First and foremost, Wishing you and your family a very very Happy New Year 2016 !!
Today I will be re-presenting the detailed information on Valley of Flowers and Shri Hemkunt Sahib already published under DoW Community and very well drafted by one of our core devil, Preet Kamal Singh. The information posted on the community thread here is so valuable that I could not resist myself to re-share it in the form of a blog article so that it reaches more like minded travelers or followers of DoW which are still to join our DoW Community !!
Valley of Flower and Shri Hemkunt Sahib are the two fabulous places housed in the lap of western Himalayas in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib ji is devoted to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Govind Singh ji. Located at a staggering height of 4632 meters (15,197 feet), amidst seven mountain peaks with glacial peak in the middle, one can trek 25 KMs from Govindghat which is the second last station on Rishekesh-Badrinath highway, in order to reach this amazing gift of nature.
On the other hand, the Valley of Flowers National Park, a world heritage site, is situated at an altitude of 3700 – 4000 Mtrs in the west Himalayan region and is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The Valley of Flowers covers an area of about of 87.50 sq kms housing almost 300 varieties of alpine flowers. It was discovered by great mountaineer Frank S Smith in the year 1931. The trek to Valley of Flowers also starts from Govindghat and diverts from Ghangaria which is near Govind dham and is about 16 Kms from Govindghat.
Most Common Itinerary for Valley of Flowers & Hemkunt Sahib
Day 1 | Delhi to Rishikesh/Haridwar (200 Kms, 4 Hours)
Delhi to Rishikesh is about 200 Kms and takes about 4 hours depending upon the traffic. The roads are in good shape mostly but traffic can be headache some times. You can also reach haridawar by train and proceed further from there by road.
Day 2 | Rishikesh/Haridwar to Govind Ghat (275 KMs, 10-12 Hours)
You can take bus from Haridwar which starts at 4.30/5 AM in the morning and it reaches 5/5.30 AM at Rishikesh. You can also take the shared cabs which are available at both the places near bus stand and start early morning only at around 5-5.0 AM. If you are driving your personal car, then try to start early as you have to cover about 275 Kms in a day with time for jams and landslides taken into account. In your day, you will drive through Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Joshimath.You would be able to reach Govind Ghat by 5 Pm in the evening. There are a lot of hotels available in Govind Ghat suited for economic budgets and you can also get the accommodation in Gurudwara Sahib as well.
Day 3 | Govind Ghat to Govind Dham/Ghangaria (15 Kms of trek 4-6 hours)
You have to start early on this day also as the trek is tiring and is of moderate. Ponies and Porters are available. You will pass thru Pulia and Bhyundar village and there are shops on the way, so you will have things to eat.
Day 4 | Govind Dham/Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers (5-7kms of Trek 4-6 hrs)
You should start early by 6 and see a beautiful waterfall on you right side just in front of Valley of Flowers, check point gate. After taking entry tickets, you will enter the beautiful valley called valley of flowers. Porters are available, carry your food as nothing is available inside it once you enter the gate. Start back by 2 so that you can easily reach before evening or dark falls.
Day 5 | On This day you have options
Option one Ghangaria to Hemkunt sahib to Govind Ghat (27 Kms of tiring trek 12-14 hours)
You have to start early and reach Hemkunt sahib. The trek is very tough and it is hardest you will face on this route. But you will be treated with some breathtaking views.Then you have to trek all the way down to Govind Ghat which is going to be tiring and heavy for knees as maximum of it is descent.
Option two is Ghangaria/Govind Dham to Hemkunt sahib to Govind Dham/Ghangaria.(12 Kms of trek up and back 5/6 hrs). You can take a rest if you can’t continue towards Govind Ghat
Option three is Govind dham To Govind Ghat (15kms of Trek 3 hrs).
You can trek down to Govind ghat in maximum three hours and proceed towards Badrinath which is 25 Kms from there.
Day 6 Govind Ghat To Rishikesh (275 kms 10/12 hrs).
You can take a shared taxi which start early in morning or bus which start at 6.
Day 7 Rishikesh to Delhi (200 Kms, 4-5 hrs)
Short Itinerary, recommended only for pro/advanced trekkers
- Day 1 Rishikesh to Govind ghat (night travel from Delhi (200kms 4hrs))(275kms, 10-12 hrs)
- Day 2 Govind Ghat to Govind Dham/Ghangaria (16kms of trek 4/6hrs)
- Day 3 Govind Dham to Valley of flowers to Govind Dham (5/7 kms of trek 4/6hrs)
- Day 4 Govind Dham to Govind Ghat to Srinagar (15kms of trek 3 hours and 175 kms of road travel 3/5 hours). Buses are available from Govind ghat till 3 in evening which reach Srinagar by 8 in night
- Day 5 Srinagar To Rishikesh to Delhi (100 kms till Rishikesh 2 hours and 200kms till Delhi 4 hrs)You can take same bus which you took last day from govind ghat or can take first bus which starts at 6 in morning)
Please note, attempt this only if you are sure about your stamina to undergo this hectic schedule.
Best time to visit Valley of Flowers & Hemkunt Sahib ji
Valley of flower has a cool but pleasant climate in the season time which is mainly summers and for rest of the season it closes down due to snow/cold temperatures. Summers (June to October) have a cool weather with maximum temperature reaches to nearly 10-17 °C and is a good season for viewing the refreshing beauty of valley of flowers. Winters (November to April/May) minimum temperature can go well down below zero. Good time to visit Valley of Flowers/Hemkunt Sahib is between June/July to October which is quite pleasant and ideal for the visit of the national park. It is also a good time window for spotting endangered animals at times. August and September are the special eye catching months with blooming flowers justifying the name of the place. It is the time when about 300 varieties comes to life and make this place look like a fairyland but of course August is when you need to face monsoon hassles as landslides are pretty common in Gharwal. December to May is not recommended as it snows up there and temperatures are below 0 °C without an other support en-route.
Modes of Reaching Till Govind ghat
- Buses – Local buses and state transport buses run on this route. Check the timings in certain sections as the routes get closed in the evening
- Cabs / Taxis – Private taxis as well as shared cabs also ply on this route
- Lifts from Border road organisation trucks and local plying on the route 😉
- Motorcycles / Bikes, which can be hired from Rishikesh or Delhi
- Seasonal Trekkers – No guide needed
- Rookie trekkers – It is recommended to a guide or local with you for any help required.Please check the List of Trekking Guides in Uttarakhand & Porters
- First Timers – A guide is highly recommended. Please check the List of Trekking Guides in Uttarakhand & Porters
Valley of Flowers is such a trek which ever nature lover should experience once in a lifetime. It will surely gonna leave you asking for more and you will really cherish these memories for lifetime.
In the end, I apologize for my absence for the last month or so as I was transitioning from one home to another but now have settled to an extent so as to be back online on Devil On Wheels to offer any kind of help/support in making you travel with a difference in Himalayas !! Do expect the usual regular updates and much much quicker replies from this new year 🙂 🙂
All the pictures in this article is from the amazing travel tale of Madhu bhai in dow community: Two old beauties, a promise & The Valley of Flowers