Category: Easy-Moderate Adventure/ Monsoon Trek
Valley of flowers sprawls in the lofty Himalayas of the Garhwal region. It is a UNESCO heritage site and believed to have about 500 species flowering plants making it a dream destination for nature lovers, botanists and photographers. It is also home to some of the rare and endangered animal species like Asiatic black deer, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear etc. Situated in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand this fairyland is bounded by magnificent mountains and glittering glaciers. It is covered with snow for most of the year and is open to the public only during the months of monsoon (between June and September) every year. It is the most scenic trek in Uttarakhand and considered as one of the best monsoon treks in India.
The Valley of flowers was accidently discovered in 1931, by mountaineers Frank S Smythe, Eric Shipton and RL Holdsworth, when they lost their way while returning after an expedition to Mount Kamet.
Best part of this trek is its combination with Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara which is a revered pilgrimage. The gurudwara is on the shore of the pristine glacial Hemkund lake also known as the Lokpallake. The rock strewn shores of the lake are covered with moss and flowers in bloom. It is surrounded by seven mountain peaks. Pilgrims visit here to pay their homage and be blessed and nature lovers come here to view the beauty of nature. The exotic and sacred Himalayan flower Brahma Kamal, that grows only at a height of 11000 ft. to 15000 ft, can be seen near the gurudwara and around the lake. The flower is native to just a few locations in the world including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and northern Burma. It blooms after sunset probably only for one night in the entire year, somewhere between July and September.
Being monsoon trek, valley of flowers is a moderately difficult trek, it is mostly an uphill trek and you need to start preparing yourself and get comfortable into your trekking shoes at least a month before the trek. This trek is recommended to people of all ages with good fitness level.
If possible try to reach Rishikesh a day before the trip starts. That gives the trek leader time to brief you about the trek. That also gives you enough time to relax and to prepare for the trek. Enjoy the overnight stay in our camps and wake up to the sounds of barking dear and chirping of birds next morning.
Meet the team at 6:00 am and we start our journey to GovindGhat which is the starting point for this trek. We halt on the way for breakfast and lunch. This is a longand scenic drive through enchanting landscapes. Almost the entire drive is along the rivers Ganga and Alaknanda as you pass through some of the major confluences of the tributaries of Ganga at Devprayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi which together flow as the holy Ganga from here), Rudraprayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini) and Karnprayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Pinder). We would reach Govind Ghat via Joshimath by evening. Overnight stay in hotel at Govind Ghat.
We start our trek to Ghangaria early morning after breakfast. We have an option to drive up to Poolna, which is 4km from GovindGhat, and then we trek further up to Ghangaria on a made made trail. It is 9km route with gradual ascent through lush green jungle along small streams and waterfalls.There will be snack shops en-route to stop by and grab a bite. After about 5 km you reach Bhyundar village from where you get a clear view of HathiParvat. Keep your umbrella and rain jacket handy as it can rain any time. After a long day we reach Ghangaria and retire for the day. Overnight stay at a hotel/guest- house in Ghangaria.
This is the day we are here for. We start our trek early morning so that we have a good amount of time in hand to explore The Valley of flowers. It is a beautiful trek along Pushpavati river. We start with a gradual walk till we reach a bridge, after that it’s a steep climb followed by a flat walk to the valley where you witness one of the most alluring places of the world. Snowcapped mountains peaking from behind the curtains of thick white clouds, plunging waterfalls from the sky and meadows carpeted with endemic alpine bloom-the valley is a thousand times wondrous than one can imagine. Some of the native flowers sighted in July and August are Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot and Dog Flower. Most flowers bloom around the Pushpavati river bed which is about 4km walk inside the valley. We can have our packed lunch here. Overnight stay is not allowed in the valley hence we plan our return back to reach Ghangaria before the nightfall. Rest well tonight and re-energise yourself for the trek next day.
Start early for the trek to Hemkund Sahib, one of the most revered of all Sikh shrines and the world’s highest gurudwara. A steep hike of about 4 hrs and then a descent of about 2 hrs takes us to the gurdwara and the Hemkund lake. Hemkund literally means the lake of snow and the water of this lake is as cold as snow. There is also a Lakshman temple next to the lake which people like to vsit. Take a dip in the lake if you would wish to. You would find several flowers of Brahma Kamal around the lake. This flower blooms only in the monsoons and has several medicinal properties. Kindly do not try to pluck or cut these flowers as there is heavy fine levied if found in possession of it. We will have langar at the gurudwara and return back to Ghangaria for the night stay.
We start early morning from Ghangria and trek back to Govind Ghat on the same route which will now be an easy descent. We will reach Govind Ghat by noon and check in to the hotel. Badrinath temple is at an hour’s drive from Govind Ghat and if you wish to visit there you can hire a cab after lunch and return by late evening. Overnight stay at Govind Ghat.
We start early morning from Govind Ghat and reach Rishikesh by evening. The drive will take around 10 hours from Govind Ghat to reach Rishikesh. Stay at hotel/ camp in Rishikesh