It is said that if you love nature, you will find beauty everywhere you go. By this measure, the Valley of Flowers was nothing short of paradise for me!
Heavily scented meadows of endemic alpine flowers make up this National Park, which is listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. It is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, red fox, musk deer, snow leopard, brown bear, and blue sheep.
This place is ideal in all possible ways. The food is mouth-watering, the locals are humble and helpful and the weather is always cool and romantic. If you set out from Delhi, it takes seven days to complete this trek.
Day 1: Delhi to Rishikesh
How to get there?
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
By Train: Haridwar Railway Station
By Bus: Rishikesh Bus Stop
Take a bus/train/flight from Delhi and reach Rishikesh. Explore the Yoga capital of India. Try vegetarian food in different cafes and don't forget to enjoy the sunset.
Day 2: Rishikesh to Govindghat
How to get there?
By bus or shared cab: Take an early morning bus from Rishikesh to Govindghat.
You can take a bus around 5.30 in the morning from Rishikesh bus stop or take a shared cab directly to Govindghat (at the confluence of the Laxman Ganga and Alaknanda rivers). It takes around 10 hours to reach there. There are plenty of eateries on the way so you don't need to pack food.
The landscape is beautiful throughout the way and the main attractions are Dev Prayag (confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers) and Rudra Prayag (confluence of Alaknanada and Mandakini rivers). Just find yourself a window seat and enjoy the stunning views.
Day 3: Govindghat - Poolna - Ghanghariya
Take a cab to Poolna from Govindghat. The trek begins from Poolna and Ghanghariya is just 14 km away, so it takes five to six hours to reach there. There are stalls all around, so you don't have to worry about food. Try to leave early morning so you can catch the sunset in Ghangharia.
Day 4: Ghangharia - Valley of Flowers - Ghangharia
The hike from Ghanghariya to the Valley of Flowers is just 4 km. We'd advise you to wake up early, have your breakfast and pack some lunch as well since there are no eateries on the way. In all honesty, though, I forgot all about eating, for I was busy feasting on the views of alpine flowers and high altitude birds. Carry a pair of binoculars to gaze at the gorgeous sky.
Elevation: Valley of Flowers - 3,500-3,962 m / 11,483 - 12,998 ft
Entry Timings: 7.00 am to 5.00 pm
Entry Fee: Rs 150 for Indians and Rs 700 (10 USD) for Non-Indian nationals.
Day 5: Ghagharia - Govindghat
Trek down from Ghangharia to Govindghat. It is an easy day, so you can enjoy the nature and the entire feel of this place.
Day 6: Govindghat - Rishikesh
Take a shared cab from Govindghat to Rishikesh. Spend a night in Rishikesh and enjoy the spiritual vibe of the place.
Day 7: Rishikesh - Delhi
Take a bus from Rishikesh / Train from Haridwar / Flight from Dehradun for Delhi and bid adieu to the mountains, until you decide to come back again.
Best time to visit
Late July to mid-September is the best time to visit, though the trek starts from the very beginning of July.
There are guest houses and hotels in Rishikesh, Govindghat and Ghangharia, but it is advisable to pre-book everything as it is quite expensive during this season. There are luxury camp-sites here as well which are a bit far from the market area, away from the chaos.
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