Valley of Flowers – The Enthralling experience in the Magical Land of Flowers
6 days.. 530 Kms… 14000 Feet… What would you call a place where you will get meadows of colorful flowers, variety of flora, snow capped mountains, a narrow trek of around 20 Kms, endangered and rare species of animals, gushy water of Alaknanda river, small thick forests, caves, lush green trees, green rocky mountains etc. All at one place. A truly heavenly land Valley of Flowers nestled in Uttarakhand, a place blessed with rich flora and fauna. It is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in the Himalayan range.
Being an avid traveler, I like trekking and other adventurous sports so after Leh-Ladakh trip, I decided to go on a trek to Valley of Flowers in August 2015. The valley remains open only for four months – June to September. It was a 7 day trip filled with fun, frolic and adventure. Valley of flowers trek is a medium trek in terms of complexity. We took a night train from Delhi to Haridwar. From there, we booked a cab that took us to Govindghat, last motor-able point over there. It took around 13 hours to reach from Haridwar to Govindghat. We reached Govindghat around 6 o’clock in the evening. And the whole tiring journey complelled us to rest for the rest of the day.
We began trek early in the morning the next day. Trek to Valley of flowers begins from Govindghat after crossing a bridge over Alaknanda river. One can trek on mule as the trek is quite zig-zag with steep slopes. In the midst, Laxman Ganga joins Alaknanda river till 3 kms. You will find many tributaries in the valley like Pushpawati riverbed, laxmanganga etc.
We decided to trek on our own and carried all the required things with us like medicines, caps, glasses, hats, sticks, chips, water bottles,chocolates etc in our backpacks. One can catch a glimpse of snow-clad peaks, lush green meadows of alpine flowers. While on the trek only, one can witness a variety of species of flowers, cascading waterfalls and cold water springs. Shrubs and wild roses grown in abundance over there. The trek becomes steeper and harder from the 4 kms of Ghanghria. Ghanghria is a place where there is no connectivity of phones, no banks, no ATMs. It is a base camp for the trek where you will find many lodges and hotels for accommodation. One cannot stay at Valley of Flowers. We reached Ghangria after tedious trek of around 18 kms around 5 o’clock in the evening and stayed there. This was the trek to reach Ghangria only. Valley of flowers is the next destination which is completely a muddy and a narrow trek amidst the forests.
Next day we started our trek to Valley of Flowers. Its a core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. It lies at an altitude of 3658 mts above the sea level. There is a ticket of Rs. 300 per head to enter in the valley. The valley is full of number of flowers like wild roses, geraniums, golden rod, amplexicaulis, bistorta affinis, bellflower, hogweed, balsam, forget-me-not flowers, snow berry and many more unknown flowers whose view can be caught in your eyes only.
You cannot describe the sheer beauty of that placed in couple of words. The quantity and variety of flowers depends on the season. From mid July to mid August, one can witness most of the species of flowers. So we were very lucky to see many species. Also we saw many rare species of animals like snow-leopards, musk deer, brown bear, blue sheep, black bear, flying squirrel etc. We left from valley around 5 o’clock as there were dense clouds and came back in the evening around 9o’ clock.
Next day we started our trek to Hemkund Sahib, a heavenly abode. This is the short trek as compared to Valley of Flowers where we found many Sikh pilgrims. This is the religious place of Sikhs where there is a lotus shaped Sikh Temple devoted to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, surrounded by 7 snow white mountains and an alluring glacial lake called as Hemkund lake. Reaching to the Hemkund was a tiring journey. We started on mules as we were too much tired from the previous day trek to Valley of Flowers. On the way, we found many new flowers like Brahmkamals, blue poppies, daisy etc. Worshiping God and sitting at temple gives you inner peace. This place remains open till 12 o’clock in the afternoon only as it is on high altitude. Clouds surround this place and it becomes difficult to breathe over there. One can suffer acute mountain sickness over there. So we left at 12 and reached to our hotel in Ghangria around 4 in the evening. And then again we trek back to Govindghat the same day as we have to catch our train to Haridwar the next.
Overall it was a fun trip filled with excitement, exploring new flowers, Sikh culture etc. I cannot list down all my experience in a few words. It ended with a happy note and we packed so many beautiful memories in our bags and came back to Delhi again. And there on missed each and every moment of the Magical Land of Flowers.