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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

VALLEY OF FLOWERS TREK

Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand. Valley of flowers is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard,  musk deer,  brown bear, red fox, and blue sheep.  Himalayan monal pheasant along with other high altitude birds found in the park. At 3658 meters above sea level, the gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east.   The park stretches over  87.50 km2 and it is about 8 km long and 2 km wide. Both parks are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) which is further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 km2).  This Reserve is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004.





This virtual paradise on earth has been unknown to the outside world till the great Mountaineer Frank S Smith discovered it in the year 1931.

Best Season / Best time to visit:August and September are eye catching months with blooming flowers.
December to May is snow bound and road blocks prevent the tourist from visiting the outdoors. Valley of flowers has a cool but pleasant climate all through the year. Summers (June to October) have a cool weather with maximum temperature reaches to nearly 17 °C and is a good season for viewing the panoramic beauty. Winters (November to May) are snow covered and difficult to visit the outdoor attractions. Minimum temperature can go well down with average minimum about 7 °C.

Best Season to visit Valley of Flowers is between July to October.July to October is pleasant and ideal for the visit of the national park and is good for spotting endangered animals.

Govindghat is situated on the banks of River Alakananda at an elevation of 1,828 mts. It is the starting point to trek to Valley of Flowers. Govindghat is well connected by motorable rods. The trek from Govindghat to Ghangharia is steep and covers 1kms. The remaining 4 kms is easy to complete.
 The nearest airport is in Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 295 kilometers (183 miles) away, and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, 276 kilometers (171 miles) away. From Rishikesh/Haridwar/Dehradun buses and cabs are available for Govindghat.

Now a new motorable bridge is constructed in Govindghat which connects 4kms ahead towards Valley of Flowers. Now tourists hve to trek 10 kms to reach Ghangharia.

The Trek to Valley of Flower

Trek towards the valley begins at Govindghat, after crossing the Alakananda river crossing by a hanging bridge. The zig zag goat track straightens through an ascending valley of terraced fields and vegetation. After 3 kms Laxman Ganga joins Alakananda further is Pulna village. Laxman Ganga becomes swifter and between the green, rocky mountains you can catch a glimpse of Snow peaks.

The 7 kms from Pulna to Bhyundar village is full of nature's scenic splendours including cascading waterfalls and cold water springs. Rhododendrons colour the area with pink and dark red along with wild roses. Small wayside tea stalls run all across the path and enthuasiastic tourist guides can be engaged at Bhyundar village. After resting sometime trek right bank of Laxman Ganga continues till a log bridge is reached. Crossing over to left bank now, the trail becomes steeper and harder and 2 kms. from here, you will reach Ghangharia, the base camp of treks to Valley Of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.



When we started out from Ghangria, if we had taken the right side path, it would lead us to a difficult and steep climb which goes on for 5 km. And it takes one to an altitude of 4,329 metres! Hemkund is a beautiful lake at this altitude, surrounded by snow peaks. There is a gurdwara, Hemkund Sahib, and a Lakshman temple on the banks of this lake. At an altitude of 4,329 metres, these are the highest places of worship in India. Hemkund literally means 'lake of ice' - and true to its name, for eight months of the year this lake is frozen and inaccessible. When the weather warms up, the ice and snow melt, and meadows of ferns and moss and wildflowers sprout on its banks. Then, in their thousands, Sikhs climb the steep stone path to the lake and bathe in its chilled waters. They come in the belief that Guru Govind Singh meditated here in a previous birth. For the non-religious, the place holds its charm with its aquamarine lake surrounded by beautiful peaks. And this is the right altitude for many rare flowers. The famed Brahmakamal grows in abundance amidst the rocks on the banks of the lake.


Places to stay
Rishikesh1. Hotel M.J. Comfort (9897144495, 9758610841): Bang next to the bus stand. brand new, excellent rooms. Double-room (AC),  (Non-AC). They don't serve food, only tea. Excellent value for money.2. Akash Ganga (2430870, 2430451, 5540513): Walking distance from bus stand,  double-room. Old big rooms, not very good but okay for one night. Joshimath1. GMVN guesthouse: In the upper bazar.  double-rooms. Serve good food. Good value for money. Many other places very close-by. Cheaper ones also available. Ghangria1. GMVN guesthouse: Double-rooms - deluxe, hut,  economy rooms, dormitory is the best place to stay. Will be fully booked in the peak season.

Itinerary

Day 01: Rishikesh-Joshimath (250 Kms)
After breakfast leave for Joshimath. The earlier you leave, the better it is. Lunch enroute in Rudraprayag. Overnight stay at Joshimath.
Joshimath is the winter home of Sri Badrinathji. It is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the 'maths' established by Adi guru Shankaracharya.


Day 02 : Joshimath-Govindghat-Ghangria (25 Kms drive + 14 kms trek)
After an early breakfast, leave for Govindghat - eat well before leaving - you will need all the energy you can muster. Thereafter 14 km trek to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria.
Govindghat is the confluence of Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga Rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Govind Singh.
Ghangria is the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund, where lodging and boarding facilities are available. Rivers Pushpawati and Hem Ganga meet here to form Lakshman Ganga.

Day 03: Ghangria - Valley of flowers - Ghangria (7+ km trek)
After breakfast, leave for Valley of flowers with packed lunch. Return back to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria
High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal hills of Uttaranchal lies an enchanted valley. Here flowerful pastures with clear running streams are set against silver birches and shining snow peaks - a must see for all nature lovers.

Day 04 : Ghangria-Hemkund (5 Kms steep climb)
After breakfast, leave for Hemkund with packed lunch. Return back to Ghangria. Overnight stay at Ghangria
Hemkund is a beautiful lake at a breathtaking altitude of 4,300 m, and has a gurdwara, Hemkund Sahib, which a holy place for the sikhs.

Day 05 : Ghangria-Govindghat-Joshimath (14 km downhill trek + 1 hr drive)
Start after breakfast and trek to Govindghat. Lunch on the way. From Govindghat, take a shared Sumo to Joshimath. Overnight stay at Joshimath.

Day 06: Joshimath - Rishikesh (250 kms) 
Early morning leave for Rishikesh by shared Sumo. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.