A Starter’s Guide to Valley of flowers Trek
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he vivacious hue of flowers and the bouquet of aroma emitted by blooming blossoms can be witnessed in the flummoxing trek through the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand. It is the idyllic trekking expedition for all nature enthusiasts who wish to combine their love for nature and the adventure of trailing amidst the secluded paths that resonate the brilliance of nature. The Valley of Flowers Trek begins from the mystical city of Haridwar with a road journey that will take fanatics to the basecamp of Govindghat. The trek begins here towards the magical township of Ghangaria and Hemkund until you arrive at the destination of dreams in the Valley of Flowers. The dewy land welcomes you with vibrant flora within the picture perfect frame of snow-capped mountains. Witness the paradise on earth with abundant alpine flowers that will mesmerize your vision. Declared as a world heritage site by the UNESCO, the Valley of Flowers is a mystical destination, unless witnessed first-hand.
How To Reach
The pictorial Valley of Flowers expedition begins from Haridwar, yet the actual trek begins from the basecamp of Govindghat. After a relaxing road journey, your arrival in this numinous town marks the starting point of your wonderful vibrant trek. Visible after crossing the beautiful Alaknanda River, it is the last halt for pilgrims heading to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib, and for tourists diving through the Valley of Flowers. Located at an elevation of 1828 meters, Govindghat was unfortunately destroyed by flash floods in 2013, but now remains restored, minus the original charm. With salubrious weather all through the year, this historical town is open from May to October and is closed for access in winters.
Best Season To Visit
The Valley of Flowers Trek takes you from the charmed city of Haridwar through the desolate Govindghat and continues through Ghangaria and Hemkund. The weather in this high altitude region remains wonderful for trekking and visiting through the months from May to September. The last week of May sees melting of snow with limited flowers yet there will be minimal rainfall to make your trek stress-free. June marks a costly month due to high number of pilgrims flooding to the Hemkund Sahib, yet without rainfall the trek calmer to trail. July and August marks the perfect time with flowers blooming meanwhile September marks the end of the season, and the ultimate opportunity to visit the paradise on earth.
About The Locals
With a rich history and a fascinating culture Uttarakhand is largely blessed with temples that are the pride of the locals. Haridwar is a saintly city located at the base of the Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas. It lies in the flow trail of the divine River Ganga, which holds a pious value. Observing the culture of this town, you will discover the traditions and practices, which are closely monitored and ritually followed. The local residents are very welcoming given the fact that thousands of devotees gather in this blessed city to offer their prayers and take a dip in the Ganges. The locals follow their religious sanctity methodically and are very courteous towards visitors. With a hike in tourism since the past decade or so, the people of the region have absorbed diversity and thus are very friendly to tourists. With their compassion and respect for travellers, they will make sure that your expedition is filled with memorable experiences.
This noteworthy trekking tour takes you from the pious city of Haridwar and through the charming roads to Joshimath that sits at 1874 meters above sea level. Your next pass through will be at Govindghat, located at an elevation of 1828 meters, which marks as the last roadhead for the trekking expedition to the Valley of Flowers. The trek from there to the 3029 meters elevation of Ghangaria will offer as the last human habitat centre in this region. Reach the fairyland of the Valley of Flowers that sits high in the Himalayas at a majestic pinnacle of 3600 meters.
Required Entry fees at certain check points, permits for the trek and obligatory forest camping charges in the region for the entire length of the trek will be included as part of the trekking expedition of the organizers. Please carry your identification cards such as driving license or voter ID along with a passport size photo, a medical certificate ensuring your fitness for the trek and a disclaimer certificate ensuring your submission to voluntarily participate in this trek. The trekking destination falls in the Valley of Flowers National Park, and the required entry fees pass must be acquired at the Forest Department checkpoint. Please plan your trip accordingly as camping inside is not permitted and it is only open from 6 AM to 6 PM. 3 PM is the last entry to the park to preserve the demureness of the heritage site.
Medical Advice and Emergency Numbers
A well-equipped first aid kit will be accessible with the guides throughout the duration of the trek. We recommend that you carry your own individual resource of first aid items such as medicines, antiseptics, insect repellents, prescription drugs etc. All precautionary measures shall be taken to ensure your safety yet there lays no harm in having awareness of the general know-how of healthcare. CPR and other common medical knowledge about altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness) should be present. This illness is associated with trekking with symptoms that range from headache, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, lung problems, ataxia etc. Please consult your doctor before your trip to procure prescription drugs for such possible situations and only consume them if required, as they are powerful and have strong effects, especially if taken during your trek.
The Valley of Flowers National Park is situated within the region of District Chamoli in Uttarakhand. Please keep with you at all times the following emergency contact details.
Uttarakhand Helpline: 0135 – 2710334, 0135 – 2710335, 0135 – 2710233
Army Control Number: 0135 – 2716201, 0135 – 2710925, 0135 – 2716201, 0135 – 2710925
Army Medical Emergency numbers :18001805558, 18004190282, 8009833388
Police: 100 Fire: 101 Ambulance: 102
Chamoli Control Room : 01372-251437, 251077, 09411352136
Flood Information:– 01372-251437, 09411352136
Advice and Expectations
This expedition is the perfect experience to enjoy the thrill of the Himalayas yet it holds extreme conditions and is generally considered to have a moderate to hard level of difficulty. Prepare thoroughly with regard to clothing and other protective gears to endure the unpredictable mountain weather, as it may get very cold. Keep your trekking gear safe and always keep essentials such as wind-proof jacket, dry socks and caps at hand. Make sure you choose correct and good quality footwear and fitted boots to avoid frostbites. Wear the right kind of socks to facilitate blood circulation. Carry a sturdy sleeping bag that is durable and comfortable. Carry a good quality backpack that can ensure harsh conditions of wear and tear, especially with a plastic or waterproof lining. Carry your identification proof as you might be expected to furnish it with the officials.
Things To Carry
– Durable good-quality trekking shoes
– Camping shoes for crossing streams
– Thick woollen socks
– Thermal innerwear
– Heavy fleece clothes
– Covers to store used/wet clothing
– Winter jacket and water proof coat
– Trekking pants
– Woollen cap, gloves, etc.
– Sun screen lotion and other toiletries
– Water bottle
– Trekking pole
– First aid kit
– Personal medication
– Swiss knife
Haridwar – One of the major religious landmarks in the Uttarakhand Region, Haridwar is famous among pious pilgrims who offer their prayers and dip in the Holy Ganges. It is one of the seven holiest sites according to Hindu mythology. One can visit the Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple and the Har Ki Pauri when in Haridwar. It is famous for the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh fairs that are held once every 12 and 6 years; with million of devotees flocking the city to obtain forgiveness for their sins and blessing of the gods in this scared city.
Joshimath – A popular hill station that is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Joshimath stands at a majestic elevation of 1890 meters. It is a famous pilgrim site where the rivers of Dhauliganga and Alaknanda meet just below Joshimath. One can witness the magnificent views of the Himalayan Peaks including the Hathi Parvat. Joshimath stands as a gateway to various camping expeditions, trekking trails and pilgrimage sites. Apart from being the famous pre-base site for Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers treks, it also is the entry point for Malari and Niti Valleys, which is analogous to the mountains of Spiti Valley.
Govindghat – Located in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, Govindghat is the acting basecamp for the Valley of Flowers trek and the mystifying Hemkund Sahib pilgrim journey. This small bustling town will be filled with sight of Sikhs, while one can view the magical confluence of the Lakshman Ganga – mingling of the Hemganga and Pushpawati rivers and the Alaknanda River. It is undoubtedly the last vestige of human habitation with various other attractions such as the Badrinath Temple, 40 kms from Govindghat. Mana Village lays near this region with the famous Vasundhara Falls, that has a 400 feet fall and is 5 kms trek from Govindghat.
Ghangaria – Also known as Govind Dham, this small village lies on the banks of the Lakshman Ganga. It falls 6 kms before the famous pilgrim site of Hemkund Sahib. With a lung bursting trek, the scenery offers cascading waterfalls, quaint villages, green curtains of moss, a deluge of vibrant flowers and mysterious Himalayas birds. Small makeshift shops that sell tea and biscuits dot the trails alongside ponies that trundle pilgrims from here to the pious caller sites.
Hemkund – Famous for the devote site of Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji, a Sikh pilgrim locale, Hemkund is one of the holiest places in the Uttarakhand region. It is surrounded by the glacial settings of lakes amidst seven mountain peaks and stands on an elevation of 4329 meters. It derives it name from ‘Hem’ meaning Snow and ‘Kund’ meaning bowl. It is also significantly known as the ‘Lake of Snow’ due to the cold and pristine waters. The paths are trodden with sikh pilgrims who walk along the rocky paths or trundle on ponies to pay their religious offerings at this location. One can witness the majestic dense forests with numerous white waterfalls.
Valley of Flowers – The magical fairyland lies in the Valley of Flowers National Park, which is one of the core zones of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Nestled deep inside the Himalayan region, the Valley of Flowers holds a vast expanse covering 87 sq. kms and stands a the pinnacle at 3658 meters. With a myriad of alpine flowers, the virgin beauty of these valleys has forever lured nature lover, botanists and adventure buffs. One can experience the soft dew on the vivid flora with the musings of chirping birds amidst the dreamy air of the Himalayas. One can witness Himalayan maple, birch, fir tress trotting the surrounding regions with arrays of poppies, orchids, daisies, marigold, anemones and primulas decorating the natural aura, apart from the 300 different types of endemic alpine flowers.
Day 1: Drive from Haridwar to Joshimath (1,874 m/253 kms)
Day 2: Drive from Joshimath to Govindghat (1,828 m/22 kms) and trek to Ghangaria (3,049 m /14 kms Trek)
Day 3: Trek from Ghangaria to Hemkund (7 kms) and back to Ghangaria
Day 4: Trek from Ghangaria to the Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangaria
Day 5: Trek from Ghangaia to Govindghat (14 kms) and drive to Joshimath via Badrinath
Day 6: Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar
Tips And Tricks
– Hydrate two days before your trek – you must triple your water intake to avoid dehydration.
– Choose a shoe that is half a number larger than your normal size. It may be uncomfortable if one chooses a shoe size, which is one number smaller than your actual size. You may end up with sore fingers and blisters at the end of the trek. To avoid blisters, you can wear double layers of socks – a thin nylon one first followed by a thick Turkish sock.
– In case you carry your camera or a mobile phone, make sure you carry enough supply of plastic waterproof bags to keep them safe.
– Once you start trekking with the entire group, try and get your natural rhythm of walking. Never attempt to walk too fast or too slow as this can lead to premature fatigue.
– It is advisable to carry a windcheater but it is not advisable to wear it while trekking. During trekking, our body produces solid heat and to regulate that, the heated muscles of our body sweat profusely. In a humid atmosphere with a hot and perspiring situation, we aggravate it by wearing windcheaters. All in all, it leads to a suffocated feeling. Our advice is to carry a windcheater in your sack and wear it only when you take a long halt.