HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Valley of Flowers may not be opened this year as well

Arvind Moudgil  Joshimath, April 08, 2014
First Published: 21:18 IST(8/4/2014) | Last Updated: 21:22 IST(8/4/2014)

The Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand, which has been closed to the public after the mid-June flash floods, is unlikely to be opened this year due to lingering construction work.

The only bridges that connect the outside world with the valley were washed away in the floods and are still not reconstructed.

According to officials in-charge of the reconstruction, the work is very unlikely to be completed this year due to inclement weather.

"Three bridges have to be restored to safely open the Valley of Flowers to the visitors," said Rajiv Dhiman, DFO, Nanda Devi National park.

He said a 2.5km-pedestrian road that leads the tourists from the bridge to the valley was also washed away.

"The road has to be re-laid but nothing can be done till the glaciers and snow melt away, probably by the end of April," Dhiman said.

He said the administration would do its best to reopen the valley for the public, but not before the route was made safe for them.

The Valley of Flowers is a high-altitude UNESCO world heritage site located in the upper reaches of Garhwal. It is inaccessible to tourists for the most part of the year and is home to some exotic flora and fauna, including snow leopard, musk deer, red fox and blue sheep.

Every year, the valley is opened to the public from June to October. There is only one way to reach the valley from Joshimath - through Ghangaria. The tourists will have to travel by foot for about 9km from Hemkunt Shahib Road near Joshimath town to Tiprakhark. Tiprakhark and the valley are separated by the Pushpavati River and are connected by a bridge.

However, this bridge was washed away in the floods last year along with two other small bridges.

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