trail across valley of flowers

A mystical walk through the valley that opens up to a flower bed, with peaks and glacier in background and a river bed; Valley of flowers is an ultimate destination for nature lovers. Situated between the Zanskar and the Great Himalayan ranges, Valley of Flowers is a renowned World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was discovered by Frank Smythe, Holdsworth & Shipton while returning from one of their mountaineering expeditions. This happened in 1931, after coming back from a successful Mt. Kamet expedition, the team of six mountaineers stumbled upon the Bhyundar valley while returning and to this very day this valley continues to attract trekkers, naturalists, botanists, nature lovers and mountaineers. The discovery of the valley was unintentional yet has now turned into a sensational destination.
Part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Valley of Flowers is an important site for botanists, mountaineers and trekkers. It is a region full of rare Himalayan plants and flowers as well as birds, rare in nature; only to be found at a specific altitude. The flora and fauna of the valley is highly fragile and endangered. The national park is surrounded by peaks like Gauri Parbat (6590m), Rataban (6126m) and Kunth Khal (4430m). The Pushpawati River flows through the valley, and joins Lakshman Ganga at ghangaria. It is the major source of moisture and as the soil here does not hold a lot of water and hence the flowers bloom immediately after the first rains. The valley is a riot of colors by mid-August with balsam, anemones, blue poppy, brahma kamals, primulas, asters etc occupying the valley floor. There are certain carnivorous species as well who get their source of nutrition from the insects, but these can only be identified by a keen observer. For a nature lover, this valley opens brilliant vistas and panoramic views. It is an enthralling site to walk amongst a path laid out between flowers.

Below is the short itinerary for Valley of Flowers Trek -

  • Day 1: Dehradun to Joshimath Drive - 293 KM in 9 h
  • Day 2: Joshimath to Govindghat (1,920 m) drive 21 KM, trek to Ghangaria (2,950 m) | 11 KM trek in 4-5 h
  • Day 3: Ghangaria to Valley of Flower (3,510 m) trek & return to Ghangaria - 8 KM
  • Day 4: Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib trek (4,200 m) & return to Ghangaria - 12 KM
  • Day 5: Ghangaria to Govindghat trek - (11 KM trek) & drive to Badrinath 25 KM in 40 mins, further return to Karanprayag (122 KM in 4 h), post Badrinath visit
  • Day 6: Karanprayag to Dehradun drive - 210 KM in 7 h

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Photographic - Day Wise blog on Valley Of Flowers And Hemkund Sahib by Ashwini Paralkar

Valley Of Flowers And Hemkund Sahib
Valley Of Flowers And Hemkund Sahib
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Valley Of Flowers And Hemkund Sahib
A Splendid trek To Valley Of Flowers And Hemkund Sahib
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  • Day 1: Dehradun to Joshimath: drive

    A long yet scenic drive crosses major towns of Uttarakhand before we reach our destination of the day, Joshimath, after crossing some of the Prayags. We start early from Dehradun to reach Joshimath by late afternoon. Crossing Rishikesh, Devprayag, which happens to be the final prayag (confluence) between Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, and consecutively Srinagar, we follow along the Alaknanda river the entire time. The distance from Dehradun to Karanprayag is 210 km which takes 7 hours to complete. We arrive at Karanprayag, which is one of the Panch (five) Prayag (confluence), where Alaknanda meets Pindar river. It will be our overnight stop for the last day of the trek. We continue to Joshimath and check into hotel by evening. We can explore around the town in the evening.

  • valley of flowers
    Day 2: Drive from Joshimath to Govindghat & Trek to Ghangaria (2,950 m)

    Post breakfast, we check out of the hotel and head towards Govindghat. The drive ahead to Govindghat takes about 45 minutes from where we switch vehicles and drive towards Pulna. From Pulna, we start trekking towards Ghangaria. The distance to be covered on this day is 11 km, which takes about 5-6 hours to complete. While trekking towards Ghangaria, the path is laid, which makes the trek relatively easier. However a continuous elevation may become strenuous. The trek route till Ghangaria is dotted with small dhabas, pilgrims heading towards Hemkund Sahib and a ferocious outlet of the river Pushapavati. You are also going to be surrounded by the forest the entire route, which reduces the heat and makes the hike pleasant. The route till Ghangaria is a busy one as it is also the route to Hemkund Sahib. You will spot helicopters often if the weather is clear and innumerable spots to eat. Before reaching the actual village of Ghangaria, you will hit the camps. We check into our hotel and spend the rest of the evening in leisure.

  • Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers (3,500 m) and back to Ghangaria

    Today is the day you’ve been anticipating for! The Valley of flowers welcomes you with a view that only the lucky ones can stumble upon. We start early from Ghangaria to reach the valley by 0900- 1000 hours. The trek begins with a small path covered by forest from all the sides; and there is a clear gradual increase in the number of flowers on the path. You will cross a bridge which will then lead to a sudden ascend. Continue walking on the path and within sometime the path will open up into a vast valley. From here the Valley begins. The first view is of the peaks in front of the path that you’ve been trekking upon. Once you look to your right, you can see the valley and the Tipri glacier. The valley is laden with rare species of Himalayan flowers, including blue poppy, orchid, primulas and Himalayan bell flowers. The valley of flowers is not only relevant in today’s context but has had interesting admirers since forever. One such individual Lady Joan Margaret Legge who lost her life in the valley when she slipped. Her grave is marked and trekkers often hike up till her grave. You can also trek till the river bed of Pushpavati river. The river is named in accordance with the significance of the valley of “flowers”. You can spend your time observing the flowers, clicking photographs or simply doing nothing! The valley doesn’t disappoint you a bit. After spending 1-2 hours at the valley, we head back towards Ghangaria post lunch. The descend is relatively easier however may become strenuous on the knees. After reaching Ghangaria, you can spend the evening exploring around.

  • Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangaria

    The next day we embark on a pilgrimage journey. Post breakfast, we start trekking towards Hemkund Sahib. The distance from Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib is 6 km which takes about 5 hours to complete. The path, again, is well laid and dotted with small eating joints; which is not the case while you trek towards the Valley. The path to Hemkund sahib is also blessed with flowers that you may have seen in the Valley of flowers. The hike to Hemkund Sahib is challenging yet magnificent. You can see pilgrims all motivated to reach the gurudwara, some even complete the journey barefoot. On reaching Hemkund Sahib, you can enter the gurudwara and then enjoy some ready to eat hot Halwa and chai. You can also sit by the Sarovar for a while and enjoy the views around. After spending an hour at gurudwara, we head back towards Ghangaria taking the same route. After reaching Ghangaria, we rest for a while and spend the evening in leisure.

  • Blooming Flowers in the valley
    Blooming Flowers with the valley in backdrop
    Ghangaria to Govindghat trek, drive to Badrinath & return to Joshimath

    Post breakfast breakfast, we bid adieu to Ghangaria and check out of our hotel. Heading back towards Pulna, we take the same route and start trekking early in the morning to reach Govindghat on time. At Govindghat, we board our traveller and head towards Badrinath, which happens to be one of the "Char Dham" or the four Holiest Temples. After visitng the Temple we set out for Karanprayag, where we arrive by early evening. We check into the hotel for an overnight stay. We can set out for witnessing the Aarti in the evening at the confluence.

  • Day6
    Alaknanda river
    Alaknanda river along the way; PC: Bachan Rana
    Karanprayag to Dehradun

    Post breakfast, we leave from Karanprayag and start our drive towards Dehradun; crossing towns Devprayag and Rishikesh en route. We check out early from our hotel to reach Dehradun by late afternoon. On reaching Dehradun, your trip ends with a backpack full of amazing memories! Alternatively you can plan a stay at Tapovan or Rishikesh for yet another marvelous experience in these amazing towns, for that perfect conclusion to an already splendid journey.



    Mammals

  • Langur
  • Wild Fox
  • Indian Crested Porcupine
  • Wild boar
  • Black bear
  • Leopard

    Birds

  • Mistle Trush
  • Blue-capped Redstart
  • Blue-fronted Redstart
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Plain Mountain Finch
  • Chaffinch
  • Grey Bushchat
  • Rock Bunting
  • Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
  • Common Kestrel
  • Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
  • White-throated Fantail
  • Rufous-bellied Niltava
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Dunagiri (7,066 m) (Visible prominently on our backside from Guling and then on the pass day)
  • Hathi peak (6,727 m) and Ghodi peak are visible clearly adjacent to each other
  • Barmatia (6,041 m) (Visible between Hathi peak and Dunagiri)
  • Mana peak (7,272 m) can be seen further left from Ghodi peak and not so prominently visible.
  • Nilkantha peak (6,596 m) is visible further left from Mana peak and its distinct shape can be recognised.
  • Chaukhambha massif (Chaukhamba I - 7,138 m) is visible left from Nilkantha peak and the huge crown like appearance can be identified.
  • Nanda Devi (7,816 m) can be seen occassionally during the pass day, towards the right of Dunagiri and behind Pangarchula. It is more clearly visible if one walks on the the trail towards Auli from Taali.
  • Ganga during first and last day's drive Devprayag.
  • Alaknanda during the drive from Devprayag.
  • Madnakini is visible from Rudryaprayag
  • Pindari river is visible from Karnapryang
  • Nandakini is visible from Nandaprayag
  • Dhauli Ganga meets Alaknanda at Vishnupryag
  • Pushpawati at Govindghat
  • Lakshman Ganga at Ghangaria

Transport support from and to Dehradun: starting from pickup on day 1 to drop on day 6.

Guide and cook fees.

Forest entry charges.

Porter and mule support to carry camping equipment. Please note that personal luggage can be carried by mules and/or porters on chargeable basis.

All veg meals starting from day 1 dinner to day 6 breakfast.

Guest House accommodation throughout the trek.

Transport to reach Dehradun from hometown.

Personal expenses like tips, personal medicines, phone calls etc.

Any transport support during the trek apart from what is included above.

Accommodation in Dehradun.

Personal luggage with mass not exceeding 12 kg per bag per person can be carried by porters/mules @ Rs 300 per day per bag.

  • Trekking Boots: Waterproof, high ankle with good grip.
  • One Raincoat/Poncho
  • Windproof Jacket
  • Wind & waterproof pant
  • 2-3 t-shirts/shirts – preferably quick dry
  • 2 trousers (avoid shorts, fitting denims, capris)
  • Warm Fleece, Alternative: a woolen sweater
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Waterproof Rucksack or Rucksack with rain-cover
  • Water Bottle
  • Slippers/Sandals/Floaters: Non-slippery
  • Hat or sun protection cap
  • Woolen cap/scarf
  • Head Torch (hand torch would be an alternative)
  • Sunglasses (it should be UV protected.) or use Photo chromatic glasses.
  • Identitiy cards
  • Personal Toiletries (toothbrush,toothpaste etc)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet and dry tissues
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Towel
  • Personal medical kit
  • Sunscreen cream/moisturizer/lip balm
  • Thermal inner wears
  • One pair of woolen socks
  • Waterproof thick gloves
  • Hot water bag if needed
  • Diamox - to prevent AMS
  • Crocin - fever
  • Avomine - (motion sickness)
  • Avil 25mg - (allergies)
  • Combiflam - (Pain killer)
  • Disprin - (headache)
  • Digene - (acidity)
  • Norflox TZ & Lomofen - (diarrhea)
  • ORS
  • Omez/ Rantadine - (antacids)
  • Crepe bandage - 3 to 5 meters
  • Gauze - 1 small roll
  • Band aids - different sizes
  • Cotton - 1 small roll
  • Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  • Moov/Volini spray (aches, & sprains)
  • Knee caps
  • Hot water bag in winter if needed

Yohann 28 August 2019

Nitin was a great guide. Very knowledgeable and full of energy. Thank you for the experience

NEETU KUMARI 23 August 2019

I went on trek with HS group on 17th morning. It's a remarkable experience with them. And want to thank them as they made it possible in a short notice. Actually l wanted to have some me time alone and that too in a new place. From a long time l was awaiting for this Valley of Flowers trek. And with HS group l felt absolutely in comfort and homely feel. All of them were nice and cooperative. It wasn't a big group. We were 7 altogether and we were taken care by Ambika, Rishabh and Jai. And everyone took care of our needs very well. Drivers were also good and properly trained. I want to thank Ambika specially, l was short of cash, there were no ATM in Ghangharia, and no network as well for any card or Paytm transaction. It was difficult for me to trek to Hemkund 2nd day as l was so much tired. She helped me to get a horse ride and paid herself. It was so nice of her. And moreover her nature was also very friendly and compassionate which made me feel comfortable. And Rishab was also very kind and supportive. He never made us feel bored and made sure that we reach safely and have no problems during the trip. Everything was taken care so well. And Jai was also very kind and simple by nature. I remember once l was walking slowly due to muscle cramps in leg and knee problems, he always took care of me as l reach safely and he was always there to support us. On the way itself l found Raghav returning from Ghangharia and the only reason he went there is to bring luggage back , which one of the tourist had forgotten upstairs. Its amazing to see how the team takes care of the tourist and helps them going out of the way. I want to thank HS. I have heard a lot about Bachan Sir and with this experience, the way he trained his team to take care of our need, l definitely want to thank him for making this work for me in such a superb way. Far better than what l expected. It was indeed a beautiful journey and a lifetime experience. l will surely recommend HS to others and also will look forward for any future travel. Cheers to the whole team !!!

Umesh vakharia 21 August 2019

Excellent


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