Valley of Flowers and enchantment- “The monsoon trek”

Valley of flowers is not just a trek, it is a walk amongst the floating clouds; a surreal experience of a slice of heaven. With the valley blooming with a plethora of colours on one side, the snow clad mountains on the other and the alluring river dividing them, the scenery is picture perfect.

River dividing the valley of flowers!
The river flowing through the valley !

Add to that, the trek to Hemkund Sahib, the calm and secluded; highest gurudwara in the world and the scenic fresh water lake at 14,200ft., this is a must do trek for everybody.

Hemkund Sahib- the raw traveller!
Hemkund Sahib and the fresh water lake at 14,200 ft.

TO GOBINDGHAT

The journey starts from Gobindghat, which is a 15-16 hour drive from Delhi. I took a bus to Haridwar from Delhi at 10.30 pm and reached by 04.30 am. Within 15 minutes, I was already on the bus to Badrinath which would drop me at Gobindghat.

(If you want to trek in the higher altitude in India, there is no other way but to travel by bus. No flights or trains ply. Moreover, it is unlikely to find any A.C bus or taxi. One has to be patient during the journey. Take your pills if you have got any motion sickness. The weather most likely will be cool and between short naps, food and pee breaks you will not know when you have made it.)

Bus to Gobindghat !
Kudos to the drivers in the hills who drive through such treacherous roads!

I reached Gobindghat at around 4 in the evening. There are only a handful of hotels here but there would be no problem finding a room unless it is an extended weekend. The prices are low and the food is more than decent considering the altitude.

Checked in, refreshed, took some rest and went for a walk in the town. It was gradually swarming up with trekking groups and pilgrims.  The evening was spent talking to the locals and enjoying the tea and food in the wonderful weather with rain drops falling seamlessly and endlessly till next morning.
Also read: The perfect snow trek for beginners

TO GHANGARIA

The trek to Ghangaria from Gobinghat is 13 km but you can take a shared cab to Poolna which decreases the distance to 9 km. The trail is alongside the river and well defined. Dhabas can be found at regular intervals.

Sikhs pilgrims can be seen on the way making their holy journey to Hemkund Sahib.  A lot of them I met were either from Jallandhar or Amritsar. To my surprise, I also found a lot of trekking groups from Mumbai.

Started early in the morning and reached Ghangaria by noon. There were a lot of hotels/lodges and I rented a room for 3 days for my upcoming treks to both the valley and the gurudwara.

 

  • Resting at a tea shop - Bagpacking to Ghangaria.

VALLEY OF FLOWERS

The way to the valley opens at 7am and the last visitor is allowed till noon. We had to wait till 08.30am due to heavy rainfall which is an alarm for any landslide on the trail. The route though not tough is but slippery and treacherous.

The trek is picturesque and you get a glimpse of the valley and the glorious mountains. It is beautiful with waterfalls every few hundred metres and flowers blooming on both sides of the trail.

Once you reach the valley(about 3.5 km from Ghangaria), you will be in awe of what you see. Words fall short in praise of the wonder this place has to offer. Flooded with flowers – pink, green, white and even black, this place is a leaf out of the heavenly tree. Small streams flow throughout the valley, which stretches a further 7-8 kms.

Since it is a world heritage site, there are no food stalls. Lunch has to be packed and carried and the journey back also has to be made on the same day. 

  • The white.

HEMKUND SAHIB

After returning back from the valley, I got a leg massage done in the evening and boy, it was worth it. I knew the trek to Hemkund(6-7 km steep uphill) was never going to be easy, also considering that I had been trekking the past two days.

I started early again the next day. Although I got tired within the 1st km, the enthusiasm of the mini Punjab that was here, drove me. Sikhs mostly elderly and between 40-60 and even in their 70’s were walking in their shoes and even slippers with bags and a stick in their hand. No fancy branded shoes or trekking gears. Nothing.

Faith really is something. May be everything.

And then I met people of a third kind. 

Young, loud, cheerful and energetic people shouting slogans and speeding their way on the not so easy trail but seated comfortably on their ponies with their bags tied to the burden bearer. You guys for sure will conquer the world someday(on the ponies). 

In about 4 hours, I made it to the gurudwara. Warmed up with tea and khichdi at gurudwara langar. Though i do not like the idea of having khichdi until my teeth part from me one day, I was grateful enough to have whatever was on offer here. It is worth commending the efforts that goes to make it possible at such a height.

The serene lake stood between the gurudwara and the mountains. It reflects the grand mountains and is a sight to behold.

  • Hemkund Sahib- the highest gurudwara in the world!

Also read : Trekking solo to Chandrashila summit

To note:

  1. It remains open for 4 months i.e June-September but i would advise to visit it in the months of July and August. That is when you would get to see most of the flowers.
  2. Try NOT to visit the place on the Independence day extended weekend, both for the crowd and the surge pricing of rooms.  
  3. Leave early for the valley and gurudwara to spend maximum time there and since you have to make your way back the same day before nightfall.
  4. Raincoat/Poncho is a must since this is a monsoon trek. If not raining heavily, it would be drizzling most of the time.
  5. Trek cautiously since the wet and rocky path becomes treacherous in the monsoon weather.
  6. Get adequate rain care/protection for your rucksack and camera.
  7. Get a leg massage done before(or after if you may) you make your trek to Hemkund Sahib. 

Explore more Treks near Delhi.

Travel safe. TRAVEL RAW !

 

29 Replies to “Valley of Flowers and enchantment- “The monsoon trek””

  1. Debabrata Mukherjee says: Reply

    Nice writing and beautiful pictures 😊

    1. Thank you Debabrata. Would love to write up on your adventures someday.

  2. Kudos, keep it up my Son, you have it written it very nicely. The selection of words is also improving. Well done.

    1. Thank you Papa!

  3. This seems like a beautiful journey to take.. nice pictures 👌🏻
    And helpful guidelines.

    1. Yes Khush. The place is more beautiful than the pictures and is a must visit.

  4. Travelling is nothing but a deep meditation & no words can explain it’s worth when it comes to a solo trip to the lap of Himalays. Keep it up my friend. Hope to see you in more pics next time.

    1. Yes Rahul. You are right. And yes, I will post more pictures of myself next time. 🙂

  5. Wow Raunak!
    Your details for this trek are complete & pictures are beautiful. After reading this one, I am also planning to do this one as a small training for the upcoming EBC.

    1. Thank you Hanish bhai. When are you planning EBC ?

  6. Nicely compiled & at the same time,some very useful info also. Thanks a lot. People like you inspires a lot others.

    1. Thank you. Yes that is the objective. Keep travelling !

  7. Is it preferable to go by bike to the gobindghat from delhi?

    1. If you are ready for adventure, yes buddy. Definitely. Just stay aware of the treacherous roads at higher altitudes and ride safe. 🙂

  8. Hey! Very interesting pictures 🙂 Seems like a super trip you had to VOF and Hemkund Sahib.
    I am planning to visit Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib in mid June. Do you think this place is safe for a solo woman traveler? Also do they have markings/ signs/ trails inside Valley of Flowers – can you share some more info on the route inside the valley?
    Will really appreciate the help 🙂 Thanks

    1. Hi Umangee!
      Yes indeed it was one of my best treks and the most beautiful place i have ever been to.
      Yes it is absolutely safe for a solo woman traveller and i would urge you to take this amazing trek. 🙂
      There is only 1 route to VoF from Ghangria. No there are no signs as such but the trail is well defined. Inside the Valley though you can trek as long and deep (not too many routes though)as you want but remember that you have to make the same journey back too. I trekked not much beyond Joan Margaret’s tomb.

  9. Hey! Thanks so much for the prompt reply. One last question – Does the VOF also have a defined trail that one can follow once you cross the entry point?

    1. Yes it does. But the main trail will diverge into smaller trails.

  10. Super! Thanks a lot!

  11. any tour operatores must or not any problem for singale couple

    1. No not at all. You guys are good to go on your own. 🙂
      This trek doesn’t need any tour operator.

  12. Nikhil Kumar Agrawal says: Reply

    We are planning to go in group from bangalore. Can you tell little about the budget part as we are thinking not to go by any travel planner ?

    1. Yes, this trek can be done without any agency.
      Budget totally depends on you guys. A delhi to delhi trip shouldn’t cost more than 7-8k per person even if you guys are not holding back on spending good on food and stay. It cost me less than that.That was in 2017 🙂

  13. Ravi ranjan says: Reply

    Wow amazing.your details for the trek are really helpful.thanks sir!

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      Thank you Ravi. 🙂
      That it is helping you is enough motivation for me !

  14. Dr priti jain says: Reply

    Nicely explained now it’s very easy to plan it .can it possible to go there with bells my 2 year old baby

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      The trek would certainly not be easy with your kid. But then there are porters and ‘Pittus’ who would come to help. That makes it doable. 🙂 But i am not sure if kids(2 year olds) should be taken on a trek which is slippery(and rainy) and at a height of around 14,000 ft. I really do not know.

  15. Jyotsna Virmani says: Reply

    Could you also let me the know the things to carry. This is going to be the firsr trek of my life. I am a little nervous on the first hand but determined on the other :). Worth to mention, I got a strong feeling after reading this, very nicely written.

    1. Raunak Airan says: Reply

      Thank you Jyotsna 🙂
      Things to carry:
      1. Poncho/Raincoat
      2. Water bottle
      3. Small day bag
      4. A jacket
      5. Trekking pole (A stick would suffice too), apart from the basic necessities.
      Yeah and there is really nothing to worry. You will be good 🙂

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