I could hear my heart racing, yet my soul stood ecstatic in the captivating scenery of the stupendous valley adorned with colourful flowers. It felt as though time has paused for a moment. All these days of trailing uphill through the treacherous terrain have paid off, what a sight, what an emotion! The Valley of Flowers trek is worthier than what I thought. The view is so serene that even a madman will immerse himself in its beauty. As I came back from the euphoria, I watched my peers delve into the magnificent view.
Valley of Flowers National Park is a national park in India famous for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and other varieties of flora. Located in North Chamoli, Uttarakhand, this richly diverse area is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species such as Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox and blue sheep. You can also spot Himalayan monal pheasant and other high altitude birds in this valley, stretching over an expanse of 87.50 km2.
At an average altitude of 3,500 m above sea level, the gentle landscape is outlined by the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Valley National park to its east. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of Zanskar and Great Himalayas.
It was a usual Sunday morning, I woke up to the yelling sound of my mom. After the regular chores, I grabbed my phone to check on my social media accounts. While skimming through the usual posts, the picture of a lush green valley adorned with beautifully coloured flowers caught my eye. As I dug deep, an enthralling experience of an uphill trek revealed itself. I was so moved by the experience that for a moment I thought I was in it.
Independence day was just a few days away, giving us ample time for a getaway. And without thinking a second time, I pinged my fellow travel buddies and introduced this picturesque place to them. One of them replied, “So lemme pack my backpack and I’ll be ready in half an hour.” And just like that, the four of us decided to make our way into this mesmerising landscape. Our first destination is Haridwar, and we agreed to grab a train until there.
On reaching Haridwar Railway Station, we grabbed a taxi and set out to Govindghat, our first destination on the way to Valley of Flowers. The 295-kilometre long journey took us through Joshimath and the holy city of Devprayag, which is the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers. Post here, they flow together as the holy Ganges. After around 10 – 11 hours of driving, covering picturesque landscape adorned with majestic peaks, we reached our destination.
The sun had set by the time we reached Govindghat and the chilly night breeze sent shivers down our spine. We found ourselves a nice and cosy place to sleep off the night. After grabbing a quick bite in one of the nearest eateries, we roamed the street for some time and went back to the comfort of our warm blankets.
We woke up to the magnificent view of the rays of the orange-red sun illuminating the lush green peaks in tints of red. The view was so alluring that we stood silently and enjoyed the majestic scenery. Coming back to our senses, we geared up for the trek to Valley of Flowers. After a traditional local breakfast, we tied up our laces and set out to conquer the trail. There is a 5-kilometre long drive to Pulna, from where the trek will kickstart.
We wanted to capture the spectacular terrain in detail, and therefore we opted to cover the distance by foot.
Pulna to Ghangaria
Upon reaching Pulna, we halted to catch our breath. From here, we say goodbye to the paved roads and the mighty trail through the hilly terrain will sing us the welcoming song. The 10-kilometre long uphill trail along river Pushpavati will get us to Gangharia. Mostly crowded, the trail houses many eateries serving hot beverages, noodles, omelettes, bread and paratha. Therefore, you can energize yourself continuously.
After a 5-kilometre trek through the well-defined stone-paved path, we reached the village of Bhyunda. There, we found a perfect spot to capture the breathtaking view of the majestic Hathi Parvat. The view of the mighty peaks rising above the white puffy clouds is a scene to behold. The plush scenery is embellished by the serene ambience. Though the place is crowded, the peaceful vibe you experience is just magical.
The scenic view sent us into a state of trance and it felt as though we were in fantasy land. After enjoying the alluring view to the fullest, we started our ascend toward Ghangaria. The steep slopes are physically demanding and exhausting and as a result, we had to take a
The faint young moon had replaced the bright sun by the time we reached. We found shelter in one of the guesthouses in the locality. After a quick and satisfying dinner, we dozed-off in the comfort of our blanket.
Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers
There is no happiness beyond waking up to the chirping of birds and breathing in the fresh and chilly air. After a frugal breakfast, we geared up to kick start the second phase of our arduous trek to the enchanting Valley of Flowers. As we left behind Ghangaria, the pristine hilly forests and the green trees and shrubs waved us a warm welcome.
A few minutes into the trail and the mighty Laxman captured our attention. The aggressive flow of water and the downfall, hitting the rocks underneath the hill is a mesmerising view. After enjoying the beauty of the gushing waterfall, we resumed our trek. As we moved forth, the forest check post appeared in our view. Breathtaking scenic views surround the trail and provided us with that extra mettle to complete the journey.
The pristine valley
After trekking a distance of about 4 kilometre, we reached the tantalizing Valley of Flowers. It’s beauty, so intense that no word can do true justice. The first sight of the verdant valley took me away from the realms of this physical world. The place is so charming and exuberant that it can even excite the heart of the most depressed soul.
The valley stretches over an area of 6 kilometres. Blue Poppy, Snake Foil, White Leaf Hog Foot, Himalayan Rose, Meadow Geranium, Dog Flower, Hooked Stick Seed – the native flowers that magnify the beauty of this serene valley are many. We set out to explore the zestful valley to its heart.
As we trailed into the captivating landscape, moving past the radiant flowers, we reached the other end of the valley. The colourful blossoms end here, at the foot of a glacier. Since the weather was clear, the majestic peaks of the Great Himalayas were visible in the background. The sight of those mountains was so captivating that we did nothing but immerse ourselves in the serene scenery. We spent the rest of the day on the paradise and as the sun gave away to the moon, we started our journey back to Ghangaria.
Ghangaria to Hemkund
After a relaxing sleep, the next day, we got ready to trail into Hemkund, a Sikh place of worship and pilgrimage. Hemkund Sahib is the World’s Highest Gurudwara, situated at an altitude of 4,329m. The place sports a glacial lake surrounded by seven snow-capped peaks, each adorned by a Nishan Sahib on its peak. Nishan Sahib is the Sikhs symbolic flag that you can find in every Gurudwara.
The trail was similar to that of yesterday’s – stone-paved and well-defined ascend. On our way, we spotted the rare species of flower called Brahmakamal. It is believed that this is the same flower that Lord Brahma holds in one of his four hands. The trail took us through spectacular natural scenic views until we set foot on the holy place.
After trekking for about 5 kilometres, we reached the holy abode of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. The calm and charming lake reflects the beauty of the Gurudwara and gives your eyes a soothing view. We could also witness the marvellous sight of the mighty Saptrishi peak reflected in the glacier lake, owing to the clear skies. After spending some time enjoying the holy and serene atmosphere, we started our trek back to Ghangaria.
As a result of the demanding Valley of Flowers trek we just completed, we dozed off quickly on reaching Ghangaria. We woke up the next day, ready to head back to our homes. After enjoying our last breakfast in this serene land, we initiated our journey back to the crowded city landscape. We took the same route as we used to get here. From Ghangaria we trekked down the same path to Pulna. After a short break for a cup of tea, we resumed our trek, leaving behind the picturesque terrain. We reached Govindghat and hired a taxi to Haridwar Railway Station.
The trek was as demanding as any other. The experience we grabbed, the people we met, the views that caught our eye, the breeze that fondled our hair, the ascend that tired us down – everything taught us lessons preached in no elementary. The Valley of Flowers is much more vibrant and mesmerising than I have ever imagined. It was as though we entered a magical realm where even time tends to pause for a moment to enjoy the lush scenery. The Hemkund Sahib is worth paying a visit. The serene ambience and holy vibes add that spiritual tint to your usual trekking experience.
I stared at the endless tracks gulping down the memory lane of those 6 days spent in the magnif
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