I stood on the top of a rock and looked around
Surrounded by mountains and a valley below
I pinched myself to be sure
Reality or dreams galore
I asked myself the question
“Tell me what do you feel?”
The world moves around me
And I am here standing hypnotized
I have often dreamt of this place
Of mountains, rivers and flowers
Birds chirping, winds gushing and clouds
To be in unison with nature
My feelings on the trip: (26th August-2nd September)
As I stepped on the train I saw an Old Man sitting by the window. For the entire journey he did not speak a word but still had an impact on me probably because of the quiet. Quietness and tranquility is how I would categorize my trip. Mountains have often been a symbol of quiet, calm, lull and peace for me not because they are so but it is how I am there.
There have been moments in my life when I have reached a place with tears in my eyes. You know too much beauty can do that to you. I had an awe-inspiring moment at Valley of flowers, on a trail with flowers on either side I realized that I was at 3658m with flowers on my side; I had a right to feel so. A thing of beauty cannot be captured on camera, you have to take a moment out and just feel it, capture it in your eyes and whenever you feel low in life, go back to this high point, and it will make you feel better.
I was doing both the treks for second time and it never felt like I have been here before for in the mountains everything is in motion. On my first day I saw Deoriatal fully covered by clouds as if the clouds themselves couldn’t stop from meeting the green fresh waters of the lake. When I woke up the next morning I could see the reflection of the snow capped mountains on the lake, you know the mountains also need to reflect and feel good about them from time to time. I was at valley of flowers in 2013 amidst the Uttrakhad debacle and I had somehow managed to come out of the place safe. Nature took away a lot of villages in its wrath and everything seemed so changed here for the better, only time will tell.
What a desolate place would
Be a world without a flower!
It would be a face without a smile
A feast without a welcome
Some valuable facts
Altitude: 2438 m,7996 ft
Base Point: Saree Village
Distance from Delhi to Saree- 430 kms
Trek Type: 3km from base- Easy
Carry you own tents or rent in the dhaba at the top
Excellent food at the dhaba on top- Contact person-Surinder – 8958329376, 9410367921
Charges: 150 bucks for Indian Nationals and 600 for Foreign Citizens plus 50 for each tent
Network:Idea and Airtel
Valley of flowers Trek
Altitude: 3658m, 12000 ft
Distance from Delhi to Govindghat-559km
Trek type-14km to Ghangharia(base for Hemkund and VOF trek)- Entire distance 42km to and fro – Difficult
Carry your own tents or rent a hotel at Ghangharia. Highly recommend food at Hotel Himalaya
Charges: 150 bucks for Indian Nationals and 600 for Foreign Citizens
Timings:No entry post 2 pm
Network: Idea and Cellone
As I stepped into the metro to board the 11 am train to Haridwar, I had a Bagpack, Sleeping bag and a tent on my shoulders and I looked like an outcast amidst the well dressed people going to their workplace. I had a good mountaineering book,”No shortcuts to the top”, which I kept reading amidst occasional glares of my fellow passengers. Honestly it felt good to be on the road again to be soon traveling with friends. Meeting my friends at Nizamuddin station was joy, especially the fact that our plan was made a day back and we all were here.We did not have prior bookings and still we entered the sleeper compartments and later bribed the TT. Train rides are always fun in India and we had our share of crappy food and tea devoid of milk, we were a happy bunch, these things did not matter. Getting down at Haridwar I realized that in my plenty of trips to this place, this was the first time I was seeing the railway station. We reached Rishikesh and then to Bohemian Café on the Ram Jhoola side. This was a known place and we were welcomed as friends. Over a lot of live music , food, moonlight Ganges , the night flew by.
With sleepy eyes we tried to catch our pre booked bus at 5 am to Rudraprayag. Our dreams of sleeping in the bus were shattered as the bus was a mini version of a lorry which took us with its swings and turns on the road, all concepts of Centripetal force and Momentum flashed in my eyes even though we tried our best to sleep. India and its small pleasures never fails to excite me.Anyways we managed to reach Saree village where we were welcomed by Anil Negi( 9458912960), owner of a dhaba at the base and an acquaintance. We took our shower and food and were ready for the 2.5 km trek.
Just infront of the dhaba is the gate to Deoriatal. You have to enter through a gate and then a pre defined stepped concrete trail takes you to the top. Around half a Km is a Shiva temple which can be your first rest point. The baba here was the same as the previous time though he had lost a bit of weight.
As you start from the temple, you have to keep following the trail and there will be two rest points with chairs on the way. This is an ideal place for evening snacks and a hot tea (Remember to use the dustbins and don’t leave your cups on the table)
Resting and rejoicing our party managed to reach Deoriatal and we were welcomed by something you can see below, the clouds touched the water. There were no people there so we had a plenty of space to camp. However during the season you may find a lot of people camping here.
We had decided to explore the place the next day and take small hikes. We talked at the dhaba and made friends with Surinder bhai as he made a delicious dinner for us. The night was windy with a lot of thunder and showers. We still managed to get sleep even though from time to time it felt that our camp would fly off.We woke up to clear skies and it stayed so for the entire trip. The view of the snow capped mountains took our breath away. I stood there for half an hour just enjoying the view.
There is a small water source which can be used for drinking and other purposes. Lighting of campfire and swimming in the lake is not allowed. You can follow a trail and climb up a tower which gives you a mesmerizing view of the snow capped peaks. We took a small trek from the Dhaba to click some videos and get a view from the top. We found some peaceful time to read and write amidst some amazing ever changing views of the mountains and clouds
Deoriatal gives you a good view of the following peaks : Chaukambha, Kedardoma, Meru and Sumer peaks
It is the base point for a lot of interesting treks: Bisoriatal, Kalishikha, Madmaheshwar, Rohini bugyal, Chopta and Rudranath
We had a peaceful sleep and the next morning it was time to bid good bye to the place. We had a different view of the lake. As we decended the village was waking up to a new day of joy and we too for the next bit of adventure.
As I mentioned in the beginning I took a different route to Govindghat via Chopta,Chamoli,Joshimath. This route is worth mentioning because it will take your breath away. On a clear day driving on this narrow road can be an adventure. Thankfully this time I was on a cab and could watch the scenery around with freedom. We had a cup of tea near Chopta and then once crossing Chopta, we were mesmerized by the mere beauty of the road. Mountains studded with clouds had their own story to tell while we could not resist the temptation to stop and enjoy a waterfall by the road. We reached Govindghat at late in the evening and stayed at Bharat Hotel(9711848463), right at the bridge to Valley for flowers. The hotel was newly constructed and the facility was ok. However do not take the hotel by the same name at Joshimath as it sucked bigtime.
We started the trek next day and took it very easy. As soon as you cross the bridge , you are greeted by a big sign board which welcomes you to Valley of flowers. There is checkpost here where you have to register.There have been instances of people lost and a lot of bear stories goes around, so stay together in groups.
There is a 3km road to the nearest village named pullu.One can take a shared cab for 30 bucks and then trek for the remaining 11kms. As we were in the trekking mode, we decided to trek this route as well and click a few pics on the way. Ghangaria is situated at the confluence of the rivers Bhyundar Ganga and Pushpawati.There are a lot of dhabas on the way and one can just relax anywhere. You will see a river flowing towards your right and at about a km from Bhyundar village you will come to the base of the river. We spent a good time at the river and enjoyed the cold. Do dip your leg in the river and compete on who can keep it for the longest, it is a fun game for the place.
We had a meal of parathas and started the trek to ghangheria. This is one treacherous part of the trek physically but equalized by the beauty around. The best advice for this part is to keep walking slowly and find solace in the nature. This is the part where everyone going up would ask you the eternal question on how far and you reply to them not in distance but in time. You will start seeing the yellow flowers on the way which will give you an idea of what is store for the next day.
Again we were the only one camping and we found a wonderful place near the helipad and let our selves loose.Tired from the day of trek we ate the whole food at The Himalaya Hotel.
Next day we started our trek for valley of flowers. You need to walk up on the road to the hotels at Gangaria. You cross the hustle and bustle of the place to the common route for valley of flowers.At about half a km of steep climbing you can see the borad welcoming you to valley of flowers. You take this road and move ahead where again at a security check you have to register yourself and make the payments. The pass for this trek is valid for 3 days and it is a good idea to roam around for the three days. Once again you cannot enter this park beyond 2 pm.
Once passing the check post , you are about to enter into one of the most beautiful locations in the world.All you can do is stand and watch and capture as much as you can in your memory. You can find a lot of variety of flowers and probably doing a trip with a botany expert would really do you good.For me the entire part from here was amazing, the river, the waterfall, the almost vertical peaks, a view of the valley far off and clouds at places was hypnotizing. We spent a good 5-6 hours and enjoyed the place at ease.
We had to return back the same day and we did a marathon return in record 3 hours. We booked a cab to Joshimath and next day a bus to haridwar(390 bucks).An amazing thing happened when the bus driver took us through the entire Rajajji National park, a perfect end to a beautiful trip.
Wrote a few lines on the trip and probably apt to post here
Look at the Mountains
Probably in a time lapse
From color to clouds
Everything cries for a change
Of permanence to impermanence
Look within you and once again at the surroundings
What does this breeze changing directions speaks to you
“You change you life by changing your heart”