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Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Trek to Valley of Flowers & Hemkund Sahib - Day 1

Manu Khandelwal
A view of Valley of Flowers
A view of Valley of Flowers
Every traveler has a bucket list but only courageous and passionate ones are able to make it happen. I also made my bucket list last year and I am continuously striving to complete it. Recently I did a trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib and successfully ticked out one destination from my bucket list. So by not wasting more time, let’s continue with my journey. This time I went with my two trekker friends (Himanshu & Gaurav) whom I met on Deoriatal Chandrashila trek.

About Valley of Flowers:

Valley of Flowers is a gigantic valley covering an area of 87.5 sq. km. and is home to several varieties of flora and fauna. The elevation of valley varies from 3300 meters to 3600 meters. There are around 500 species of alpine flowers which bloom during the months of June, July, August, and September. These flowers are used in making medicines and to cure diseases like diabetes, cancer, tumor and etc.

In 1931, Frank S. Smythe and two other British mountaineers were coming back from their successful expedition to Mt. Kamet and while coming back they lost their way and reached the Valley. At that time the valley was blanketed with clouds and suddenly clouds disappeared and they saw a vast valley full of flowers. They got overwhelmed with the beauty of that region and gave it the name “Valley of Flowers”. Later Frank Smythe wrote a book “Valley of Flowers” and described the beauty of the valley in his own words.

How to Reach:

Valley of Flowers is situated in the vicinity of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The valley can be reached by doing a trek of 16 km that starts from a village called Govindghat. Govindghat is a small village situated on the Rishikesh Badrinath Highway and is just 25 km from the town of Joshimath.

About Hemkund Sahib:

Hemkund Sahib is a Gurudwara situated at an altitude of 15,200 feet and it is considered the world’s highest Gurudwara. The Gurudwara is one of the most sacred places in India for Sikhs. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come here from all over and outside the India. The location of Gurudwara is quite scenic. A large number of Brahmakamal (rare flower) bloom during monsoon season near the Gurudwara, which enhances the beauty of this place.

How to Reach:

Hemkund Sahib is also situated in the same region in which Valley of Flowers situated. The trek to Hemkund Sahib is 21 km long and also starts from the village of Govindghat.

Preparation before leaving:

As it was a long weekend due to Independence Day, we already knew that there is going to be a huge rush and we might face availability issues in accommodation. So we decided to carry our own tents, sleeping bags, and mattresses. We rented all these equipment from a shop and started with our packing.

Packing Stuff


Day 0: 

We reached ISBT Kashmere Gate to board our pre booked Volvo bus to Rishikesh. Bus timing was 10 PM.

Day 1: 

Reached Rishikesh next day at 4 AM and had tea at the bus stand. Later we enquired about our conveyance to Govindghat. We found a private bus which was scheduled to depart at 5 AM. We bought 3 tickets and booked our seats on that bus. There were some other trekkers who also came to Rishikesh for the same trek but they were tensed due to bad weather and landslides. They asked us “are you really going? I have heard that the road is blocked and blah blah !” We just replied “we are going and we are not afraid of weather. We will not die so easily 😝 We will manage”. After all this, the guy got boasted with confidence and decided to travel in that same bus in which we were going to travel. At 5 AM, we started with our mountain journey.

Our route was

Rishikesh → Devprayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers) → Srinagar → Rudraprayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers) → Karnaprayag → Nandaprayag → Joshimath → Govindghat (confluence of Alaknanda and Bhyundar rivers)

As we crossed Shivpuri, we saw the first landslide that gave us a thrill. The half road was demolished due to slide. We did not heed much and enjoyed our further journey. We had our breakfast near Devprayag. The route till Rudraprayag was familiar to me as I traveled the same route several times while going to Sari and Chopta for Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. The route further from Rudraprayag was new to me.

Till Joshimath, it was a normal mountain route. After Joshimath, the scenes started getting changed. The lush green mountains got changed to the Rocky Mountains. We were traveling along the gushing Alaknanda river (one of the tributaries of Ganges). The road till Govindghat was good except some stretches. We reached Govindghat at 5 PM in the evening. After the long 17 hours journey (5 hours Delhi to Rishikesh and 12 hours Rishikesh to Govindghat), we were exhausted and famished, so we booked a room in Hotel Shubham and relaxed there. Later we had dinner and explored the village.

On the way to Govindghat
On the way to Govindghat
Joshimath

Somewhere between Joshimath & Govindghat
Somewhere between Joshimath & Govindghat

Landslide amidst the way
Landslide amidst the way

Chopper landing at the helipad of Govindghat
Chopper landing at the helipad of Govindghat

Village Govindghat
Village Govindghat

Govindghat is a small village situated at a height of 1830 meters above the sea level. The village is the starting point of the trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.


Day 0 & 1
Day 2 & 3
Day 4, 5 & 6

Manu Khandelwal / Author

I call myself a traveller more than a travel blogger. Started this blog in 2013. Apart from this I am an Electrical Engineer. Love trekking and doing bike road trips. Like using technology but not addicted to it. A true foodie and love eating burgers.

2 comments:

  1. This post is very useful for anyone who plans a trip to valley of flowers. Loved reading your trekking trip story in the subsequent post.

    ReplyDelete

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