district town a little distance away from Dalhousie and is the seat of the former princely State of Chamba. It has a number of attractions including a major museum, restaurants, etc.
  • Kalatop wild life reserve. Kalatop Sanctuary was recognized as a game sanctuary on July 1, 1949. It lies between Dalhousie and Chamba at the northwestern extremity Daula Dhar. Dalhousie-Chamba Road runs through the sanctuary, which contains about 15 villages. In 1982-1983, there was a total of 1766 people living inside the sanctuary. This reserve covers an area of 3069 hectares. Its altitude varies from 1185 meters to 2768 meters (3910 ft-9134 ft.) The terrain is steep and typical of the Outer Himalayas. It is drained by several tributaries of the Ravi River which lies just to the north. There is a lake at Khajjiar. The temperature varies from -10°C to 35°C. The mean precipitation is 2648 mm, one-fourth of which falls as snow. Khajjiar, Kalatop, Dain Kund, Lakarmandi, and Bara Pathar are the tourist attractions that fall in this sanctuary. From Gandhi Chowk, a steep, uphill walk will take you to the scenic Bakrota Circle. After walking about 2 kilometers, the road to this sanctuary starts near the Municipal Water Resivoir. Kalatop is at an altitude of 2440 meters, and it is 8.5 kilometers from the GPO. From Lakarmandi, a jeepable road through the dense forest leads to the Kalatop Forest Resthouse. This is a perfect spot for a weekend retreat. The panoramic views of Pir Panjal Range and countryside are breathtaking.

Ask the locals for more detailed directions and advice about these places. Dain Kund, Upper Bakrota, and Ganji Pahadi are the lesser-known but quite long and enjoyable walks. Pack a picnic basket: there are a lot of open, empty spots where one can sit and enjoy a meal and a good view.


Dalhousie is known for its great valleys and high mountain ranges. Places like Panchpula are known for trekking. There are waterfalls, places to trek, or to sit down, relax, and experience nature. It is 5 km from G.P.O. Dalhousie Chowk. Going there is easy by bus, taxi, etc., but going on foot is a marvellous experience. This Place Registered its Name in History. As here Lies the Memorial of Amar Ajit Singh (Uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh)

  • Go to the Tibetan market and have a look around just for fun.
  • Enjoy long walks carry an umbrella if its cloudy.
  • Picnics are the thing to do in Dalhousie.
  • Have a barbeque if your hotel has the facilities to do so.
  • Star-gaze: the sky is exceptionally clear in Dalhousie at night (bring your binoculars/telescope).
  • Enjoy a ride on the ponies in Khajjiar.
  • Trek: it’s a fantastic place to trek.


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4 V.P.S. Yadav [Joint Director (Security) ] Subject :-All about Coimbattore, Tamil Nadu Date:-8/10/2011 12:02:36 PM



A Trip down memory lane




Originally Coimbatore district  formed part of the Kongu country, the history of which dates back to the Sangam age. It is found that in early days the area was inhabited by the tribes, the most predominant among them being the Kosars who are reported to have had their headquaeters at Kosampathur  which probably later became the present Coimbatore.

However, tribal predominance did not last long as they were over-run by the Rashtra Kutas. From Rastrakutas the Region fell in to the hands of the cholas who were in prominence at the time of Raja Raja Chola. On the decline of Cholas the Kongun territory was occupied by the Chalukyas and then by the Pandyas and the cysalas.

Due to internal strife in the Pandyas Kingdom the Muslim rulers from Delhi happened to interfere. Thus the area fell into the hands of Madurai Sultanate from whom the Vijayanagar rulers wrestled for the region during 1377-78 after overthrowing the Madurai Nayaks.During the period of Muthu Veerappa Nayak and later during the period of Tirumal Nayak internal strife and intermittent wars ruined the kingdom.

As a  consequence during the period of Tirumal Nayak,the Kongu region fell into the hands of the Mysore rulers from whom hyder Ali took over the area. However, consequents on the fall of Tippu Sultan of Mysore in 1799, the Kongu  region came to be ceded to the East India Company by the Maharaja of mysore who was restored to power by the East India Company after defeating Tippu Sultan. From then till 1947 when India attained Independence, the region remained under British control who initiated systematic revenue administration.


In 1840, the areas were merged into one  and brought under one District Collector. During the time, Mr.H.S. GREAME, [I/C] from 20/10/1803 to 20/01/1805 was the Collector. In 1868, the Nilgiris District was bifurcated from the Coimbatore District. At the opening of the present century there were ten taluks in the district viz., Bhavani, Coimbatore, Dharapuram, Erode, Karur, Kollegal, Palladam, Pollachi, Sathyamangalam and Udumalaipettai. The name of Sathyamangalam taluk was subsequently changed as Gopichettipalaiyam.

Avinashi taluk was formed in the year Karur taluk happened to be transferred to Tiruchirappalli district. In 1927, some villages of Bhavani taluk together with a few village from Salem district were constituted into Mettur Area but very soon i.e, in 1929, this area was transferred to Salem district.

Again in the year 1956 considerable area of the district, viz., the whole of Kollegal taluk was transferred to Mysore State as part of the States Re-organisation Scheme. In 1975, Sathyamangalam sub-taluk was upgraded as a full fledged taluk.

Again in 1979, Perundurai sub-taluk of Erode and Mettupalayam sub-taluk of Avanashi were also upgraded into independent taluks.Thus the total number of taluks in the district came to twelve. This, however, did not last long. In the same year (1979) six taluks were bifurcated from the district to constitute a new district viz, Erode.



Under G.O. Ms. No. 1917 Revenue dt. 31-8-79, the following six taluks were bifurcated from then Coimbatore district to from Erode district. Bhavani, Gopichettipalayam, Sathyamangalam, Erode, Perundurai and Dharapuram. This bifurcation considerably reduced the size of the district. It has only nine taluks now, viz.  Pollachi, Coimbatore (North), Avanashi, Palladam, Udumalpettai, Tirupur, Valparai, Coimbatore (South) and Mettupalayam.



Tracing the History of Textile City - Rich legacy and promising future

Coimbatore is the third largest city in Tamilnadu, with a population of more than 15 lakhs. There are more than 30,000 tiny small, medium and large industries and textile mills. The city is known for its entrepreneurship of its residents. The Climate is comfortable round the year. The city is situated on the banks of the river Noyyal. Coimbatore existed even prior to the 2nd  Century AD as a small tribal village capital called Kongunad until it was brought under Chola control in the 2nd or 3rd Century AD by Karikalan, the first of the early Cholas.

When Kongunad fell to the British along with the reset of the state, its name  was changed to Coimbatore and it is by this name that is known today, except in Tamil, in which it is called Kovai. The rich black soil of the region has contributed to Coimbatore’s flourishing agriculture industry and, it is in fact, the successful growth of cotton has served as a foundation for the establishment of its famous textile industry.

There are more than 25,000 small, medium, large scale industries and textile mills. Coimbatore is also famous for the manufacture of motor pump sets and varied engineering goods, due to which it has earned the title “Detroit of the South”.
The Development of Hydroelectricity from the Pykara falls in the 1930s led to a cotton boom in Coimbatore.

The result has been a strong economy and a reputation as one of the greatest industrial cities in South India. According to ancient manus, Coimbatore’s history can be traced to the Irula tribal chief Kovan and his clan who were it’s earliest settlers and the founders of “Kovanpatti” a part of Kongunadu. Years later, the surrounding forests were cleared, and the founder of “Kovanpatti” a part of kongunadu. Years later, the surrounding forests were cleared, and a new village was formed called “Kovanputhur”, which over the years came to be known as “Coimbatore”.



In spite of it’s prominence as a busting industrial city, Coimbatore still remains  one of the most pollution free cities in India. Covering an area of 23.5 square Kilometers, the city houses some of the biggest names in Indian Industry. The major industries include textiles, textile machinery, automobile spares, motors, electronics, steel and aluminum foundries. Tirupur – a neighboring town has carves a niche for itself in the garments market. Agriculture however remains the major occupation.

The rich fertile soil and tropical climate is excellent for the growth of millet, paddy, cotton, tea, oil seeds and tobacco. The city is also known for it’s educational institutions. Coimbatore Agricultural University is renowned as one of the best colleges of it’s industrial and technological growth, traditions and age old customs are still held in high esteem. The temples bear witness to the religiousness and love of art and architecture of the people. There are also a number of places of tourist interest around Coimbatore. Ootacamund (ooty for short), is one of the most popular tourist spots in India.





Coimbatore is known for its various industries, engineering goods, textile mills, educational institutions, health care facilities, pleasant weather, friendly culture and hospitality. There is a significant minority of people of North and West Indian origin in Coimbatore which gives it a cosmopolitan outlook. The Tamil spoken here is called Kongu Tamil. Other languages spoken include English, MalayalamTelugu and Kannada. Very friendly & courteous people in South India. Except for early summer it otherwise has a very pleasant climate throughout the year, similar to a resort town. It's one of the upcoming Information Technology Hub with new initiatives from the State Govt. Has the pride of having the world's second tastiest water "Siruvani Water" after Nile. Coimbatore is an orthodox city. It has developed in terms of wealth, however the general populace is still down to earth. People here don't have a flashy lifestyle, they are generally very content. Most of all the Coimbatoreans are known for the respect displayed in language towards everyone.


Tamil is the mother tongue of the natives-picking up few word would be helpful.Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam would qualify as the other languages.English is also spoken.

Get in

The city has six major arterial roads and three National Highways, NH-47 (Kanyakumari-Salem), NH-67 (Nagapattinam-Ooty) and NH-209 (Bangalore-Dindigul) passing through the city. The city has a civil airport at Peelamedu and an Airforce base at Sulur. Broad Gauge trains connect to all parts of India. A by-pass tollway was built recently to avoid unnecessary traffic into the city.

By plane

Coimbatore Airport is approximately 7 kilometers from the center of the city, connections are mainly done with airport's own prepaid cabs. The airport currently has two operational terminals one for departure and one for arrival(arrival building made newly). Coimbatore airport has regular flights from many Indian cities, and Flydubai is planning to start operations from September 2009. Air Asia has also expressed interest in introducing flights between Coimbatore and Kuala Lumpur. Flights to Colombo, Sharjah, Singapore is operational currently. Colombo by Sri Lankan Airlines, Sharjah by Air Arabia, Singapore by Silk Air.


§  Indian Airlines 

ChennaiDelhi (Monday,Wednesday and Friday), MumbaiCochin and Calicut

§  Jet Airways

ChennaiMumbai and Bangalore

§  Kingfisher 

BangaloreMumbai,& Chennai

§  Jetlite (formerly "Air Sahara")

HyderabadBangalore & Delhi

§  Spice Jet -

ChennaiBombayBanglore, Hyderabad &Delhi


Air Arabia 




By train

Coimbatore Junction is well connected by trains from all major cities including Ahmedabad,BangaloreCalicutCochinChennaiGorakhpurHyderabadKanyakumariJammuMumbai,New Delhi and Trivandrum. Other nearby train stations include Podanur Junction and Coimbatore North Junction.

§  Southern Railway

§  Indian Railway reservations 

§  Southern Railway

By bus

The State Transport Corporation and a lot of private buses operate from Coimbatore to major cities in Tamil Nadu and neighboring Kerala and Karnataka states.

KSRTC Bus Timings From Coimbatore 

Get around

Getting around Coimbatore is easy. There are public transport buses, auto rickshaws and plenty of taxis available. Auto rickshaws can charge whatever they feel like, if they find that you are an outsider. Call taxis have a digital meter installed which will tell you the cost.Dial any fancy number to get in touch with Call taxis. Minimum charge is Rs. 40/- .and 16/12 per KM for different operators There are many call taxi operators and you can get a number from your hotel, the railway station or airport.


§  There are three good water theme parks Black Thunder Near Ooty foot hills Kovai Kondattam enroute to Siruvani Dam and Maharaja Water Theme Park near Neelambur, Avinashi Road. The entry fees are 300 to 350 for adults , while children get a discount of Rs 50-100 per head.


Shopping in Coimbatore is concentrated in the areas of RS Puram, Cross-Cut Road and the Town Hall Area(Oppanakara St, Big Bazaar St, Raja St).Coimbatore, known as the Manchester of South India, is famous for textiles. Visitors to Coimbatore must not miss the dazzling array of shops selling Kanchivaram, Benares and designer sarees at Cross-Cut Road. Coimbatore is also known for its numerous jewelry stores situated along Cross-Cut Road and Town Hall Area. Leading global brands like Lee,Arrow,United Colors of Benetton, Levi’s Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Crocodile etc.,have retail outlets in D.B.Road. There are several huge textile showrooms in the city (Chennai Silks, Ganapathy Silks,Shree Devi Textiles,Kalyan Silks ) that sell ethnic wear, catering to the needs of the entire family.Sri Krishna Sweets, that specializes in Indian sweets,is famous for its Mysurpa(a sweet made from lentil flour and ghee).

ATMs are available in most parts of the city with most concentrated in the commercial areas like R.S.Puram, Trichy Road and Avanashi Road.

Nilgiris is South India’s leading chain of retail stores providing consumers a shopping experience that hinges around freshness of produce, superior quality and better value. They have an outlet in R.S. Puram and another at Trichy Road. They stock most of the up-market food items like frozen and tinned foods, offering a wide range of grocery, general merchandise and personal care products. They also stock gourmet cheeses like Gouda, Colby, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Havarti, Feta, Haloumi and Camembert made by Acres Wild Cheese making Farm which is located in Coonoor.


When you visit Coimbatore don't forget to taste the Food & Siruvani Water. Coimbatore is an ideal stop if you want to take some rest while on the way to OotyBangalore or Kerala. Don't forget to taste the best of South Indian Idlis, Dosas, Vada, Chutney and Vegetarian rice meal from the Annapoorna Chain of Restaurants and Geetha cafe near Railway station and Non-vegetarian food from the Angannan's, Sampoorna, Rayappas and Thalappas restaurants. Try Krishna Sweets too, the sweets chain had their origins in this town. The strong influence of the west has prevailed and resulted in numerous coffee pubs and fast food outlets.Chains like Subway, Domino's pizza, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins Ice cream, Marry Brown, Barista, Cafe Coffee Day, Boomerang etc., have made their presence felt among the city's elite and emerging middle class.


 GEETHA HALL ROAD NEAR RAILWAY STATION (in the lane opposite of Coimbatore Railway station entrance, OR Road near by cheran tower), ☎9345073292, 6.30 AM to 10PM. Geetha Café is full before the Nilagiri Express to Chennai arrives at 2030 hours at Coimbatore Junction. Its patrons— public servants, marketing executives, accountants, migrant workers, policemen, lawyers and rail passengers— throng the place for its reasonable, simple and tasty fare. The café has an old world charm, with its tall ceilings, behemoth-like boilers and intricate ventilator grills. The old serif font on the signs and, portraits of Nehru and Gandhi, tower above the clientele — a cult that wears brand loyalty on its sleeves. Stars twinkle above a canopy of trees in the sprawling courtyard simple pleasure after a good meal. Started in 1956 by C. S. Govinda Iyer, Geetha Hotel, with a café and a lodge, soon became the preferred destination of Coimbatoreans for good vegetarian food and a safe place to stay. The street it is on is also named after it. It was originally a drama hall where greats like T. S. Balaiah, Embar S. Vijayaraghavachariar (famous for his Harikatha), Keshavardhini Ammal and Madurai Ram Singh performed. The late C. S. Govinda's son 70-year-old son C. G. Venkatasubban recalls that Embar recited the Sapthagam during its inauguration. “Actress Keshavardhini Ammal used to drive here in a left-hand drive car,” he narrates. That was quite a sight at a time when very few women drove. He adds that his father bought the land in the late ‘30s from Australians hailing from Adelaide. The area had a large Anglo-Indian population back then. The railway station, the fire brigade and the post and telegraph office were the only main buildings then, when Gopalapuram was still scrub jungle. The place where Geetha Café stands today was originally called Vaikuntam the name, still visible on its signboard. Though dramas had to be stopped due to noise regulations around the government hospital, Geetha was already popular and the crowds kept coming. The café itself had many contractors and names over the years. The name Geetha Café has stuck since 1989. Current manager Chandrasekaran Iyer, who's father-in-law was one of the first cooks of the café, says that the place is most popular for its lunch. Served on banana leaves, the food is cooked without garlic, small onions, palm oil or soda bicarbonate, and the use of masalas is kept to a mimimum. “It tastes just like home food,” adds Chandrasekaran. “We make fresh sambar podi everyday and don't use artificial colour for the kesari.” The café works from 6.30 a.m. to 10 p.m. serving snacks, meals and beverages. Its USP is its dishes for diabetics, like broken wheat upma and banana pith poriyal and, its prompt service. With a seating capacity of 100, you don't need to wait for a seat. Meals cost Rs. 35. The café is currently owned by the Arasan Soap Group, which bought it from its original owners last September.  Hari Bavan, RTO Road & Gandhipuram 4th Street. Serves excellent non-veg varieties. the lunch with 4 types of gravy (fish, mutton,chicken and Nattu Kolli gravy) is famous. Dont forget to taste their karandi (omlet) and their side dish.available only for lunch.

   AJMIR, Near TownHall ManiKundu. Serves excellent mutton(Beaf) and chicken Dont forget to taste their mutta poriyal and chicken fry thats great. Not only for beef lovers for chicken lovers also this is a place to be. 250 for 2.  

THE VILLAGE, Near Gem Hospital or archana darchana theater GandhiPark (go via senthil hospital in gandhi park). only in evening and night. Serves a wide variety of dosas and sevai like chola,kambu,tomato,ragi,cauliflower, mushroom,babycorn, panner dosai and seva. Don't forget to order their muttai chappathi delicious . 250 for 2.  

PATTI AMMA DOSAI KADAI, Near Gem Hospital or archana darchana theater Gandhi Park(go via senthil hospital in gandhi park). only in evening and night. Serves a wide variety of dosas and sevai like chola, kambu, tomato,ragi, cauliflower, mushroom, babycorn, panner dosai and seva. Don't forget to order butter appam yummy . 250 for 2.  

MADURAI AMMA MESS, Nehru stadium (Near Boomerang Ice cream). Only in the evening. Serves excellent non-veg varieties. Their specialty is barotta that can be made crispy or softy depending upon the user wish. Don’t forget to order their pepper chicken and tomato chicken. 350 for two.  

 CHINA TOWN, Nehru staduim in the road between the park gate (ParkGate Ground it will be on a thalluvandi). Only in the evening. Serves excellent chinese items like chilly pork, dragon chicken, and their lumpfu soup price 400 for two.  

Four season, Non sakthi highway at karattumedu. Only in the evening till 12 in night. Serves excellent veg and non veg items even u can geta beer there nice place for party guys.Dont forget to eat their kerala chicken,kudal price 300 for two

Hotel Blue Berry (I), Opposite VLB Arts College, Kovaipudur., ☎ 9952566746. 8 AM to 10 PM. Specialist in Biriyani (Mutton, Chicken and Fish). Serves excellent varities of Non Veg curries. Takes function orders and entertains home deliveries. You will be addicted to their Chettinad and Chengudu Chicken. Price 200 for Two

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has opened an outlet in R.S.Puram, Coimbatore - Seems to be a big hit amongst the locals here. Always crowded. Difficult to get in on the weekends. Plans to open an outlet in Brooke Fields Mall also.

McDonald's (MAC) in the pipeline after seeing the response to KFC here in Coimbatore.

Restaurants to Avoid in CBE. 

Alankar Grande in Ramnagar, Coimbatore - Don't get tempted to go to their midnight buffet offered at 200 Rs per head. The service is awful, food crappy, definitely is the leftover from their regular buffet. They pour boiling water over chicken gravy to increase portion sizes if they see more customers coming in. Instead go to an average restaurant, eat whatever you want, pay less than Rs 200 even with a companion. Hari Bhavanam in Gandhipuram is a far better choice when compared to this hotel.  


The Siruvani water supplied in Coimbatore is said to be one of the tastiest waters in the world, in fact the second tastiest. Don't you ever resort to buying mineral water bottles when in Coimbatore. If so, you are going to miss something really good.


Coimbatore is surrounded by hill ranges and hence several picnic spots for one-day drive and back exist around Coimbatore. Some of them are:

 Kovai Kutrallam water falls(45 km)

 Monkey falls(75 km)

 Athikadavu stream(40km)

 Kallar river banks(55 km)

 Topslip town(90 km)

 Malampuzha dam(60 km)

Thirumurthy waterfalls(90 km)

 Dhyanalinga Yogic temple & Isha Yoga centre(35 km)

 Vellingiri hill temple(37 km)

 Marudhamali Hill Temple(20 km)

 Vydehi Water falls(35 km)

 Bhavani Sagar(55km)

 Kodiveri(75 km) etc.

Most of them are not very well known to outsiders and if you go on a working day , the tranquility would be an added advantage, and most of these roads are good, compared to Indian standards.




Perur Patteeswara Swamy temple is the most popular temple in the city. Built by the King Karikala Cholan, this temple is situated 7 kms west of Coimbatore near river Noyyal. The presiding deity is Shiva and the 'Swayambu Lingam' is the idol worshipped here. This sanctum is the joint effort of the  Chola,  Hoysala  and Vijayanagara rulers during their reign. The greatest attraction of the temple is the 'Kanaka Saba' or the golden hall which is adorned by a gold plated statue of Nataraja bestowing blessings upon the two sages - Gowmuni and Pattimuni. The gopurams and pillars of the hall are exquisitely carved out sculptures highlighting Dravidian architecture.The significance of Perur temple in earlier days are unfolded in the poetic creations of Arunagiri Nather and Kachiappa Munivar. The temple stands on the banks of the holy river Noyyal called 'Kanchi Manadi' by the locals. Pilgrims from all over visit this spot to pay homage to their ancestors. It is believed that the mortal remains of the dead turn into white stones after about 144 days.


About 12 Kilometers away from Coimbatore Railway Station is the Marudhamalai temple of Lord Muruga. As the name suggests, the temple is situated on a hillock and the presiding deity is called Dhandayuthapani. The celebrations of this temple are ' Thaipoosam' and ' Thirukarthigai ' in January and February.  Pollachi, an important commercial centre about 40 Kms away from Coimbatore, is famous for it's Mariyamman and Subramanya temples.The South Banaras or Avanashi Temple is the biggest temple in the district famous for it's exquisite carvings & sculptures.


The Dhyanalinga Multi - Religious Temple situated at Vellingiri foothills about 30kms from Coimbatore is very much a part of this glorious tradition. Dhyanalinga was consecrated by Sadhguru Jaggi, Vasudev, a realized Master, Mystic and Yogi, after three years of intense process of prana prathista. Measuring 13' 9'', Dhyanalingam is the largest mercury based live Linga in the world. It does not require minutes within the sphere of Dhyanalinga is enough to make even those unaware of meditation to experience a state of deep meditativeness and feel the divine energy that overflows from this glorious form. The free spanning dome that enshrines the Dhyanalingam measures 77' in diameter and is the largest of its kind in the world. This divine instrument radiates seven different qualities on seven different days of the week by which one can derive various benefits.


 KARAMADAI At Karamadai, a place near Mettupalayam there lived people by the name " Thottiyars ". One of the Thottiya had a (Karai Pasu) cow. All off a sudden, for a few days the cow did not give him milk.Filled with anger the thottiya followed the cow and found his cow shedding milk to a Kaarai bush, the thottiya became very furious and with his knife banged the bush and a sound exploded from the bush and blood started gushing out of the bush, people knowing this rushed to the spot and found a Suyambu Lingam inside the bush, the same night the God appeared in the dream of thottiya and ordered the thottiya to glorify him with " Chandana Kaapu ", So did the thottiya and found that it was a beautiful Ranganathar Suyambu (which is said to be growing in size every year).


 POONDI Velliyangiri is a beautiful temple situated in one amongst the five hills of historical importance. The five hills symbolically represents the five different faces of Lord Shiva. This is the only temple where PanchaLinga can be seen. Lord Brahma was fast asleep and lacked in his duty. So to overcome his sin he started meditating at Himalayas where he got Shiva Dharisanam and was guided to continue his meditation in the name of Pattimuni at perur. Aanaimalai, a place near Pollachi was earlier ruled by a king called Naanan. He had a very special mango tree in his farm on the riverside of Aaliyar, which he was so fond of. He was so particular that nobody was allowed to use neither the mangoes nor its leaves.Once, a group of girls were having their bathe in the Aaliyar river and saw a mango floating on the river which belonged to nanans tree, on anxiety one of the girl picked the mango and ate it, even after several pleadings made by her father, the king sentenced her to death. After some time the villagers in that particular area formed a female figure in lying state in remembrance of the innocent girl on the graveyard sand and started worshipping her. In due course she was worshipped by the name "Maasani"Later Kozhinkhosargal defeated king Naanan and destroyed that particular mango trees. It is believed that Lord Rama on his way in search of Seetha, was absorbed by the power of this temple, stopped here and performed his meditation adding glory to this temple.


This temple is located at 10 kms from Coimbatore on Pollachi road. It is one of the oldest temple in Coimbatore and dates to 1500 A.D. The Moolavar at this temple was actually meant for Perur Patteshwarar temple and since it got stuck on its way from Madurai, Eachanari became the blessed place. The deity's height is 6 feet and the width is 3 feet and is one of the bigCoimbatore is a major industrial city in Tamil Nadu, often likened to being the Manchester or Detroit of Southern India. It's famous for the manufacture of motor pump sets and varied engineering goods.

Anjeneyar Kovil- Esso Bunk, Peelamedu. This Temple was recently constructed in one of the calmest localities. Offers great peace of mind and is open in the morning till 12.00PM and opens again from 5.00PM for public. Dont miss various alangaarams done for the God.  Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple at the Isha Yoga Centre , Eachanaari Vinayaga Temple in Pollachi road,

Marudhamalai Hill Temple- Anubhavi Subramniar temple which has a natural spring that spurts water throughout the year.

Perur Siva Temple -which is more than 1000 years old with wonderful sculptures, Asia's biggest statue of Lord Ganesha temple in Puliakulam. Velliengiri hills and temple is a famous temple with a long lasting history, which is also known south Kailash. Other temples are Ayappan Pooja Sangam in Ramnagar and Ayyappan temple in New Siddhapudur, Sringeri Saradha Koil, Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Saibaba colony, Koniamman temple and Ramar temple in Ramnagar near Gandhipuram bus stand.

ISHA YOGA CENTER'S SHIVA TEMPLE - Worth visiting -20 km from city. The famous Palanitemple devoted to Lord Muruga is 100 km from Coimbatore.

ANUBHAVI SUBRAMANIAR TEMPLE  CHINNA THADAGAM - This temple has a natural outflow, which spouts water all through the year. For this reason, the temple is quite popularly known and people never fail to make their visit. There must be 100s of steps to get to the temple, and no mechanical help available. This place is frequented by elephants and hence do not plan to visit the temple during evening hours. Don't forget to visit the Lalithambikai temple situated at its foothills.  


 Arulmigu Subramaniyaswamy Thirukoil (15 km north west of Coimbatore), ☎ 0422 2422490, A huge temple complex, at least 1200 years old, located on a picturesque hill, you should not miss it.  

you can go to Then Thiruppathi a nice place to visit with family which is located near Mettupalayam.

There are a lot of budget hotels near the railway station and bus stand with single room between 150-350/day.

Hotel City Tower, 56 Sivasamy Road, ☎ 0422 2230641, standard A/C double room Rs.1250/- deluxe A/C double Rs.1500/.  

Dunag Springs Service Apartments (Dunag Springs), 12/24 Dunag Springs, Padmanabha Nagar, Civil Aerodrome, Dunag Springs Service Apartment , Coimbatore's Largest & Luxurious Hotel Apartment having 29 furnished apartments spread over 3 Locations (Airport, Nehru Nagar, Ramanathapuram) in town on daily rental. Wifi enabled 25 Seater A/C Conference Hall & Gym Facility Available with In House Pantry Services. 1250 onwards.

SITRA, Coimbatore (200 Mtrs from Coimbatore Airport), ☎ 4399031/32.


§  INFANT JESUS CHURCH in Kovaipudur, where devotees throng on Thursdays for attending the Noveena. St.Antony's Church in Puliakulam, where many devotees offered their prayers on every Tuesday, CSI Immanuel, Intouch Fellowship at the YWCA Hall. Other attractions Athar Jamad Masjid, (Located in Big bazaar street). A famous 100 years old Masjid  

Other places of worship include Kottai Hidayathul Islam Safia Jamath Mosque in Kottaimedu.

Stay safe Watch out for pickpockets at Ukkadam bus stand. While travelling on bus, keep your valuables safe.




















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5 Basudeb Chakraborty [Under Secretary(LAFEAS) ] Subject :-Ladakh the Broken Moonland Date:-6/22/2011 5:12:51 PM

Leh is capital of ladakh kargil region.if u want to go to Leh the best time is June. Its accessible by air and also by road via srinagar or Manali. Food in leh is expensive. If u know some local people better stay at their place as u can have warm hospitality and authentic tibetan meals like momos and thupkas. The scenery in Leh is stunning with its vertical cliffs and roaring indus and warm sulphur springs.u can see moon lighting the barren mountains. its a must visit place.
on the other hand low oxygen can make u sick and direct sunlight will leave u with sunburns. take some tan lotion with SPF more than 40 along with moisturizer. The medicine for altitude sickness is called Diamox. Also carry Dispirin. As my friend had warned me,  had taken lots of food stuff and water. Because as you move up the altitude sickness does effect you. You need to drink gallans of water. I had been to Leh in the month of Novemeber and it is ideal month as you dont have road blockages and all. The most important is that once you reached a certain height you have the sun directly and get serious sun burns.. You can tend to get Skin Cancer. So you have to be prepared for the hot sun with proper clothing. I would suggest you to:

(1) Carry proper winter gears

(2) Good quality winter cream/moisturizer (1/2 litre bottles may not be a bad idea)/sun tan lotion is a must if you dont want to come back sun-burnt & aged-looking.

(3) Buy Apricots (dry/semi-dry), Apricot Nuts (similar to almond), Seabuckthorn (Leh Berry)  Pulp/Tea/Cosmetics made from Apricot (anti-rinkle cream/Apricot oil-good for join pain/skin etc.)
(4) Visit the Summer harvest restaurant for authentic Tibbetian breakfast and food/ For good Indian food visit Hotel Shyanam (Old leh Road)

(5) Buy Chinese cookeries/thermos/handicraft items/carpets etc.  

(6) Banana/strawberry shakes that are widely available.

(7) Carry your wideangle/telephoto lenses and enough memory/battery backup for your camera
(8) Buddhist Chants/Meditative Music, if interested.


(1) Try to be hyperactive. You’ll get tired easily.

(2) Bother carrying T-shirts. Concentrate on Jackets/pullovers/cardigans instead. Thermals are a must if you want to wear only T-shirts.

(3) Drink normal Water. Always go for mineral water, if available

(4) control on Food. Because of less atmospheric pressure everything has a tendency to find its way out of your body -)

(5) Rely on Credit Cards/Debit Cards. Carry cash at all times. Though there are 3-4 ATM, only SBI’s works (long ques).

(6) Forget to carry your permit while Going to Pangong/KhardoungLa/Nubra
(7) Buy brassware/Tibetan mugs as it is very expensive. You’ll probably get the same things at Delhi at 1/3rd the price.


The altitude range causes wide variations in climate even within Ladakh, but in general summer is short and mild and winter chilling and bitter. The cold weather begins in September/October and lasts till May. The hottest and the coldest months are July and January respectively.


Pangong Lake - One of the highlights of our Leh visit. The place is about 150 kms from Leh and is approx. four hour drive. Enroute, there is Changla Pass, the 3rd highest motorable pass in the World. We started at about 7 and reached the place around 12.30 after stopping for 15-20 mins at ChangLa. Its said that the lake is over 130 km long and almost 2/3rd of it is in China. The Lake water was brilliant in its hue, having at least 3-4 different colours (blue, green, purple, etc) at different places. The scenery on route to Pangong Lake is fantastic to say the least.

Nubra Valley - is about 120 kms and requires a Permit to visit. The landscape along the way includes the KhardoungLa (the highest motorable pass in the World) glacierssituated at about 18300 feet (Everest is 29K feet mind you). The main attractions are Camel Safari & hot water springs. These are at some distance from the town as a result of which overnight stay is required in case of Nubra. Its a photographers’ paradise offering breathtaking view of sands against the back of coloured mountains.


There are scores of Monasteries in and around Leh. We felt the important ones are :-
(1) Hemis - Probably the best of all monasteries situated around 40 Kms and hidden behind hills. Its well maintained, offers a pleasant view and has a newly built museum thats worth the entry fee.

(2) Thikse - Another large and beautiful monastery with 2 storied statue of the Buddha and excellent view of the surrounding hills

(3) Alchi - 70 kms fro Leh, its a inactive monastery on the bank of River Indus.One can stay there if he/she wants to have glimpse of a beautiful tibbati village

(4) Likir - has a huge 80 feet open air statue of the Buddha

(5) Spituk - 8 km from Leh, it offers a panoramic view of the Indus valley and houses a huge statue of Mahakaal.


(1)   The Leh Palace - Not much to see inside except a small temple, but offers a good view of the Leh town and surrounding landscape.

 (2) The Mosque - Bang in middle of the town. You cant miss it.
(3) Shanti Stupa - a "Peace" offering constructed by the Japanese, very similar to the Pagoda at Darjeeling

(4) Stok/Soma/Shey Monasteries may be visited time permitting. Not much to be seen here except a bit at Stok.

(5) We missed out on Tso Moriri Lake which was at a distance of 220 kms and required overnight stay.

Overall, every one in their life should visit this heaven atleast once in their

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