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A Trek to the Valley of Flowers
Posted on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:21:17 by Swairik Das
I wasn’t aware about the purpose of my life and for what I was born, and so I wanted to find it out. When I was thirteen, I for the first time got acquainted with the alluring heights of the Himalaya and from then onwards mountains became more familiar to me. Year after year I used to pay visit to different hill stations with my family and friends. It is very true that to reach those lofty heights of the Himalayan range don’t have any picky season. You may be welcomed by thundering storms even during the summers and you may even get to sight the distant snow-capped aureate pinnacles during the monsoons. The mountains never ditched me whether in the monsoons or during the summers, whether it was winter or it was spring but the Himalaya gifted me different experiences and lifetime moments.
[Picture: A view from the valley]
My first trek in the Himalaya though was a small one, when I was sixteen. It was the trek to Sandakphu, Darjeeling, in the autumn just after I spent my colorful days with my family during Durga Puja at Kolkata. Sandakphu, one of the mighty heights, other than Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, from where you can take a glimpse of the summit of Mount Everest and her family. Nevertheless, after the Sandakphu trek I had two further treks. The Pindari glacier trek, Uttaranchal, in of the month of May, 2007 and after joining Peak Adventure Tour I stepped on the beating track to the Valley of Flowers, Uttaranchal, in August, 2012 .
The mountains of Uttarakhand itself are abuzz with lots of exciting activities. Trekking is one such activity. From my childhood days I used to study these routes, read the reviews by the experts who reached those heights and used to save pictures from Google images and that made me day dream about those mountains which ultimately paved the way for me turning into a salubrious trekker, a mountain adorer. I was determined to conquer one of my dream treks in the Valley of Flowers.
I was all booted up, bought a new rucksack, shoes and the most precious thing… my new DSLR. Though this trek was organized by my company, I invited one of my childhood friends, who used to be my partner in crimes, to accompany me. I was really floored with laughter for the gift he bought for me, lastly some packets of Dairy Milk? Funny but this added like an extra flavor with packets of dry fruits I was carrying and made my dreamlike trail a princely trail.
A few hours of halt after reaching Rishikesh early in the morning, straight away we rushed along the slewed paths to Joshimath, the gateway to the Valley of Flowers, Hemkund, Auli and Badrinath, via Rudraprayag and Karnaprayag. The anxiety of the previous night spent in anticipation of the impending trek, hooted me up with excitement and reverence along with fear and presages. Awake yet with ebullience I was waiting for the clock to hit 4 am. And it ticked away. We were all set to hit the princely trail thence.
The cab dropped us at Govind Ghat, 1900 meters, the starting point of the trek, which is 20 km from Joshimath. I offered the driver a packet of dry fruits and told him, ‘enjoy it and till you finish we will surely return’. We were carrying one rucksack each which wasn’t that heavy and hence we didn’t bother to hire a porter or a mule for the trek. My heart was pounding and the same expression I could discover in my friend’s. I was simply lucky to get such a crazy company.
[Picture: Close to Ghangria]
Crossing the bridge over the Alakananda River, along its bank the sunny and shady trail led us to Ghangria, 3000m, en route to a gradual ascent and salubrious scenic beauty that made us busy with taking snaps. We were grateful for the pleasant climate and the bracing zephyr that kept us going up. The 14 km trek over the pebble bed wasn’t that exhausting, as I was made to believe, may be because we were better prepared for the trek. However, the trek to Ghangria that usually takes approximately 5-6 hours to reach, it took us five and half hours. We took the night halt at the Gurudwara and again I followed with another awaiting night re-capturing the moments from the clicks taken.
[Picture: Pilgrims on their way]
The salubrious climate on the way to the Valley of Flowers perked us up. The surrounding seemed exquisite and the cool breeze soothed us leaving behind a pleasant erotic charm. We were not at all mindful whether we were exploiting the nature or capturing the diorama but the harmonious nature accompanied us all the way to a small track along the edge of the valley where a stream meanders and there are small hard snow patches by the side. The trek along for a further couple of kilometers on the flat path and to our right opens up the valley. Crossing another rickety bridge and collecting water to drink from below.
[Picture: A view of Valley of Flower]
The colourful valley dotted with green, yellow, red and blue hemmed in between mountains with trees at the lower levels, brown and grey soil in the middle and white snow at the top. The bright sunny day bestowed a deep blue sky dotted with clouds completing the picture that took it beyond your besotted imagination. Deep in the valley we were welcomed by an amazing scent, which unfortunately cannot be captured but can only be felt. The valley extends from the spot a further 5-7 km more, up until the glacier visible at a distance.
[Picture: Variety of flowers]
[Picture: Variety of Flowers II]
If time had permitted us then we could have extended our trail to Hemkund, 4300m. Nonetheless my dream trail to Valley of Flowers didn’t end in regret. I don’t know whether I was emotionally attached to the valley but on my way back I carved these words on a rock, ‘I will return.’ And I actually kept my promise, re-visiting the trail to Hemkund in May 2014.
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