Deep in the heart of the Himalayas, is this spectacular ‘ Valley of Flowers’. Many varieties of Himalayan wild flowers bloom here. Post monsoons, the floor of the valley is covered with a carpet of myriad colours ! It is an awesome sight of colours with a contrasting back drop of majestic peaks. The Valley of Flowers is a national park reposing in West Himalayas. Located in Uttarakhand, this location well known for its charming meadows of flowers indigenous to the mountains and surrounded by a river on either side making this view nothing less than tranquil. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat and Saptrishi peaks feed the lake and a small stream called Himganga flows out of this lake. As alluded to, in the holy Granth Sahib, Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikh faith had meditated on the bank of this lake in one of his earlier births.
The trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund starts a little beyond Joshimath at a pilgrim hamlet called Govind Ghat. The drive is spectacular and along the Shrinagar , Ganga, Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. En route visit at Devprayag. The historical town is situated on the confluence of river Alaknanda & Bhagirathi River which makes the holy Ganges. Leave Haridwar or Rishikesh early in the morning and travel along River Alakananda on the Badrinath highway. The journey from Haridwar to Joshimath takes about 10 hours. Later in the evening take a halt at Govindghat for the night.
After breakfast driven to a nearby town called Poolna from where you will start your trek to Ghangaria.. The treks to Valley of flower and Hemkund have a common trail till Ghangria. Start trekking to reach Ghangaria(3049 mt / 14 km Trek) with packed lunch. Ghangaria is also known as GOVIND DHAM, It is the base camp for visiting Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. The 13 km trek from Govind Ghat to Ghangria goes all the way along the river. The trek takes 6-7 hours and you approach a tabular land.
Leave Ghangria early (6 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometre and there is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley.
The valley is really a botanists’ dreamland. The valley stretches 5-7 km further, until it ends with a glacier visible at a distance. The stream flows all the way through the valley. Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley and overnight camping isn’t allowed either. Plan your return along the same path by early afternoon.
The afternoon sun falling on the valley from a different direction, gives a whole new perspective to the same place you saw in the morning.
Early in the morning start trekking (7 Km) to reach "HEMKUND SAHIB". One of the most revered of all Sikh Shrines, The Hemkund Sahib, the World’s Highest Gurudwara, is situated at an altitude of 4,329 mts. An hour of stiff climbing brings you to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. The lake lies just behind it. The Hemkund Sahib lake remains frozen for six months. Warm yourself in the Gurudwara and have generous helpings of hot tea and khichdi.
Walk around to the other side of the Hemkund Lake. The lake exudes an aura of peace and serenity. It’s crystal clear, undisturbed and reflects mountains in it. The lake with crystal clear water , set amidst tall mountains and reflecting them and the Gurudwara is some sight to watch. Around Hemkund, the Himalayan flower, Brahma Kamal grows abundantly.
Leave Hemkund by early afternoon. The walk down can be strenuous on the knees and toes. It takes 4- 5 hours to walk down the 7 kms. Evening is free for rest in camp; relaxation. Overnight stay.
Start early by 6 am to be down at Govind Ghat by 11 am. Once you reach Govind Ghat, choose to proceed to Badrinath/Joshimath-Auli* or stay back at Govind Ghat and leave the next day.
Drive down to Haridwar. It is advised that you keep a buffer day because the weather in the mountains is unpredictable. Rest at Haridwar for the night. You can explore Haridwar the next day and take a train to Delhi when convenient.