It was in the summer of 2004 when I first came across the beauty of the Valley of Flowers through a documentary displayed on Discovery Channel. I was spellbound by the heavenly landscape and my eyes had an unusual sparkle. I knew that very moment that exploring the valley had to be at top of my Things To Do list!
The years passed leaving me to sigh onto the unexplored dream. It was not until in 2012 summers that I got the amazing opportunity to live my dream through Wow Club. It had been about 2 weeks of working with WOW – Women on Wanderlust Club as an intern and on an afternoon I was asked whether I would like to accompany a group to VOF as a WOW Buddy. My eyes had the same spark and in no time I had given an enthusiastic and thrilled YES!
Finally the day of starting the journey arrived. The morning of 17th August was special and I was filled with the zing to explore! It took 3 days of travelling from Haridwar to Rudraprayag and finally Govindghat from where the trek was to start. Throughout the journey luck was on our side. It had been a hard monsoon season, blocking and damaging many hotels and routes. Still we managed to see many Sangams, the marvelous Badrinath temple and the Mana Village which officially is the Last Village of India. Pressing our luck paid off and we were allowed on the Mana pass to see the mysterious disappearance of the piercing Swaraswati river. Although the Himalayas were at their best; by this time I was saturated and was desperate to get on my feet and end the wait to witness the beautiful valley.
On the day 4, the real adventure began. A nice long 18 km trek awaited us! It took us all day to reach Ghangaria which was our base camp for next two best days of my life. Now I was at an attitude of 3049 meters and only 3 kms away from Valley of Flowers!
As the weather was rapidly changing we took a call to visit the Gurudwara on the highest altitude – Hemkund Sahib on the next day. After a steep climb of 14kms we were finally there. It felt like the perfect set up by nature.. the clouds hugging mountains, sweet gurubani sound flowing through the air, enchanting lake felt as if filled with the purest water, rare flowers blooming around (was lucky to found brham kamal!). It just took one step into gurudwara and all my tiredness vanished! It was an all new feeling.. I was in my calmest state of mind with no usual questions and curiosities bouncing in my mind ; at peace with myself and with the world. I was glad to have found one such place in the whole big world.
The next day we started off early towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site! The weather was supportive enough to give us a fairyland view. There were hundreds of flowers blooming all around the Valley. Our guide introduced us to amazing numerous flowers with their botanical names which were hard to remember then as well as now. It felt like a vast sea of pink flowers. The perfect place to be in. Air had the fresh sweet scent which eradicated all my worries, flowers at their best full bloom stage, the beautiful never ending trail which lead us into the valley and making the picture perfect was a rustling bustling baby river flowing through the valley! As we moved further into the valley, we discovered more and more – it got more beautiful with every step! It was also a perfect place for pro photographers. Being one, I couldn’t get enough of the valley! A click here, a click there was all that kept me engrossed! Afterall I wanted to capture it all and take it away with me. I was intrigued by all the flower show nature has restored for us – it was heaven down on earth. My eyes grew wider when I was told the amazing stories about the valley and how the valley changes its color every 20 days!
The spark in my eyes was still there after the trek and all throughout the way till I reached Delhi, even after I got back to my daily routine! Well till the time I was not engrossed in work and crunching numbers and memorizing formulas for my exams. But for me it just takes a glance at the pictures ; n I start reliving those amazing days and the spark is back again!