Hello everyone, welcome to Book of Journey. Today I am going to give you a complete guide for the valley of flowers trek along with the story of my journey. Well, this starts on the 5th August 2017 with my friend Ranjan. But first of all, I would like to give you a quick guide for the trek.
How To Reach Valley Of Flowers?
The nearest place from the valley, which is connected to the road is Govindghat. There is two route of reaching Govindghat.
Route 1 (317 Km): Rishikesh → Rudraprayag → Karnprayag → Joshimath → Govindghat
Route 2 (347 Km): Haldwani → Ranikhet → Karnprayag → Joshimath → Govindghat
If you are planning on reaching the Govindghat without any stoppage, try to reach Rishikesh or Haldwani before 10 am. If not, then you have to stay for an overnight somewhere in Karnaprayag or Joshimath. Don’t travel in the night. The road is very narrow and prone to landslides, so anything can happen in the night.
Once you reach the Govindghat, I would suggest staying for an overnight and start your next day with the relaxed mind. You can stay in Gurudwara for free and have langer food. Or you can take a hotel, price ranges from 300 INR up to your budget.
On the next day, you have to reach Ghangaria which is 13 Km from Govindghat. You have four options for reaching Ghangaria.
- Taxi up to Pulna village which is 3 Km and treks the rest.
- Take a horse.
- Hire a porter.
- Take helicopter.
If you are an average walker then you can reach Ghangaria within 6 hrs. When you reach Ghangaria, you have to take the hotel. Hotels’ price ranges from 200 INR up to your budget. You can even stay at camp, 300 m before Ghangaria.
Next morning get a pass from the entrance which is about 600 meter from Ghangaria. Entry starts at 07:00 am and you must be back by 05:00 pm. If you are an Indian the entrance fee is 150 INR/person. But if you are foreigners then 600 INR/person.
Coming To My Journey
Well, everything started in a hurry. I was supposed to do my backpack, ready 5 test paper for my student and leave for Kashmiri Gate ISBT within an hour. I was so puzzled in between the bunch of works that I was literally going mad. Anyhow, I made 2 paper and asked Ranjan to prepare the paper, till I get a shower and pack my stuff. By the time I was ready, he finished one question paper. Suddenly I realized, I need an extra memory card as I will be shooting lot of images and video throughout my journey. So I called my friend Amit and ask him to lend his one card. He came with memory card and an adapter. I had hardly 10 minutes and still 2 test paper to be ready. Thanks to Amit who agreed on making the test paper.
We decided to take Airport Express Way so that we can reach Kashmiri gate on time. When we reached there, I was surprised to see the queue. I realized there is Raksha Bandhan festival after two days. It took us almost half an hour to pass the security check. Anyhow, we managed to get two seats for us but it was in the last seat.
The bus starts to drive by 10:00 pm and managed to reach Rishikesh by 04:30 am 6th Aug. It was all dark, raining a bit and very few shops open. We had an online booking for the bus up to Govindghat by 05:00 am. But people said its been 3 days that no government’s bus been on that route due to landslides. We stuck, neither of us had any idea
what to do? We decided to take the private bus up to Karnapryag and further decide after been there.
Rishikesh To Karnapryag On The Backseat
I was in the back seat of the cranky bus, nails everywhere, very little space for the knee to adjust. I had not slept for last 26 hours. Oh, God! it was torture. The intensity of jerk on the last seat—no word to explain. I was literally touching the hood of the bus, and tilting right and left every after 30 seconds. I was in the middle and two people on my either side. They were squeezing me so hard on the turning that I almost shit my pants. This time Ranjan had better seat as compared to mine. So he managed to take a couple of nap on the way.
After 7 hours of pain, we finally reached Karnapryag. After consulting with a policeman and few taxi driver we take a bus for Chamoli. I don’t know whether we had bad luck or what, but it was not our day. Suddenly our driver starts the race with another bus. The road was so high up on the mountain that if our bus had accidentally fallen down, it would have taken more than a minute to hit the ground. Thank God we made to Chamoli alive, and luckily we get a bus going toward Govindghat.
Finally, we reached the Govindghat by 05:00 pm. It is a cluster of house and hotels along with Gurudwara residing in the bank of Alaknanda river. We were so tired with the journey that we went straight to the hotel. After the shower, we had some food and slept like a hibernating bear.
Govindghat To Ghangaria, Awesome Trek
We woke up like 07:00 in the morning, got fresh. I think we had Maggie on the breakfast and check out the room after tucking our bag. We decided to take a taxi up to Pulna village and start our trek from there. We reached the village within half an hour. As soon as we reach there, rain starts. We put rain-cover on the bag and raincoat on ourselves.
Everywhere greenery, a river on the side, a giant mountain with a beautiful waterfall and smell of horse shit and fart on the way. Everywhere natural beauty and natural experience what a combination. So I took out my camera along with the tripod and captured some scenery. My camera setup was a quite attention getter. Many people asked me whether I am a professional photographer.
I met lots of people with an interesting personality like Sonal, Swati, Vijay, Raju and so many others. Sonal, ICICI bank employee who manages to have a 3-4 trip in a year. She had done Ladakh, Meghalaya, and much more trip. Swati, 47-year-old computer teacher in an engineering college, her stamina is much more than many of my friends. I am not offending you my friends but it is true.
Trek got quite tough in the last 4 Km as the path was quite steep. Ranjan had very tough time in the last 3 Km. It was his first Himalayan trek and he had a giant bag. After a long struggle, finally, we reached Ghangaria. We were carrying the tent and hoping to get someplace for camping. I talked with forest department officer and he agreed on letting us camp. But we were too tired to set up camp and luckily we found a nice cheap hotel, so we took the hotel.
Ghangaria Village To Valley Of Flowers
It is a small village with few shops, restaurants, hotels. Valley of flowers opens for only 4 months (June to September) as the area gets completely covered with snow.
We decided to carry only necessary stuff with us while trekking to the valley. We packed aloo parantha, few water bottles and some 5-star chocolate for instant energy supply. It was around 07:30 am, by the time we entered the valley. More we go deep in the valley, more we see variation in the flowers. It was a whole new experience for us, flowers everywhere, beautiful mountains playing hide and seek in the cloud.
Around 02:00 pm, we reached the river bed, a picnic spot about 8 Km from the entry gate. We wanted to trek up to Glacier base but it starts raining. Guide suggest not to go as the weather was not good and few people get flooded with the rainwater a few days ago.
I was feeling hungry, so we ate the aloo parantha. When I looked at the chocolate, it was melting due to my body temperature. So I put the chocolate into the river for 10 minutes and wallah! It was frozen again. We were around 10,500 feet above sea level, so the temperature of the water was around 5° C to 8° C. Intensity of rain starts increasing so we decided to go back to the hotel.
Here I have few tips or you can say a suggestion to those, who are planning to visit Valley of Flowers.
- Carry only those clothes which can dry easily.
- If you have old shoes, do not wear without repair.
- Withdraw required cash before Joshimath, there is hardly any ATM after that.
- Avoid carrying unnecessary weight.
- You can also watch the short video made by me.