Valley of Flowers Trek and Hemkund Sahib Trek
Region: Chamoli Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Duration: 5 Nights and 6 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Max altitude: 3700 meters
Approx trekking: 22kms
The Valley of Flowers is a high-altitude Himalayan valley which was declared as a national park in 1982 and is also a World Heritage Site listed in UNESCO, lies at an altitude of 3200m. to 3700m. The Valley of Flowers is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand which occupies a strategic position in this region. The valley is 20 km northwest of Nanda Devi National Park across the wide valley of the Bhyundar Ganga. This national park is surrounded by majestic snow-clad mountains that stand in bold relief against the skyline are the peaks of Gauri Parbat (6590 m), Rataban peak (6126 m), Sapatshring (5038 m) and Neelgiri Parbat (6479 m).
Valley of flower divided along its length by a small river called the Pushpawati River originates from Tipra glacier and several tiny potable streams and waterfalls rush down from the glacial deposits to merge with it. It joins the Lakshman Ganga at Ghangaria. Ghangaria is the base camp for the Valley of Flowers trek and Hemkund Sahib. The valley is spread over 87.50 square kms and lies along the Pushpavati River. On the left bank of Pushpavati river, are several chunks of flat land. One of them is called Nag Tal, literally the place of the venomous plants. It is observed that this area is abundant with poisonous flowers. However, since the area of Nag tal is not accessible due to lack of proper bridge across Pushpawati, no one can go there for visit. The main portion of the valley is stretched in the East – west direction along the river Pushpawati. Here the beautiful flowers studded in landscape, seem like a huge canvas painted by nature. The flora and fauna of the valley is rich and diverse ranging of alpine flowers and Himalayan black bear, Snow leopard, Musk deer etc.
In 1931, British mountaineer Frank S. Smythe along with Eric Shipton and R. L. Holdsworth lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt. Kamet and happened to enter the valley, which was full of flowers. They were attracted to the beauty of the area and named it the “Valley of Flowers.” As they strolled down they could see the first plant was blue Primula in huge numbers and after that Androsace, Potentillas, Geraniums etc. Frank S. Smythe later authored a book by the same name.
Hemkund Sahib (the highest Gurdwara in world) 4329m.
The shrine at Hemkund Sahib stands apart from all other Sikh shrines. It is a popular pilgrimage shrine nestled by seven peaks called “Sapt Shring” and a glacial lake right in front. The famous Laxman (Younger brother of lord Rama) Temple is also built here. Both places of worship attract reverence from people of all faith. The local name of this place is “Lokpal” literally meaning ‘The almighty that cares people of the world’.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
The Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek, done between early June and early October. You can visit any time during the summer, but the best time to visit are the months of July, August & up to mid September when monsoon showers turn the valley into a massive meadow of gradually blooming flowers. In June the valley is like a green carpet and the blue crystal clear sky is also like blue roof, in monsoon many colorful flowers blooms on this green carpet with moving mist and in September autumn comes and brush brown color on the valley. After October the winter comes and till April the valley is a blanket of white snow.
WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF FITNESS REQUIRED?
The level of difficulty of Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib ranges from easy to moderate. Though it does not require prior high altitude trekking experience the level of fitness must be good and the trekker must take on jogging and vigorous walking to be prepared for the trek.
5 Nights and 6 Days
WHAT ARE THE DESTINATIONS COVERED DURING THE TREK?
Haridwar – Rishikesh – Joshimath – Govindghat – Ghangaria – Valley of Flowers – Hemkund Sahib
WHAT IS THE TREK ITINERARY?
Day 1: Drive from Haridwar to Govindghat (8 to 9 hours) followed by overnight hotel stay
Day 2: Trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria – 14 kms (5 to 6 hours) followed by overnight hotel stay
Day 3: Trek from Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers and back – 10 kms (6 to 7 hours) followed by overnight hotel stay at Ghangaria
Day 4: Trek from Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib and back – 12 kms (6 to 7 hours) followed by overnight hotel stay at Ghangaria
Day 5: Early morning trek to Govindghat and Badrinath darshan (optional) followed by overnight hotel stay at Govindghat
Day 6: Drive back to Haridwar
A journey of 8 to 9 hours starts from Haridwar/Rishikesh/Dehradun via Rishikesh through the Panchprayags (Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karanprayag, Nandprayag & Vishnuprayag) to Govindghat followed by overnight hotel stay. Govindghat is a small town located at the confluence of Laxman Ganga & Alaknanda. It is the hub for people trekking to the Valley of Flowers and also for the Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath pilgrims. The Gurudwara of Sikkhism is on the right bank of Alaknanda river in Govindghat. All the guests will check in the guest house where they will enjoy hot delicious dinner.
As Govindghat is the last major town before the trek starts, it is important that all trekking equipments and other essentials are procured before starting the trek to Valley of Flower and Hemkund Sahib.
After spending a night in Govindghat, the trekkers will enjoy a hot breakfast in the vicinity of the Himalayas before starting the trek to Ghangariya (3048 m). After a drive of 4 kms the trekkers will be reach to the beautiful village Pulna, which is at an altitude of 2040 m. 5 kms from Pulna is a village named Bhyundar (2429 m), where the habitants of Pulna, migrate to during the six months of summer. The snow covered Haathi Peak can be seen from this village and the trekkers can also trek to Kagbhusandi in another direction and further ascend for Ghangariya. Before 1 km from Ghangariya we will walk through the beautiful Rhododendron forest and the sloppy meadow named as Kanjila Khark.
After reaching Ghangariya the trekkers will be treated with a hot dinner followed by an overnight stay in hotel.
After an early morning hot breakfast the much awaited trek to the majestic Valley of Flowers will start. After crossing Ghangariya and the small bridge over Laxman Ganga the trail starts in the bank of Pushpawati River. Here we move through a gradual zigzag ascend with the pine forest and the chirping of Himalayan birds. After trekking for 3 kms we will be greeted by the the panoramic and enchanting view of the Valley of flowers and behind the valley, the mighty Rataban peak stands erect like a crown. The remaining trail of 1 km is dominantly rich in birch. After entering the Valley of Flowers, the trekkers will be spell bound by the glory of the blooms expanding throughout the valley.
We head back to Ghangariya totally immersed in the beauty of the valley, followed by hot dinner and an overnight hotel stay.
After an early morning breakfast we will start our trek to Hemkund Sahib, the highest Gurudwara in Sikhism. We will also offer our prayers in the Lokpal Laxman Mandir. On the way the trekker will also notice the blooms of Blue Poppy (Meconopsis aculeata) & Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata).
We will head back to Ghangariya followed by hot dinner and an overnight hotel stay.
After an early morning breakfast we will start the trek to Govindghat. After reaching Govindghat we will drive to Badrinath pilgrimage and after the darshan we will head back to Govindghat.
The night will end in the hotel where the trekkers will be treated with a hot delicious dinner.
Early morning drive back to the destination.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air: The nearest Airport is Jolly Grant Airport which is located around 27 kms from the Dehra Dun city has a daily flight from Delhi to Dehra Dun.
By Train: Dehra Dun railway station, lies in the heart of the city and Haridwar railway station, are well connected by major Indian cities.
By Road: Uttarakhand Transport Corporation and many private transport services provide road connectivity from Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Rishikesh to Govindghat. and also regular bus services are from Delhi to Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Rishikesh from ISBT Kashmere Gate, Delhi.
TREK COST – Mail or Contact us.
If you want conveyance facilities from Rishikesh/Haridwar/Dehradun to Rishikesh/Haridwar/Dehradun you can contact us by e-mail. The cost is dependent on number of people as well.
Included in the cost:
- Accommodation (5 nights hotel accommodation on sharing basis)
- Meals while on trek (Vegetarian food only) which includes breakfast, packed lunch & dinner
- Qualified & experienced guide
- First aid medical kit
Not included in the cost:
- Transport from Haridwar to Govindghat and back to Haridwar
- Meals during drive from Haridwar to Govindghat and back to Haridwar
- Unscheduled stay due to road blocks etc.
- Mineral water during trek
WHAT ARE THE GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS?
1. Rucksack with a rain cover (50 to 60 liters)
2. Day Sack with rain cover (30 to 40 liters)
A sturdy rucksack and day sack with a water/rain cover is recommended as during the monsoon the rain showers will greet the trekker as s(he) walks into the majestic valley
3. Trekking shoes
A good pair if trekking shoes with a quality bottom is a must for doing this trek. Waterproof shoes are recommended. Avoid shoes made of foam and cloth.
4. Thermal wear (Upper and Lower)
Temperatures dip specially in night and morning even in June. Thus, make sure you keep thermal wear.
5. Cotton sock (2 pairs)
6. Woolen socks (2 pairs)
7. Undergarments (2 pairs)
8. Gloves (1 pair)
10. Trek Pants
11. Woolen cap
12. Sun cap
13. Heavy jacket
15. Water bottle
17. Sunscreen lotion
18. Toiletries: Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste, Toilet Soap, Tissue papers, etc.
19. Head lamp or torch with extra batteries
20. Personal first aid kit