Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar)

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Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) 1/1 by Neha Rajpal

It was a couple of months since I last took off on my solo adventure. The travel bug kept nudging me to hit the road yet again, and so I finally decided to trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib followed by a trip to the holy town of Badrinath and end with the famous Ganga Arti at Haridwar.

This journey full of adventure, risk and spirituality is sketched out for all you wanderers. Go and live it for yourself!!

Day 2

Auli– Govinghat – Ghangaria

The morning surprised us with views to die for. The expanse of the never ending Himalayas and apple orchards everywhere took our breath away. The cottage owner was kind enough to let us pluck 2 apples each. After breakfast we packed our bags and left for Govindghat, the starting point of our trek, approx. one hour drive from Auli.

At Auli

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal

From Govindghat, there are three options available to reach Ghangaria:

(i) Trek 13 kms straight from Govindghat to Ghagria

(ii) Drive further 2 kilometers into the Valley of Flowers National Park and trek the remaining 11 kilometers.

(iii) Avail Chopper service available at Govindghat and reach Ghangaria in less than 15 minutes.

The adventurer in us opted for Option 2. The journey was a comfortable one with plethora of small eateries on the way. Ghangria is full of guesthouses and eating joints. You won’t get network up there unless you’re using Idea network. However you have the option of making urgent calls through Satellite phones by paying Rs. 10 per minute.

Enroute Ghangaria

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal
Day 3

Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers

Early morning we started our 6 km trek to the Valley of flowers. The trail was quite interesting. We walked through dense forests and gradually entered into the Valley with small streams everywhere and an unending variety of flowers. It was absolutely stunning! We had a guide who introduced us to varied and unheard species of plants and their medicinal use. We clicked photos, had lunch in the Valley, spent some time introspecting and after a day well spent, headed back to Ghangaria.

Entering the Valley of Flowers!!

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal
Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal
Day 4

Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib

Today was the most awaited day of the journey as we headed towards one of the most important pilgrim places for Sikhs around the world. Hemkund Sahib is one of the highest located Gurudwaras in this world situated at a height of more than 15,000 ft above sea level where the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh is said to have meditated. The Gurudwara consists of a glacial lake surrounded by seven peaks.

Enroute Hemkund Sahib

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal

Here we had the option of either trekking 7 kms to the Gurudwara or in the alternate, take a pony (Mule). The trail was mostly well laid out for the convenience of thousands of pilgrims who visit the Gurudwara every year. The trek was definitely not an easy one but it was definitely worth the pain. Enroute, we witnessed the Bhramakamal flower which can only be found on high altitudes. As we reached the Gurudwara, the Lake was mostly covered by fog as the temperature dropped drastically. Upon arrival, we were served hot khichdi for langar and subsequently after dipping our feet in the pious lake, we attended the Ardaas at the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. The experience cannot be well explained in words as we were transported to another world while listening to the Prayers. Never did I feel the presence of the divine around me as powerfully as I did on that day.

At Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal

After spending a considerable amount of time up there, we started to descend to our campsite in Ghangria. We reached the campsite by early evening. We went to the Local eateries and enjoyed maggi and samosas with chai.

Day 5

Ghangaria to Govindghat to Badrinath

Early morning we started our descent from Ghangria and reached Govinghat in appox. 4 hours. From there we boarded a bus to travel to one of the Four dhams, a place of extreme religious significance called Badrinath situated between the Nar and Narayana Mountains.

Due to poor condition of roads and the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, connectivity with the holy town of Badrinath is quite difficult and risky. The area is prone to landslides due to lose hanging rocks and the bad weather adds to the risk. We somehow managed to reach Badrinath around afternoon and were stunned to see the scarce population in and around the temple premises.

Photo of Where divinity meets adventure (Valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib-Badrinath-Haridwar) by Neha Rajpal

We comfortably did our darshan and were keen to travel to Mana, the last village of India as well as the Bheema Pul. However, due to the bad weather, we decided to return to Auli. We reached Auli by late evening which brought us to the end of a wonderful adventure, however, the last stop of our religious trip was yet to arrive. We were all set to return to Haridwar the next morning and attend the famous Ganga Aarti in the evening.

Day 6

Auli to Haridwar

The return journey from Auli to Haridwar took us approximately 8 hours. Upon arrival, we were dropped at Har ki pauri where we attended the Ganga Aarti. The sight was mesmerizing as the sun started to set down and the gleam of the diyas flowing over the holy river lit the environs. The atmosphere was purified with the mantras being chanted by the pundits which inevitably calms and soothes the human soul.

This brought us to the end of a memorable, divine and an adventurous journey to yet another expanse of the grand Himalayas. Many more to come!

Day 1

Haridwar to Auli

I started by catching an overnight train from Delhi to Haridwar. Haridwar is also easily approachable by buses and Volvos running every hour from Kashmere Gate ISBT and Anand Vihar ISBT. After early morning arrival in Haridwar, I along with 12 other travel enthusiasts boarded our tempo traveler to Auli. The road journey was nothing less than a treat as we crossed the holy towns of Devprayag & Rudraprayag.

We decided to stay in Auli, a beautiful hill station popular for Skiing during the winter season. We reached Auli by late evening on Day 2. It was pitch dark and so we straightway headed to our cottages post dinner.

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