“Really? Has it been five years?”, was Abhey’s response to my comment that our five year anniversary was looming large. That reply disappointed me, but at the same time, it spurned me into action. That reply confirmed what I already knew but did not want to admit; our relationship had lost its luster
I browsed the internet for ideas to reignite the lost spark and the idea of an adventurous trip caught my attention. We had, after all, met on one such occasion. As I looked through the different adventure activities in India, treks seemed the most appropriate and one among them, the valley of flowers trek, seemed and sounded the most appropriate.
Averaging about a week, the trek cut through the Nanda Devi National Park. A world heritage site, the valley of flowers is bustling with well over 300 different species which includes the exquisite Blue Poppy as well as Brahamakamal, something that stirred the nature lover within me.
The valley is home to not only these radiant flowers but also thick forests of rhododendron and oak in which live diverse wildlife like red fox, Asiatic black bear and musk deer as well as the elusive snow leopard.
After much pushing and prodding, a reluctant Abhey took some time off from work and we made it to the valley during the monsoon months, just in time for the blooming season. With new flowers blooming every day, the valley of flowers seemed like it was alive, changing its looks and coloring itself anew every few hours.
Abhey’s grumpiness melted at the first sight of those rainbow colored hills and the trip only got better on from there on out. We hiked on stony roads that zig-zagged their way through the flowering meadows glowing in all colors from lemony yellow to snowy white.
Located at a comfortable altitude of 3650 meters, the valley of flowers trek is of moderate difficulty which explains why we had so many first-time hikers in our trekking group. We spent time socializing with the others but mostly kept to ourselves because this was time that we had taken out for each other.
We also explored Auli, a hill station that rivaled the valley in terms of appeal by its virtue of its alpine beauty. The group as a whole also visited the Badrinath temple and the Hemkund Sahib gurudwara, two places of worship, famous not only in Uttarakhand but all of India.
The two temples mesmerized us in much the same way the Garhwal Himalayan ranges seduced our senses with their crispy air and stunning vistas. None of these, however, came close to replicating the feeling we experienced when we first laid our eyes on the valley carpeted with flowers.
It instilled within us a sense of wonder and awe, unlike any we had experienced in a long time. As we held hands and sit amongst the flowers, we found joy within us and we found each other once again.