Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib

Tripoto
9th Aug 2018
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria

Do you like flowers? For most of us, it would be a yes. Imagine yourself in a valley filled with a multitude of varied coloured flowers surrounded by mountains on all sides. That's how the Valley of Flowers looks like. Even a naysayer would be left enthralled by such a view.

Ever since we had started travelling, the 'Valley of Flowers' of Uttarakhand had been one of the must visit places of our bucket list. It was time to finally put a check to this destination. The best time to visit the valley is during the monsoon period, July- September. We booked our trip through 'Trek the Himalayas' for 9th-14th August, 2018. The trip starts from Haridwar.

Day 1

We reached Haridwar by train at morning 5 am. TTH had sent a Sumo which will take us to Joshimath, where we will be meeting the rest of the group and the TTH's trekking team. On our journey, we could see the mountains with roads carved into it, small isolated hamlets, the gushing of the rivers and of course not to miss the spectacular confluence of the holy Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, the Devprayag.

Photo of Devprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

'DevPrayag' See the difference in the colour of waters of the two rivers

Photo of Devprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria
Day 2

We were briefed by our trek leader in the morning. Our next stop was at Ghangaria. We started from Joshimath by vehicle up to Pulna. From Pulna, our trek began. The trail length for the day was 12 kms with an altitude gain of 3000 ft. Porter and mule services are available for dropping at Ghangharia. There is also a helicopter service from Pulna to Ghangharia, subject to weather conditions. As we began our trek, we could see a series of waterfalls tumbling down the mountains. Food stalls are in abundance all along the way.

One of the many waterfalls we encountered on the trek

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

Getting lost in the mountains...

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

The trekking route is well constructed.

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

The rains did greet us momentarily. I didn't carry one, and was lucky enough to find a spare one with a fellow traveller.

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

Don't these tents look pretty?

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

This was our spot for the lunch. We sat, watched the clouds dance and had our lunch.

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

We reached Ghangharia at 4:30 pm. We were accomodated in our homestays which were quite decent. Pakodas with some tea followed soon after.

Day 3

The day had finally arrived. We were going to trek into the valley of flowers. "At the valley", our trek leader said the previous evening,"the clouds tend to cover the valley after 12:30 pm. So we will try to reach the valley as early as possible, so that you can spend more time in it." We woke up at 6:00 and were ready by 6:30 am. We packed our food packs for the day (as there are no eateries along the way) and moved out. The mountains looked even prettier in the early morning sun. The route was steep making the climb comparatively tougher than the previous day.

The early morning sun created a stunning contrast on the landscapes.

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

'Blue Wood Aster'

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

'Jacobaea vulgaris' - A hour into the trek, and we had already started encountering these little ones.

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

"We have to cross that mountain."

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

It was an amazing experience to walk through those mountains. The air and the sun felt so fresh.

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

After walking for 3.5 hours, we were finally closing in on the valley. The valley didn't seem far now. "Another hour and we will be there", said our guide.

Photo of Valley of flowers National park, Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

We reached the valley at around 10:30 am. The view was jaw-dropping with endless flowers everywhere. The valley was blooming with a plethora of shades of different flowers like Blue poppy, Himalayan Anemone, Himalayan Cinquefoil etc. The walk in the valley was picturesque with snow clad mountains and floating clouds on one side. It felt magical. The soul had perfectly synched in with the nature.

Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria

Flowers from the valley:

Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib by Kangkan Thakuria

It was a day which will remain with us for the rest of our lives. We wished we could just stay there in the valley. We envied the moths, the butterflies and the bees. It was a paradise after all.

Day 4

The next day's trek was to the Gurdwara Shri Hemkund Sahib. Nestled at 14100 ft., it is the world's highest Gurdwara. It was a 6 km trek to the Gurdwara with an altitude gain of 4000 ft. The climb was steep. We started at 6:30 am and reached the Gurdwara at 12:30 pm. As we gained altitude, the temperature dropped significantly. Midway it started raining. We put on our raincoats and continued with the trek. At the Gurdwara, we were served with chai and langar.

Thr shrine was mostly covered with clouds. We missed on the famous view of the seven mountain peaks from the Gurdwara. On the backside of the Gurdwara, there is the famous holy glacial lake, the Hemkund lake. We sat inside the Gurdwara for a few minutes, listened and prayed along with the Sikhs. As we left the place, we felt at peace.

The holy Hemkund Lake

Photo of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Chandreshwar Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

The view of the mountains as we gained altitude

Photo of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Chandreshwar Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

The view of the village we stayed in from the top

Photo of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Chandreshwar Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria
Photo of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Chandreshwar Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria

The clouds covering up the landscape

Photo of Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Chandreshwar Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kangkan Thakuria
Day 5

Our trek into the valley of the flowers and Hemkund Sahib had ended. We were descending down to Joshimath. We trekked down to Pulna where vehicles were waiting to drop us at Joshimath, our base camp. The rest of the day was spent resting in the lodge arranged by TTH. We explored few good eateries nearby our lodge. We had some amazing parathas in one of the restaurants.

Day 6

Next day early morning, we left for Haridwar from where we boarded our trains. The journey ended with a lot of joyous moments to cherish, a soul-searching trip it was for us.

The trek is categorised in the easy level. Most of the members of our trekking group were first time trekkers. I would really love to recommend this place for the ones who are nature lovers, photographers, and for the ones who are sulking in life, this place will definitely be an eye opener for you!! So the next monsoon, pack your bags and escape into the Valley of Flowers.

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