Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking

Tripoto
30th Jun 2018
Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

I love going to road trips with my very own ride Royal Enfield Bullet 350. And till now I already have had a habit of escaping from 9 to 5 world on my birthdays, and since my birthday was just around the corner it was time for me to spend my birthday on one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world. So, I planned a road trip which would start 2 days before my birthday and I would be spending my birthday, 2nd of July, away from all humanly race with the mother nature and admiring it's creation.

Day 1

It was 3'o clock in the morning when I woke up and I've 550 kilometers to cover on this day. It was raining for past few days and as soon as a woke up I looked up at the sky and saw a dense cloud forming up and I thought that today's journey is not going to be easy. I immediately got ready and by 4:15 after checking out weather forecast for so many times which was showing rainfall on current day and wondering how the weather is going to be today and whether I should leave or delay my road trip and praying for no rain today, my wheels were on the road. I was hungry, so I directly went to 24*7 store to grab Snickers. And the first thing I realized that I picked up two left hand gloves and so now I don't have my gloves and I didn't wanna go back to grab my right handed glove. And then by 4:30, the journey started.

I had to reach Govindghat today which is almost 550 kilometers from Gurgaon, 250 kilometers of which was flat region till Haridwar and then 300 kilometers was mountain region till Govindghat. I was driving besides Upper Ganga Canal till Khatauli (Uttar Pradesh) and saw a beautiful sunrise on my ride at around 6:30 in the morning and I realized that the sky got cleared. I was so happy to see that.

By 09:30, I reached Haridwar, the sacred city, and I stopped for 5 minutes to soak its beauty. I stood besides a bridge to have a look of Har Ki Pauri and I was able to see thousands of people bathing in the holy water. It was wonderful. Soon I left for Rishikesh, the city of Rishis and after crossing the city I've had my first meal of the day.

Ganga River. Captured from far away standing on the road.

Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

After crossing the Rishikesh, the road condition wasn't very good for first 100 kilometers because govt. is broadening the complete patch of road of Char Dhams (Four Pilgrimiges) which is a good thing. I've had a difficult time covering that 100 kilometers but I didn't have had a proper break other than breakfast till now. So finally, just before reaching Rudraprayag at about 02:30 PM, I took my first break by the Alkananda River at a horse shoe bend of half an hour. The view was lovely.

Horse shoe bend near Rudraprayag where I took a break. I didn't stop here because of this bend but later I realized that it is there.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Now the road already got better. The weather was also amazing. And since I was going deep into the mountains and ascending, the view was getting better and better. The cold wind, the roar of my bike, the river's rustling, mountains covered with clouds, all at once it was lovely. I was just about 30 kilometers away from my destination and just 10 kilometers before Joshimath and that's when I encountered rain droplets. Firstly I thought that the sky is saying enough is enough, now I cannot hold myself for you anymore, I have to open my shower and you have to take bath :D :D but as I moved ahead, I got to know it was just the after-shower, Incredible for me. Isn't it?

But it doesn't end here, as soon as I moved ahead I saw something just beyond my words. Here's a picture:

This picture was captured on my way back because I was so much soaking it while on Day 1 but trust me on both days this scenery was completely different. There's a glimpse of the scenery while going towards Govindghat is in the vlog (link below).

Photo of Joshimath, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

And after moving for almost 550 kilometers across amazing number of ups and downs, I finally reached my destination Govindghat, the meeting point of Alkananda River (origin: Satopanth Glacier) and Laxman Ganga (coming from the foothills of Bhyundar Valley famously known as Valley of Flowers) almost at 8:00 PM and the felling was amazing. I didn't have had a lot of tiredness but yes, I was tired a bit. And I chose to skip hotels, I directly went to Govindghat Gurudwara and stayed there in dorm. I've had amazing langar at Gurudwara, listened to Satsang and thanked for my safe and amazing journey as I was afraid a bit in the morning that it might rain and I won't be able to make it in one day. I slept peacful thereafter for the night.

Here's the vlog of the day:

Day 2

I woke up at almost 6'o clock in the morning and the morning was so chilling. I stayed in Gurudwara premises and there wasn't any arrangement of hot water. So, I was doubtful whether I should skip the bath or not but eventually I bathed with ice chilling water which opened my every bit of body and somehow energized me. Then I visited the Gurudwara and had a really nice Langar. Most of the gurudwaras serve Dal in the Langar but I really liked that they were serving Daliya (Porridge) and Soyabean which contains really high content of protein and energy and also lightweight and it is definitely really helpful for the trek.

The bridge is the starting Point of the trek. From here we can start our trek or we can hire taxi to take us to Phulna which is 4 kilometers from Govindghat. The bikes are parked here. And most bikes will have Kesari (Saffron) or Navy Blue Flags with Nishan Sahib imprinted symbolizing Sikhism

Photo of Govindghat, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

So, now started the Day 2 of my journey. I already parked my bike yesterday and it will stay in the parking for three days. I've had two bags with me, I kept my 75 liters trekking bag in the Cloak Room at Govindghat Gurudwara and had a 30 liters bagpack in which I've kept some Gopro accessories and some clothes for three days and my camera bag with me and now it's time for some trekking. Trek for Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers both start from here. For both the treks, we need to reach Ghangharia, which is a small village and is 13 kilometers from Govindghat. So, on Day 1, I'll be reaching Ghangharia and will be staying there for the night.

Most people come here to visit Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib as it is a much renowned pilgrimage for Sikhism. So, a lot of people start trekking after first Ardaas (Prayer) in the morning at Gurudwara Govind Ghat which happens at around 4:15 AM. But I started my trek at almost 8'o clock in the morning. The morning was cloudy and there were signs of rain. But the vibes were just amazing. The place is on the bank of Alkananda river and is surrounded by mountains. The scenic beauty is mesmerizing.

Alkananda River flowing through Govindghat

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Till Phulna, which is 4 kilometers from Govindghat, there is road connectivity and people can go on taxi and also on their own bike and there's a lot of parking available there. Taxi fare till phulna is 50 INR and a lot of people choose to reach Phulna by taxi, but I walked that 4 kilometers too. The climb till Phulna is quite steep and I was surprised to see the enthusiasm of people going on the trek. There were kids as young as 5 years old, there were people walking who seems to be in late 80s and 90s and of course there were youngsters as well. People were chanting 'Waheguru' on their way and I was headed upwards. I had to walk and extra half kilometer because I forgot my Camera on a bike and I came back to pick that up and yes, it wasn't gone from there.

At Phulna, the point where the concrete road ends. Mules are available to hire for the trek here. The view is amazing and down there is Laxman Ganga.

Photo of Govindghat, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

From Phulna, Ghangharia village used to be 10 kilometers, but after 2013 floods the trek has been rerouted at many palces and the length of trek has increased by 1 to 2 kilometers but officially it is still 10 kilometers. One can hire a mule or a porter from Phulna till Ghangharia. Depending upon your negotiation sills, they will charge you from 600 to 1200 INR. From Phulna, till the bridge upon the Laxman Ganga, there will be many roadside shops serving mostly packed food and also Paranthas, Pakoras, Maggi, Fruit Chaats and much more to have your belly full. But I avoided all and only have some chocolates and a bottle of water with me because while trekking one shouldn't have a heavy belly. You don't have to worry about water here as there are many taps on the trek and also, you can buy from these roadside shops. These shops will charge you more than the usual price, so be prepared for that too. After Phulna, till crossing of Laxman Ganga, the trek is neither upwards nor downwards. You'll keep going up and down till here. And the crossing bridge of Laxman Ganga is like a picnic spot is a bit more than halfway point. Here are some shots at this point:

This point is almost the midway of today's trek. In the lower left corner of the picture, the bridge is visible .

Photo of Govindghat, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

After this bridge, the actual ascend starts. I started at almost 12:30 PM from here. Hereafter there won't be much shops and the ascend will get difficult as it is really steep at most of the points. Till this time, you'll start seeing people coming from upwards and people will ask them about the remaining distance which is actually the fun part. Well, no one actually knows. Now distance is getting shorter but so is energy. And then you'll see someone really enthusiastic and he or she will support you and then it's again the same energy. It was just amazing. And I met two heart patients, one asthma patient here walking to this trek, I was so much surprised. There'll be many people to talk to and it would be amazing. You'll actually feel good when there'll be no network in your phone and we'll be actually having a real conversation. Just 500 meters before Ghangharia, there's a helipad, I reached there by almost 3:30 PM and sat there for some time as I was admiring nature over there. There'll be mules, dogs, sheep roaming around and there'll various tiny waterfalls you would be able to see from this point.

From Govindghat, Helicopter Service is also available till Ghangaria. Charges: 3400 INR pp one side when I visited.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Now, it started raining and I moved ahead and reached Ghangharia in 15-20 minutes. There's Gobind Dham Gurudwara in Ghangharia. I stayed there, although there are luxury tents and hotels are available also. It is a pretty nice place to roam around and if you are a photo lover then there'll be some nice pictures with amazing background. But since it started raining which went on at least till I went to sleep, I couldn't get out and the day ended here.

Day 3

On Day 3, it was my birthday and I woke up at around 5:30. It was all cloudy and one peak towards the sky and one can tell that it's going to rain. So, I needed a rain coat. I checked my bag and found out that I've left my raincoat in my other bag which I've kept in the Cloak Room at Govindghat. Fortunately, I got a temporary raincoat for just 40 INR from Ghangharia which would've cost me 30 or maybe 20 INR from Govindghat. This raincoat would only last for a day or two of rain and that is why it is really cheap and can be seen very often on this trek. I submitted my bag in the cloak room at Gobind Dham Gurudwara and carried only my camera bag with me which was able to accomodate 10 chocolates which is my meal for today and I also have a water bottle with me. By 6:30 in the morning I was ready to leave for today's trek towards Valley of Flowers.

Cloak Room Receipt of Gurudwara Gobind Dham at Ghangaria

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

For Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib Trek, we need to follow the same path for almost first half kilometer from Ghangharia village. Thereafter, a check post will come on the right hand side of the path and opposite to that there will be a trail going on which would take us to Valley of Flowers. As I moved ahead, there was a small room which is the registration room for Valley of Flowers. The entry time for Valley of Flowers is 7 Am to 12 PM. I reached here by 6:50 and a group of 3 had already reached there and they were getting their registrations done. There is an entry fee of 150 INR for Indian National for Valley of Flowers which I already knew as I've visited this last year too. But when I checked myself for money I realized that I've left it all in the bag which is in the cloak room of Gurudwara and I was like, what is up with me. Yesterday Camera Bag and now money, amazing man, great job. But then rather going back I asked a guy who was already there to help me out and he agreed to pay my registration fee and it was all sorted. So from here, I joined them and now we were a group of 4.

They paid my Entry Fee. One of them is just behind the pillar and dealing with Registration

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Flowers at VOF - 1

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Flowers at VOF - 2

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Flowers at VOF - 3

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Valley of Flowers is 3 kilometers from the registration point and thereafter it stretches for almost 7 kilometers. We need to cross Pushpawati river to reach Valley of Flowers. But don't worry we don't need to swim or walk through the river, there's a bridge to cross the river. Before crossing Pushpawati there is a small water crossing too upon which there's a temporary bridge is present.

A temporary bridge

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Moving ahead we'll be crossing Pushpawati and then we'll be walking along with the river for almost 100 meters before we climb up. The roar of the water here is amazingly loud as there are many big rocks here and it's completely downhill so the speed of water is also high. One can feel the droplets of water even after standing at a good distance from the river. From this point the climb starts.

Bridge over Pushpawati River. Pushpawati River coming from rocks above.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

There's a single trail and we only have to stick to that trail to reach the valley. Due to yesterday's rain we had to be extra careful with our steps. The trees are still carrying the water droplets and we could hear the birds in the distant. We could see clouds moving in the air without any time lapse and there were several waterfalls in the distance. The sky was completely covered with clouds, not only sky but we were almost in the clouds, and there was no sign of Sun. For almost one and half kilometers, the trail is steep, also at some places there are uneven steps to move ahead. Thereafter the trail gets smooth, the height is almost attained and we just have to move ahead. On our way we could see flowers already, majority of which were Blue Poppy (National Flower of Bhutan). And after walking for almost 3 kilometers we reached the entry point of Valley of Flowers. There's a small bridge above a waterfall which we need to cross to enter the Valley of Flowers and it's written on a rock over there.

Blue Poppy at VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

VOF - Main Valley Starts

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

So, we were first to enter the Valley today and looking behind we couldn't see anyone coming behind us. And the scenery completely changed after crossing the bridge. Gone were the trees bend over and the Pushpawati river just flowing on the right side various feet below us and now there were flowers everywhere. There were colors everywhere. Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, Violet, White, Milky White, you name it, the place has it. It was so so beautiful. We start going in and the colors were changing. It was starting of July, so the flowers were small. But if it were the end of July, these would've been at boom as July end is the best time to visit the valley.

Flower at VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

Flower at VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

Flower at VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

Flower at VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

When we go somewhere around 3 kilometers deep into the valley, there's a path going to the right. Almost 0.5 kms down to that path, there was a tombstone of Joan Margaret Legge. At that time, I didn't know who that person is but I was so amazed to see that tombstone in the valley. "I WILL LIFT UP MINE EYES UNTO THE HILLS, FROM WHENCE COMETH MY HELP" was written on the stone. That time, I took a 360 degrees turn and felt the peace and the beauty of the valley and I thought that this is actually Resting in Peace. So, we sat there for some time and relaxed. Later I found that Joan Margaret Legge was a botanist from England who died in Valley of Flowers while collecting samples of flowers.

Joan Margaret Legge Tombstone

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

After that, we moved ahead and kept going for 3 to 4 kilometers more till the end of valley. The valley ends in the basin of Pushpawati river, a small river flowing from Tipra Glacier which would be clearly glittering on a sunny day. The water runs at a really good speed in the river here. We stayed here for sometime and then we could see a small island just further ahead in between the river. I tried to reach there by placing my foot carefully on the rocks but till that time the rain has already started and the it seemed that the water level has increased a bit so we decided not to attempt that and I was standing in the middle of the ice chilling river on a rock. I stood there for a minute and then we started our return.

End of VOF

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

We moved further ahead and I was in the middle of the river and it started raining.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

As we were returning we saw some people in the Valley. Some were near the end, some were in the middle, some were just sitting and enjoying the beauty. But I also saw a terrible thing while coming back, someone threw their temporary raincoat here which is made of plastic and it made me ask myself a question, Are we worth this beauty in our world? I already knew the answer so I picked it up and kept going. It was 2'o clock when we reached the entrance of the Valley which is at 3600 meters and rested by the waterfall. By this time, rain has stopped and I could see people taking out their cell phones to take pictures and we started our further descend.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

By 4-4:30, we reached the crossing bridge of Pushpawati River and stood by just before it. We were listening to the roar of water as it was moving ahead. I moved closer to the river upon the rocks and was observing the water moving ahead making its own way on its own terms through the high rocks trying to block its way only to give water a loud high five and could feel the ice chilled splashes on my face and I was loving it. And then again, the rain started and we moved ahead.

Loved the thunder of water here !!

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

We reached Ghangaria by 5-5:30 PM and we were starving, so directly went to a local shop and have some amazing Momos. I really loved the Momos and the Momo Soup over there. I have had so much Momos that I forgot that we also had ordered Paranthas. We spend almost one and half hour over there and relived the day once again. It was an amazing day and an amazing birthday.

My Birthday Selfie

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani
Day 4

Today is the day for Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib Trek which is at almost 4600 meters from sea level and Ghangaria is at almost 3000 meters so I would be climbing almost 1600 meters in almost 6 kilometers of trekking. I planned to visit Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib today and then reach Govindghat straight from there. So, my today's trek will include 6 kilometers ascend and 20 kilometers descend. It's gonna take some time.

I got up by 4'o clock in the morning and had Langar for the breakfast. Khichdi was being served in Langar which is an amazing food for such trek. I bought another raincoat as the one that I bought yesterday only lasted the day and it took just one look at the sky and I was sure of the rain. Thereafter, I went to the Gurudwara Sri Gobind Dham and reached their at the time of Ardaas (Prayer) which was the perfect timing and had my favorite Karah Prasad and started my trek at around 5'o clock.

Ice Glacier on the top of Valley of Flowers visible from Ghangaria on this morning

Photo of Ghangaria, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

Most people go on foot and for them to rest there are concrete benches built and if someone wants, one can hire a mule from Ghangaria to Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib and back for almost 800 INR. The trek has a well built stone path with Guard Rail one one side of the path for almost complete trek and mountain on the other. By 6-6:30, it started raining which wasn't a surprise at all. But I was again surprised today after seeing the people going on trek. People of every age were on foot and I didn't see anyone with less enthusiasm. Older people were taking more halts obviously but that wasn't stopping them and everyone was moving ahead chanting "Waheguru, Waheguru".

Thundering Waterfall by the trek !!

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

There was a small patch of snow that appeared almost before 1.5 kilometers from the Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib. The same patch was the only patch of snow when I visited this place previously around the same time. I guess this patch is the last one to melt in Summers. By 8:30, I was left with 1 more kilometer to go to my destination. Now, I realized three things. One, as it's been raining so much the as temperature has gone down, two as I've climbed up the oxygen level has decreased and last but not the least, from here there are two ways to reach the Gurudwara Sahib. One is to keep going onto the same path that we are on till now, other is to climb via stairs. There are 500+ stairs which directly take us to Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib. The path seemed to be very long and the stairs seem to be really easy as I could see the Nishan Sahib (Sikh Flag) right above me and as any tired mind would suggest, I took the stairs.

Snow Patch on the way

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

In the last kilometer of the trek. On the left side in the picture there are stairs.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

As I started climbing the stairs, I climbed 30+ stairs (I was counting) for first two times before taking the rest. Then this count came down to 20+ and then it was 15. I was counting the 15 stairs and stopping. It was getting difficult and I think it was because of the reduced oxygen level, I was getting out of my breath very easily, and the rain just added a cherry on the top of difficulty. I wanted to count the no. of stairs but forgot my count in between as I just wanted to climb up anyhow. And after almost one hour of climb, I reached my destination. I could see the Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib right in front of me. The Kund (Pond) is just besides the Gurudwara Sahib. Hemkund literally means the Pond (Kund) of Snow (Hem) but it was the summer time so there wasn't any snow in the Kund.

Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

I straight away went near the Kund. People were bathing and when coming out of the Kund, they were shivering. The water was ice cold. I wanted to go and take a dip in the Kund but I also wanted myself to stop and eventually I took my clothes off and went near the Kund. It was raining so my body was already feeling the cold which was just a warm up for the big game :D. And there I step into the Kund and felt like, umm I don't know how I felt like, I've never felt this much of cold before. I went into the Kund and took a dive, then another, then another, and so I took 5 dives at once and I was shivering a lot, that's when I stopped. I wanted to take more now, but because I had stopped once I couldn't make myself go again and immediately came out of the Kund, shivering. Immediately I put my clothes on. I put all my clothes as fast as I can because I felt that cold might catch my body. My right feet and thumb of right hand were getting numb now. Somehow, my right feet regained life still feeling extra cold than my body but I my thumb movement got restricted.

Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib; Hemkund (Pond of Ice); Lakshman Temple (In right corner painted in Blue)

Photo of Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Hemkund, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

After taking holy bath in the Kund, I went inside the Gurudwara. There were blankets inside the Gurudwara to save one from cold. I immediately took two blankets and find a spot to sit and rolled one blanket onto my back and the other one was on my legs. I kept my stuff inside my bag and start rubbing my feet and my hand as much as I could. My foot regained its life completely and my thumb was better than before. Afterwards, I listened to Satsang and it was amazingly satisfying.

People sitting with blankets rolled around

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

I was there till Ardaas and indulged myself into the Gurbani (Gur - Guru, the teacher; Bani - Baani, the sayings; Gurbani - the sayings of the Guru) and after having Karah Prasad I came out and went for Langar. I've had Khichdi at Langar at it was hot and so good in taste. The Khichdi was being served in Steel bowls which completely brought my thumb back. I had two bowls of Khichdi and quickly visited the Laxman Temple which also resides here. And then by 11:30, I was ready to leave.

There are seven Sikh Flags that have been placed on seven ridges around Gurudwara Hembkund Sahib. Due to fog they weren't clearly visible. I could spot only five of them and in camera, they weren't visible at all.

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Looking down from Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

While descending, I didn't took the stairs as the rainfall has increased and uneven, so I didn't feel that stairs would be safe enough. I took the regular path. Due to the rainfall, the flow was increased wherever there was a waterfall. And at most of the places the water was flowing onto the path. To cross these kind of water flows, people have kept stones in between which were serving easy crossing. It was water, water and water everywhere. By almost 1'o clock, I reached Ghangaria and collected my stuff from the cloak room of Gurudwara Gobind Dham, didn't stop for anything else and kept going for further descend.

Water on the trek - Guy fumbled

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

Another Water Crossing

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani

My raincoat died and I had to purchase a new one and I also learned to keep my permanent raincoat or poncho with me. People who were going up were having more trouble. The water was running all over the trek. Now, I also felt water reaching inside of the shoes. I could feel the wet socks now. At around 4 PM, the rain stopped for a while and I was almost 9 kilometers away from Gobindghat. And it took me further two hours to reach Phulna. And here I again met the three guys who paid for my entry in VOF. From Phulna, we all took taxi to reach Gobindghat which took almost 20-25 minutes to reach Gobindghat. And in next fifteen minutes we booked a room in a hotel which cost us only 600 INR for the room and the room was big enough to accommodate all of us at once. So by 7 PM we were in our room and the view from the room was lovely. We refreshed ourselves and went for the dinner in a restaurant and straightaway went to sleep. It didn't took much time to sleep because we were all tired. But in the end I would say, this all tiredness was amazingly worth it. We've been to an amazing journey and encountered such beauty and nature that I can have goosebumps any day remembering it. It was so much lovely. And yes, I definitely slept like a baby.

We woke up at around 6'o clock in the morning and other three persons have booked their bus for Delhi and their departure from Gobindghat was at 7. So, they left hotel to catch their bus and I left to go to Gurudwara first before leaving. Thereafter I got to know due to heavy rainfall in last two days there has been a landslide yesterday on the road to Badrinath and Mana (last village of India) and the road was closed. So, I thought for once that I should get going back to Gurgaon now. Then I inquired a bit and someone told me that vehicles have been coming so the road is open and then I didn't think for once and started my journey towards Mana at around 8'o clock which is almost 30 kilometers from Gobindghat.

At parking. Behind me is the terrain of Gobindghat. On the left there's a path that is going towards Gurudwara Gobindghat. On the right, the bridge from where the trek starts. I'm rapping here :p

Photo of Valley of Flowers and Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib - Road Trip plus Trekking by Hitesh Bhutani
Day 5

After 3 days of trekking of almost 70 kilometers I was riding. Badrinath is at a height of 3000 meters and Gobindghat is at 1800, so there was a good descend on road and as I moving ahead the temperature was dipping. Although the temperature was easily bearable but yes it was dipping. I was having a great time while riding till I moved almost 10 kilometers from Gobindghat. There was a landslide which happened just 10 minutes ago when I reached. So, I inquired and got to know that it might take almost 2-3 hours to clear it. So, I had to turn back as I had to reach Gurgaon by next morning. This was saddening for me and I was disappointed but soon the amazing ride in the mountains took it all away.

Vehicles waiting for the landslide to clear. It was just after next turn and happened 10-15 minutes before I arrive.

Photo of Govindghat, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

After almost two hours of drive it started raining. There were signs of landslides at some places too. But I didn't have to stop anywhere because of it. The drive was going amazing till I crossed Rudraprayag and at one corner I had to apply harsh brake to save myself getting hit by a car coming from the other side and due to wet road rear tire slipped and I've had an accident. I was wearing all my gear except my gloves and because of that my palm of both hands got scratched by the road else I didn't have any injury. As for my Bullet, left rear mirror broke, leg guard was slightly dislocated, front light mirror got major scratches but was working. So, now I've had 400 kilometers to cover, injured palm of both hands and fortunately ride in working condition with one or two issues. I decided to keep going as I thought that I would be able to make it. I was having a bit of issue while holding the handle but then I operated it with my fingers and thumb. And my journey went on.

By 3:30 PM, I reached Devprayag, where I stopped to encounter the beautiful confluence of Alkananda and Bhagirath river. Rishikesh was now almost 80 kilometers away and I was getting late so I decided not to stop for long had only 5-10 minutes halt. By almost 5:30 I reached Rishikesh. I crossed Laxman Jhula first and then Ram Jhula and I was almost out of the mountains. On the other hand. the sun still have had time to set, so I decided to make it to Gurgaon. If it were late, I would have stayed in Rishikesh. By 6'o clock in the evening I was out of Rishikesh and were on my way to Gurgaon.

Confluence of Bhagirath and Alkananda. The Grey color is of Alkananda river and the Blue color is of the Bhagirath river

Photo of Devprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Hitesh Bhutani

I took a break near Meerut to have my dinner at around 10 PM. And after crossing amazing no. of trucks somehow I reached Delhi by 11:30 in the night. Crossing Delhi also wasn't an easy task and it took me almost one hour. And I reached at my home at around 1 in the night. I still have had bare hands with their palms scratched and surprisingly it didn't hurt at all. I wasn't tired before entering Delhi, but now I was so badly tired and was in need of sleep. So, I went to bed straightaway. My journey ended with me doing the bandage in the morning. Here's a picture of me with bandage on my hand:

Next Day in my Office during my birthday celebration

Photo of Gurgaon, Haryana, India by Hitesh Bhutani

Conclusion: It has been one of the most amazing journeys of my life and I'm never forgetting even a second of it. It will stay forever in my heart.

Everything you need to know about this trek before going:

Don't through garbage around.

Don't leave any polybag anywhere.

Everything else is here:

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