Uttarakhand: The Uttarakhand government, in an effort to revive tourism, will re-open the Valley of Flowers National Park for tourists from Wednesday.
The park, located at an altitude of 11,500 feet in the Chamoli dictrict, was shut down after flash floods triggered by heavy rain caused massive devastation in Uttarakhand in June 2013. Over 5,000 people were killed or were missing, including pilgrims from various parts of the country. The famous Kedarnath shrine was virtually submerged in mud and slush.
The deluge had swept away the bridge connecting the national park, known for its meadows of alpine flowers and the variety of flora, to the nearest town of Ghangaria.
The 6-km-long and 2 km wide 'U' shaped valley -- a World Heritage Site -- is a home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox and blue sheep.
"Over the years, receding glaciers and ban on grazing has spoiled the equilibrium of the Valley of Flowers, yet it remains one of the most beautiful places on the earth," said Ganesh Saili, a travel author.
Bhrigubeer Singh, an avid trekker, said the Tourism and Forest department needs to make sure the influx of tourists does not hamper the ecological balance of the alpine meadows.