The deluge-hit Valley of Flowers National Park, a World Heritage site in Chamoli district, will remain closed for the rest of this year even as the yatra to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and Hemkund Saheb has resumed.
The park, which opened on June 1, was closed on June 16 after incessant rains triggered landslips and destroyed a bridge over the Pushpawati river, which connects the Valley of Flowers to Ghangaria, a popular pilgrimage site nearby. A 3-km stretch between the bridge and the park was also destroyed. Sarvesh Kumar Dube, Sub Divisional Officer of the Nanda Devi National Park, Joshimath, said, “The Public Works Department has constructed a temporary bridge over the river for conveying men and materials to the Valley of Flowers. However, the bridge is not safe for a multitude of people to cross over it.”
Had things been normal, the park would have remained open till October-end, he said. This year, only 487 tourists could visit the park as against last year’s turnout of 7,000.
The Valley of Flowers, 11,500 feet above sea level, encompasses more than 600 floral species and is a habitat for endangered species including the Himalayan musk deer, the Asiatic black bear and the snow leopard.