Everyone has a dream..but life is not a bed of roses that we can easily get through..(exceptions may b there)..but def not for me!!
I had dreams of going to Valley of flowers for more than 3yrs..but due to my weight couldn't take the step. Then i had my knee ligament surgery last year (May 2016)... that time all my dreams got washed off.
But God is kind to me... Got a mentor who guided me and i lost 13kgs in 3months time and that bought me back to think abt this trek to Valley of flowers.. And luckily saw the first ladies grp by Trek the himalayas (trekthehimalayas.com) n immediately booked without a second thought! And finallyyyyyy... i DID IT!! Though trek was difficult for me..i was the last in the group..our trek leader supported me n so did my lovely gang.. Cheers to the gang! Now im proud of myself ????????and know my strength..!!!
About the Trip.. Trip was from 22nd July to 26th July 2017
Day1: Haridwar to JoshimathDay2: Govindghat to Ghangaria Day3: Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers to Ghangaria Day4: Ghangaria to Hemkund to Ghangaria Day5: Ghangaria to Govindghat to Joshimath Day6: Joshimath to Haridwar
After reaching Haridwar railway station, our group met outside. There were 2 vehicles and 11 of us. Immediately started our journey to Joshimath. On the way had stopped for breakfast and lunch.
It was really long hours of travel. But did not get bored as was delighted to see lush green cover, small villages along the road, ravishing waterfalls and gushing rivers while the cloud cover rested above the peaks and offered a beautiful feast to my eyes. My vision was soaked in the Himalayan beauty as I kept staring outside the window and clicked pictures.
We reached our hotel at Joshimath and refreshed ourselves. Then had a meeting with our Trek Leader Kavitha. We all introduced ourselves and then had a brief idea about our trekking. Many of us were beginners and had no idea of how the trek will go on. We all were excited. Finally after the discussions, we had our dinner and went to sleep as it was very tiring day. And the next day we had to get up and start our Trek.
Our day started at 5 AM for the tea. We had tea and packed our backpack and also the lunchbox and water bottles with some snacks and our trekking pole. At 6 AM we had our breakfast and by 7 AM we all were set for the new day. Then sat in the vehicle to reach Govind Ghat, the entrance for the trek. It took around 40mins to reach there. The morning view of the nature was refreshing and fantastic. The mountains, clouds, rivers, horses.. any picture cant justify what the eyes see!
At the entrance we have to give our name, emergency contact number and they issue a card which you have to keep till you come back. If you dont have trekking pole, you get trekking sticks here for Rs 50/-. Some of us opted for porter service for our bags.. through mules. And then our trek begins after a group selfie ;)
The first phase of the trek was simple.. the path was laid and ups and downs. We enjoyed the walk watching the beautiful nature. It started raining too. Clicking pictures, gossips, taking rest in between.. everything went on well till lunch break. After lunch, the way was little steep and was little difficult for few of us. People who were fit had no issues.. They were walking normally. Finally reached Gangaria base camp and it took almost 6hrs.
When we reached Deepak hotel where we stayed for 3 days. We got our bags and rooms. Refreshed ourselves and our trek leader made us do few exercises that made our body relax. Then had hot tea and snacks. All were so tired that we had early dinner and end of the day.
Dreams of many people.. Valley of Flowers! Finallyyy the day has come!! All were super excited and after the breakfast, packed our lunch box and water bottles and backpacks and started our trek.
The morning view of the place was heaven.. The start itself was little steep but way was properly laid. No mules go this side. If people cant walk, they can opt for Doli service of a Basket service. Doli is where 4 people carry and Basket is where one person carries you in a basket on his head. On a serious note, when you see them carrying people in such a place, heart goes for them. Some say its livelihood for them but felt no humanity. Sad to see that!! But thats life.. it goes on!!
The Trek to Valley of Flowers is definitely not an easy one. The actual Trek starts after crossing the bridge on Pushpawati river. The pictures on google shows a lovely path but in actual when we go there its all rocky and ups and downs. Upon that this is a monsoon trek and it was raining. We never know the next step how it would be. One has to have the will power and stable pace when trekking. Even though the trek leader may keep saying "Chalo chalo" "keep moving" and your fellow mates would have gone so much further, please dont loose hope on yourself and just think of walking at your pace as you only know your limit to push further. Take their words in positive way and move on. And Trekking is never a race... just enjoy the beauty of nature and keep walking and walking!!
There were moments when I used to curse myself for coming all the way and kept saying "Why the hell have i come here to take such a pain.. it was better to sit at home and see the pictures on Google". Trust me.. it was not only me who thought this, but many others too (we honestly confessed when we went back). But at the end, all the pain was worth going there! :)
After an hectic walk (for me) reached the Valley of Flowers!! It is definitely a Heaven!! I had a long walk and when some people said its the same flowers everywhere, just stopped and enjoyed the place. The cool breeze, chirping birds, flowers moving in the wind, the mountains, the clouds, the drizzle and of course the valley full of green carpet with yellow, purple, blue, pink shades of flowers, the butterflies, the bees.... what else can be asked here.. Sat on a rock for few moments and enjoyed the realy beauty of the valley.
After clicking pictures of the valley and selfies with frds, me and my 2 frds sat on the rock facing the valley view and had our lunch there.. Unforgettable and the best moment!! The beauty of this cant be explained in words.. it can just be felt!
After this, we had hot tea there bought by our trek leader and then started to descend. It starting raining. I was carrying my DSLR and it was not advisable if you are planning to take.. unless its less weight and you can handle it. And in rains you cant even click any picture with that!! Better carry less and enjoy. click with your mobiles or gopro!
Coming down was even more difficult as stones were little slippery and the main reason being FEAR. But somehow came down safely. The satisfaction of seeing your dream fulfilled says it all. Some sort of peace and happiness is filled inside you... that YOU have Done it!!!
After reaching back to base camp..did our exercises to relax the body then had hot tea, soup and early dinner. We were lucky to find a massage boy named Soham Singh and wonderful leg massage he does for 15mins. It is much needed for the legs.
At night, few were confused if they can go for Hemkund trek as body was damn tired. And if they could do as its higher altitude. Few opted for mule service due to health issues.
Had a good discussion abt how the day went and about the next day plans and all retired to sleep.
Next day morning back with 5,6, 6.30.. ie 5am tea, 6am breakfast, 6.30 ready for trek!!! 2 opted for mule and others started walking.. It was the same way as to Valley of flowers..but in middle theres a diversion and another way goes to Hemkund sahib gurudwara. All started of with slow pace as it was really steep and few of us felt breathless after 2km itself. 3 of us took horses in between as it seemed difficult and the rest walked up. I felt thankful that I took horse else wouldnt have made it... as I was very slow and would have taken hours to walk up.
The view was mindblowing and as nearing to the place, we could see many flowers. The queen of flowers Blue poppy and Brahmakamal, the state flower of Uttarakand..and many colorful flowers. The place was covered with clouds by the time we reached. We could hardly see the full Hemkund lake or the Gurudwara nor the snowcapped mountains behind Gurudwara..as we can see on google pictures.It was freezing there.. and we were surprised seeing people taking dip in the holy Hemkund water near the gurudwara. We went inside and prayed. Sat for sometime and had prasadh. There is a Laxman temple (Sri Ramas brother) next to Gurudwara. Then came to langar and had hot tea with hot khichdi. Due to rain and clouds nothing was visible clearly. Then we started out to descend.
It was really cold and beautiful. We can enjoy the getting down as it was easy... watching, clicking all the flowers doesnt show any pain at all. Again some feeling of happiness when you are out of the world into the nature. Its truly a blessing!
Back to the hotel happy and tired, we all gathered up to talk about how the day went. After dinner, packed up things as next day have to get back to Gangaria... The bags can be sent through mule, if opted for.
All were finally very happy and satisfied that we had been to our dream place!
Morning after breakfast, tea we started out walking down back to Gangaria. It was raining and we actually took time to walk down and be with nature too. Clicking pictures that we missed while going up.. group pics, selfies,etc carried on. By evening we reached Gangaria and got into our vehicles to reach Joshimath.
Back to hotel.. had hot tea and some snacks. Few went for ropeway cable to see Auli.
Then had a gathering to collect our certificates from Trek the Himalayas.. shared our views with each other, had a gud dinner. Thanked the staff. Had some fun time with all and packed up things as next day we had to leave back to Haridwar.
After tea, bid bye to our trek leader and each other. Got into the vehicles and by evening back to Haridwar station.
Ends the Trek .. :) with a happy happy feel!!
During the trek, met few people with diverse talents..especially, a 55+ year old uncle, who was a frequent trekker and had done base camp to Everest, listening to his stories, I felt, so dead at what I was doing and there is so much I can do with my life, work necessarily doesn't have to take front seat in life and with just little endeavor you can answer every call that excites you and at that point I knew I have got what I wanted from my trek.!!!!
Now, if you are planning for this trek.. some useful informations:
ATM is lastly available at Joshimath Warm clothes, gloves, cap. Be prepared for rains and carry a good rain gear The number of flowers you see in the Valley of flowers are based on the season you go, each week could be different. And, don't expect anything like what you see in the morphed pictures of this place! You can acclimatize well with your daily ascend. No need to rely on medicines like Diamox This trek is quite suitable for people who have are beginners. This trek is well equipped in terms of logistics. (Connectivity, mules, well laid treks, helicopter services, etc.) For people who don't want take up the climb to Hemkund Sahib, mules are easily available Good walking/hiking shoes are must. You can extend your stay and visit Badrinath, Mana and Auli. Don't be scared of landslides, they are usual in this terrain and most of them are harmless. It is more hyped than you think. Mobile network is not that good. only BSNL works. but there are few shops nearby where they charge Rs 10 per min for a call. ISD is Rs 70 per min. Dont carry heavy things for the trek. just enjoy the walk in the nature!HAPPY TREKKING.. BE SAFE AND ENJOY!!