|Valley of Flowers National Park|
Woke up at 7 AM, got ready and had our breakfast. Before leaving, we purchased some energy supplements such as chocolates, juices, etc. and then left Govindghat. This day we had to reach Ghangaria village which was 13 km from Govindghat. The 3 km distance till Pulna village was to be covered by Jeep and rest was by trek.
We took our rucksacks and started our journey to Ghangaria. Our rucksacks were decent hefty as we were carrying tents, sleeping bags, mattresses and a good quantity of food items such as Katori, Matthi, biscuits, chocolates, cakes, juices, peanuts, apples, bananas, etc. It was okay for me to carry that much heavy rucksack due to HMI effect 😄
We took the downwards road from Govindghat and walked around 500 meters to reach the bridge. There we registered ourselves and entered our details for any emergency. After all this, we took a shared taxi till Pulna which cost us INR 35. It took around 20 minutes to reach the village.
|Starting our journey from Govindghat|
|A bridge over Alaknanda river at Govindghat|
From Pulna, we started our trek at 10 AM. The route was well paved and was full of mules/horses shit. In spite of all this, the trek was scenic. We saw several waterfalls, some small some huge. There was one falling from a height of 180 m. After about 3 hours of trek, we reached Bhyundar village where we had our lunch of packed aloo paranthas. We did not spend much time there as the weather was getting rainy. We put on our poncho and resumed our trek. It took us another 2 hours to cover the last leg of the trek. We reached Ghangaria at 3 PM.
|A waterfall at the Pulna village|
|Starting the trek to Ghangaria|
|Paved trail to Ghangaria|
|In the forest|
|A village amidst the way to Ghangaria|
|Scenic valley near Bhyundar village|
The whole trek was mild steep except some stretches which were having a good inclination. We crossed some downhill stretches too. The trail was well paved throughout the way and it passed through dense forest and river valley.
Ghangaria is a small village situated amidst the way to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. The village is at an elevation of 3065 meters. The views from Ghangaria were scenic. We could see lofty peaks and dense forest. The good thing was that the village had electricity and phone connectivity (only BSNL landline). There were several restaurants and hotels situated in a queue where we could find almost everything to eat. There were barber shops, a Gurudwara, book shops, etc.
After reaching Ghangaria, we looked out for our camping location but there was no vacant place where we could pitch our tents. We went to GMVN Tourist Rest House and talked to the manager (Naudiyal Ji) and finally, he gave us permission to set up tents inside the GMVN area. Though he permitted us, with the permission he also warned us to remain alert from bears.
We pitched our tents, relaxed for about one hour and then started roaming the streets of the village. We also watched a short documentary movie on Valley of Flowers at the campus of Eco Development Council (NGO). The cost of the documentary was just INR 30 and the movie was quite informative. I would vouch for everyone to watch this movie before visiting the Valley of Flowers. Later we had our dinner at a restaurant and then came back inside the tents to sleep.
|GMVN Tourist Rest House|
Woke up early and we got ready quickly. Quickly, because we were so excited as this was our most important day of our whole trip. Yes, we were going to Valley of Flowers. We had our breakfast, bought some eatables and started our trek at 8 AM.
We had to trek 7 km in total (one side) to reach and explore the valley. The distance from Ghangaria village to Valley of Flowers entrance was 3 km and to explore the valley, 4 km had to be covered.
We took the upwards route from the village and reached a checkpost after walking about 500 meters from where we took the route to Valley of Flowers. The other route was going towards Hemkund Sahib. The route to Valley of Flowers from that point was narrow and it was covered with dense thickets on both sides. Initially there were only plants but as we were moving further, we started seeing flowers. The route started getting scenic.
|Initial route to Valley of Flowers|
After walking for 15 minutes, we reached the check post of Valley of Flowers where we registered ourselves and paid the entry fees which was INR 150 Per Person. Then we continued our trek till the bridge over Bhyundar river. There we saw a furious waterfall. The flow of the river was extremely fast and strong. We did a small photoshoot there and then resumed our trek. The trail till the bridge was a blend of uphill, downhill and flat land but after the bridge, it was continuously steep till the entrance of the valley. It was a bit tiring one.
|Ghangaria village seen from the way to Valley of Flowers|
|A bridge over Bhyundar river|
As we were getting close to the entrance, we started seeing the vast green patches of lands and views of the valley. When we finally reached, we saw a huge valley with lofty mountains on both sides having large green meadows at the base of mountains and river valley in the middle. The river was exactly acting like a border for both sides. The valley was literally alluring and it was so vast that we were trying to get a complete view in one frame but we were unable to do the same. Then we started exploring the valley by looking at each and every flower. Took several amazing shots but still, we wanted to capture more.
|Starting of Valley of Flowers|
|Touching the Sky flower at Valley of Flowers|
|Me with our Flag|
Later we went to the grave of Johnne Margaret Legge and spend some time there. The place was so peaceful, probably one of the best places to practice meditation on earth. We just closed our eyes and feel the cool breeze and partial sunshine which was trying to reach us out of the clouds.
|Grave of John Margaret Legge at Valley of Flowers|
|Himalayan Dove Bird|
Some of the flowers that we saw and captured
We started heading back towards Ghangaria village at 4 PM. It took us 2 hours and we reached the village. We had our dinner and got our rucksack ready for the next day trek to Hemkund Sahib.
Great post..very detailed…that himalayan dove bird looks awesome 🙂 Never spotted such rare breeds during our hiking in india..and those flowers..no words for the beauty you have captured…really incredible india 🙂
I was waiting for this post !! Its a beautiful trek and I need its information as I trek this route in 2007 for Hemkund Sahib , But then could not go to VOF . There is a great change in the condition of the trek route as in 2007 there was no road till Pulna so we started our trek from Govindghat and stay in Gurudwara at Ghangharia . Possibly will trek VOF next year and your post will really help
Great post with tid-bits of practical experience. It is certainly going to help anyone interested in taking this trek. But it must be quite an arduous one with heavy load of camping and tenting equipment one needs to carry. However, in the end the long trek does pay off. It is totally justified by the green expanses..great pix !
Yes, the route has changed a lot. Now there are quite good facilities available on the trek. Thanks for visiting 🙂
Yes, our sacks were bit heavy but we managed easily due to the excitement of valley. Glad that you liked the post 🙂
This brought back so many memories from 2012 trek that I did to VOF! Have to take my daughter there soon!
Great, i would recommend you to take the second route which starts from Hanumanchatti. Have heard that government opened that route.
Great blog 🙂 convinced me to go to VOF once in life 🙂