The best kind of adventures are the one which begin in a jiffy at the most unexpected times. And living away from family independently with friends allows you to experience such adventures quite often. And this is exactly what happened when my friends suddenly, amid the routine college drill, had the idea to take a break for the city cacophony and set off for vacations.
The next event is what anyone of you can guess. What is that one place that resonates from every corner when your squad sits to decide the destination for vacations? Yes, you got me- GOA! But while everyone started singing about the reckless beach parties and plush resort kind of getaway, I uttered my idea of a going somewhere for a peaceful adventure to which I added, "let's go for trek. Valley of Flowers." No one disagreed because, don't we all seek an escape from the urban humdrum?
Two days later, we left from the Delhi by train for Haridwar. The fact that we were already 248 km away from the streets bustling with traffic and people running to survive was enough to fill us with exhilaration. Our next stop was Govindghat which is 296 km from Haridwar. We hired a cab to our destination from Haridwar since there is connectivity between two places through train or bus. We were a group of five people and the cab cost us around Rs. 6,500 total. However if you are tight on your budget, you can travel to Rishikesh from Haridwar and take a direct bus to Govindghat from there.
Before reaching Govindghat, we stopped by Joshimath to withdraw some cash as the driver told us that last ATM to be found in region is at Joshimath. We stayed overnight at a Gurudwara near Govindghat (fascinating enough?) and left for a nearby village by cab in the morning from where the trek begins. A cup of hot tea and snack rejuvenated us at 5:30 a.m. in the morning and our overflowing excitement for the adventure we were heading towards, led us to begin our trek to next stop which was Ghangaria Village. If you are someone who walks swiftly no matter what the topography is, you will be able to complete cover the distance between Govindghat and Ghangaria in 8-9 hours. However the months in which the trek is open for travellers is August and September, the time of the year when monsoon take its toll over hill stations. So due to frequent landslides and slippery path ways caused by rain, the trek may extend to an entire day. We covered the distance in 10 hours. All thanks to the favourable weather conditions.
We reached Ghangaria and stayed overnight there in camps. Bonfire beneath the sheet of glistening stars, surrounded by mountains and greenery was an experience second to none.
Next day, we had to leave for our ultimate destination, our buffer which kept us motivated amid all the long journeys and cold nights, Valley of Flower, which is a four hour trek from Ghangaria. We left early in the morning and the views that greeted us as soon as we started reaching near the valley were too beautiful to be described in words. On finally reaching, we couldn't keep calm because what unfolded before us was like a treat to eyes and we could almost hear our heart praising the exquisite flora that laid before us. We stayed there for few hours, took pictures and admired nature's art and them left for Ghangaria again.
While returning to the village, a native told us about Hemkunt Sahib, a 12 km trek from Ghangaria which is famous for the lake enveloped between snow clad mountains. Totally mesmerised by what Valley of Flowers offered us, we believed that Hemkunt Sahib would be worth one day extension of the trip.
So next day we sat out for Hemkunt Sahib and once we reached, the place proved that we took a right decision. It was indeed a tough trek and we were tired but a dip in the lake while capturing the nature's wonder in our eyes and heart washed away all the fatigue.
We returned to Ghangaria village and then to Govindghat from where we left for Haridwar, reaching back to Delhi.
The week of exploration that we experienced was not just a does of peace and tranquillity that we would never understand how much our heart craved for. But it was also an experience that planted the seed of reverence for nature's creation in our hearts.