Best Time for This Trek –
Valley of Flowers officially opens at 1st June every year but The Best Time for this Trek is between mid of July to mid of August when the Flowers are at their best display. The reason that Valley of flowers is a monsoon Trek is that most of the time it remains snow-clad. It is not possible to access the route from October to end April. During the months of May, you are to find Huge Glaciers on your way. We attempted this Trek from 4th – 11th of August. We were 8 people in the group.
What are the challenges that you face in this trek-
As per my trekking experience of 5 years, Valley of flowers is an Easy – Moderate Grade Trek, but the Hemkund Sahib Yatra is more difficult than reaching valley of Flowers. It’s a total uphill climb for nearly 4-5 hrs (the slowest can cover it in 5 hours like me who had started at 8 a.m and reached there by 1.15 p.m. when the Gurudwara was about to close). Otherwise the hiking is a total pleasure to cover.
What type of shoes/Clothes you require for this trek –
Shoes I would recommend of Quechua Shoes. Clothings would be best from Quechua’s Hiking Fleece, Rain Cut Jacket, Hiking Trousers.
Any memorable incident in this trek –
This Trek is an enough spiritual Trek. It connected two souls and thus I found the Love of my Life.
Any historical association with this trek –
In 1939, Joan Margarett Legge from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England visited the valley of Flowers for exotic species collection. Unfortunately, while collecting plants she fell off from the cliff and died. A Memorial is erected amidst the Valley of Flowers.
How did you prepare for the trek –
You should do Exercises like Plank exercise, Squats, Skippings, Joggings and shoulder exercises are enough to prepare you for the Trek. Unlike other Moderate- Difficult Treks, this Trek trek is easier.
Haridwar to Chamoli – Reached Haridwar station at around 7.30 a.m, then headed towards Joshimath. On the way during the monsoon you may meet with dangerous Landslides on the way, so be careful with the timings. If possible plan a buffer day in between to reach Govindghat or from Govindghat to reach Haridwar railway station . Uttarakhand is stated as Dev-Bhoomi so you will least expect non-veg foods in hotels.
Chamoli to Govindghat – We reached Chamoli at around 8.30 pm as we were stuck in the midway as the road was blocked due to sudden Landslides for over 1-2 hours and lodged in a hotel and had a plain dinner. Don’t expect lavish items as food reason as stated earlier. Early morning we got up and were ready to reach Govindghat in a small bus. The picturesque journey on the way will fill your soul with satisfaction and sanctity. The holy rivers of Alakananda and Dhauliganga meet at the confluence of Vishnuprayag which is located just below Joshimath.
Govindghat to Ghangharia – We reached Govindghat at around 8.30 a.m and after a 20 minutes ride to Pulna by car, we started our Trek from there. Crossing the overbridge constructed over Lakshman Ganga river a Tata Sumo took us to Pulna, a journey of about 20 minutes, from where our Trek started to Ghangharia. Keeping Lakshman Ganga to our right we started our journey. After some minutes my attention was captured by the floras of the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve. A closer detailing will reveal you varieties of Mushrooms and Flowers on your way. I was fortunate to take the photographs of few of the enormous varieties of Mushrooms and Flowers which the Biosphere reserve contains. You will find the Mushroom varieties totally enroute Govindghat to Ghangharia. The Flowers will welcome you from the very beginning of your Trek. At around 12 pm you will be able to cross the Lakshman Ganga valley and head towards the continuous steep climb to Ghangharia and complete it within 3 hours. First you will reach the Helipad which also has a camping ground and from there a crowded site of Ghangharia.
Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib – Hemkund Sahib is at an altitude of 14400 feet and from Ghangharia you have to cover it within a span of 5 hours maximum for the slowest and 3.5 hours for the fastest Trekker. It’s a steep uphill trek. I started at around 8 a.m and reached at 1.15 pm when it was at the verge of closure. Enroute you will find many stalls which offers hot and cold beverages, breakfast and lunch. Gurudwara closes at 2:00 p.m. However we managed to go in, and offer prayers and obtained the Halwa as Prashad. The Langar offers you a Tasty Khichdi and glasses of great Tea. In and around the region you will see The famous Brahmakamal and numerous other beautiful flowers. There is also a Lakshman Ji Temple. The holy Kund is fed with great glaciers, and the water flow away as Waterfalls. You may come across a Great Glacier if fortunate. Don’t forget to take Raincoats and High Altitude medicines.
Ghangharia to Valley of Flowers – From Ghangharia you have to start early morning at around 6-7 a.m. to reach valley of Flowers at around 10-11 a.m. You have to take permit from the entrance of this National Park where Entry fee for first three days is Rs. 150 and of additional per day is Rs. 50. You carry the packed lunch upto there. After Trekking for half an hour, you will meet the beautiful breath-taking gorge of Lakshman Ganga, till which there is a steady path and after that you have to hike up through the jungles and each time when you stop to look back, you will get magnificent views. On entrance of the valley more varieties of exotic flowers, bees, insects and waterfalls will greet you. The park remains open until 5 pm after which you have to mandatorily descend. The entire national park is inhabited by Himalayan black bears, wolves. Sip a cup of tea at any of the roadside stalls while enjoying the gorgeous view of nature. You expect to have good lunch and dinner when you come back to Ghangharia and can also stay at a decent hotels with reasonable prices.
Ghangharia to Govind Ghat – Early morning you have to get up and head towards Govind Ghat, where you will reach within 3 hours, via the same route and if you wish you may stay an extra day to visit the famous Badrinath, which is accessible by tempo travellers. But we were unable to visit Badrinath owing to the dangerous Landslides already caued. Still enthusiasts can cover Badrinath by Trek but it will take around 2 days for the same. Badrinath Dham is around 25 kms from Govindghat.At Govind Ghat have lunch, visit the market and Gurudwara there, roam around its periphery or walk up to the banks of the river. We had a great dinner of Desi Chicken and rice.
Govindghat to Haridwar – After a journey of 10 hours we were able to reach Haridwar. After lodging in a good hotel, we went for the Darshan of Ganga – Arati, which is a splendid phenomenon to witness. Having lunch at around 9 pm we returned to the Railway station with a heavy heart to board the Train. Till now I can visualize the stupendous Trek I had attempted in 2017 and get goosebumps to measure the grandeur of this Trek and wonder about the real existence of this heaven on Earth.
The Mystical Valley of Flowers.
Milk Parsleys (Ligusticopsiswallichiana) are seen in majority around in valley of Flowers.
The abode of God
Valley of Flowers towards the direction of flow of Laxman Ganga.
State flower of Uttarakhand – The Blue Poppy (Meconopsis aculeate)
The Wallich Geranium
Stem Clasping Ligularia
Himalayan Fleeceflower or the Polygonumaccine
The Holy Hemkund Sahib at 14400 feet.