This was a spontaneous trip and when I say spontaneous, I'm being dead serious because every decision during the span of this trip was taken spur the moment. Carpe diem like my blog name suggests! My husband's friend "planned", oh wait, "thought of planning" a trip to Valley of Flowers and failed miserably, since he's not much of a planner and more of a person who merely gets up and catches any bus and then sees what to do next. So, he asked us if we would like to tag along and since it was a long weekend, as well as the perfect time to visit Valley of Flowers, we decided to give it a go.
Now the friend and his brother left a day earlier as they had taken an extra day off from work, while me and my husband started our journey on Thursday night, by catching a bus from Delhi to Haridwar. I've already visited the magnificent Valley of Flowers and the sacred Hemkund Sahib before in 2019 and since I was at the peak of my fitness at that point of time, so didn't face any major challenges in completing both these treks. One thing I would like to emphasise on at this point, being spontaneous is good but in a long journey (two treks), such as this one, please do not forget to take breaks in between. These little rests would ultimately be very significant in rejuvenating your body in order to move forward with the other trek.
The route to these two treks from Delhi, is to reach Haridwar or Rishikesh and then take a bus to Joshimath. Public transport(state busses)only run during the morning and would most probably leave you at Joshimath in the evening. It's advisable to stay in Joshimath and then commence your journey in the morning towards Govindghat via shared cabs, as this would be the last spot where vehicles are available(one can also go a bit further till Pulna village via cab and then start the trek towards Ghangria). Since this was a spontaneous trip and we were already behind, our friends started their trek on Friday from Pulna village towards Ghangria. While simultaneously we were on our way towards Joshimath as we'd taken a state bus from Haridwar. After an excruciating 12 hour long bus ride, we arrived at Joshimath around 5 and immediately took a cab towards Govindghat. Since there were no landslides on our route, we reached Govindghat in record time (35 mins). By now our friends had almost covered 3/4 trek journey towards Ghangria.
In order to make up lost time and to start our two treks with our friends, we opted for a helicopter ride to Ghangria. This facility is available at Govindghat near "Hotel Bhagat". Me and my husband were very excited as this was going to be our first helicopter ride and l believe this was also meant to be. Price range for one person is around 2900₹ and it increases, depending on your body weight which should be 75kgs or less. For every extra kilo, an additional amount of 75₹ is charged. With this amazing experience, we covered a 11 km (12 hour long) trek in a matters of minute's (4 mins to be precise).
Yayy we reached Ghangria before our friends who had plenty of time and had opted to trek but simultaneously Nayy as we missed out on the beautiful riverbed trek with breathtaking views. Saturday morning we woke up all pumped and started our trek from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib. Ghangria is a village but kind of like a base camp from where these two treks start and it is logical to properly complete just one trek in one day and rest, then the Valley of Flower's trek one the next day (or vice versa) and then rest and start the downhill trek the next morning. Since we had 4 days for a week long trek, we got carried away and didn't take proper rests/breaks. At the time of this trek, my weight was 75kgs and I would have given up if my husband would not have been there to push me and motivate me. He is a born trekker I must say!
When I reached Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib, I felt at peace. When I put my legs in the sacred sarovar (lake) all my fatigue and pain from sore legs just vanished. You cannot beat the chai(tea) and khichdi(dish with rice and lentils) at the Gurudwara Sahib. I had my one to one connect with Guru Granth Sahib ji and thanked god for everything and started our trek for Ghangria. It was almost 20kms to and fro, so just imagine the condition of our feet as we'd been travelling continuously for 3 days. My husband was very patient and we were taking breaks in the middle of the trek, which helped alot.
Now the next morning's plan was to commence Valley of Flowers trek and then go back downhill to Pulna village and take a cab till Joshimath, on the same afternoon. Valley of Flowers is a 4km trek and then the valley in itself is 8kms long ending with a splendid glacier view. It is upto you how much you would like to explore. That morning we did not wake up, seriously, we did not get any rest the night before therefore we decided to eat, freshen up and then start our trek to Govindghat because we both lost energy to have two treks on the same day. Yayy I got my share to see nature's beauty while trekking down to Pulna village from Ghangria, that too in our slippers. Due to shoe bites and sore feet, it was getting difficult for us to walk, so we switched to slippers. My feet took a breath of fresh air and thanked me for this unconventional decision to trek with flip flops.
We stayed at Joshimath that night and left for Rishikesh in the morning, as the last bus leaves around 6am. Luckily, we got amazing bus drivers in our journey and they both dropped us at our location way before the designated time. While waiting for the bus at Rishikesh, we realised our legs were completely swollen. Thats when I decided that we seriously need to get fit, if we wish to continue trekking.