This guide shall help you to reach Valley of Flowers.
To reach Valley of Flowers, you need to reach Ghangaria, a small village that comes to life in the tourist season only. Rest of the time its snow covered. Consider Ghangaria as your base camp. VoF starts from a Big Rock landmark, approximately 5KM from Ghangaria.
The journey shall be divided into 4 Parts
- Reaching Govindghat
- Govindghat to Ghangaria
14 KM trek up the hill
- Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers
- Inside Valley of Flowers
Upto 8 Km
Do not attempt these:
Govindghat – Ghangaria- VoF on the same day.
Govindghat – Ghangaria – Hemkund on the same day
Ghangaria – Hemkund – Ghangaria – Govindghat on the same day
VoF – ghangaria – Govindght would be possible only if you cut short VoF
- Reaching Govindghat
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Geo Loaction: 30.6241N, 79.5581E
If you wish to stay in Govindghat at night, You can reach here easily leisurely.
If you wish to leave for Ghangaria same day, You should reach by 3PM.
Horses don’t go after 4PM, that too would be bit rare.
Govindghat is Sikh pilgrimage place because of Hemkund Sahib. People going to Hemkund Sahib also need to go to Ghangaria as road bifurcates a Km after Ghangaria. So the pilgrims, too need to need to reach Ghangaria by night.
Unless you have your own vehicle, you need to reach Joshimath and change vehicle.
To reach Joshimath from Rishikesh, you can either opt for bus, shared taxi/jeep(usually sumo) or hire a car. Buses would charge around 250, shared taxi around 400 and entire cab would cost you around 4000-5000. If you wish to reach Ghangaria in one day(same day on which you leave Rishikesh), do not opt for bus, instead take a taxi(shared or hired) and leave by 5AM. If you go during rains, do find out about Landslides road blockade.
If you come to know that there’s a landslide, and the road is blocked, find out if they are “transmitting’ people.( No its not teleport). It means you cross the landslide blockade on foot and take another taxi from there to the next landslide and so on and so forth till you reach your destination.
You can even change shared taxis enroute if you do not get direct taxi. Like what I did -
Withdraw money at Rishikesh or Srinagar. Do not rely on ATMs beyond that.
Carry some packed food to save yourself in case of a severe landslide blockade.
Once you reach Joshimath, quickly have lunch if you want to reach Ghangaria same day. Theres nice restaurant on right hand side, on first floor. Though it looks costly, it isn’t that costly. This is the last point you get Non-veg food. Beyond Joshimath you won’t get Non-veg food.
Shared taxis to Govindghat ply from the other end of the city. Walk to the other end. Take a taxi. If you re getting late, if taxi takes late to fill up, you may pay for the vacant seats and move on faster.
It takes 40 Minutes to reach Govindghat. Once you reach Govindghat, head for the river bridge. All along the road, you have lots of hotels and lodges. If you do not wish to trek to Ghangaria the same day, take a hotel else move the bridge.Its just before the river bridge where you will find the Gurudwara. Free cloakroom service is available. Deposit any unwanted things there itself. Keep the receipt properly
- Govindghat To Ghangaria
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No motor vehicles can go beyond Govindghat. From Govindghat, you have two options. Either trek the entire 14 KM or Take mule/horse. If you are scared to trek because of your bag, you can hire porter for your luggage. Porter charges almost same as horses. For people who are scared of Walking as well as horses, you can hire a palanquin. And people who are scared of walking, scared of horses and can’t use a palanquin, you can go for helicopter service by Deccan which drops you 1KM before Ghangaria. Helicopter service is on the main road.
Buy the local JUGAAD raincoat if its rainy season. Buy a Stick if you will be walking. Buy a torch if you start after 3PM.
Don’t buy a Stick if you will be running.
If you take horse, keep something soft under your butt. Horse/Mule can lose balance and drop you off its back. Can be injurious.
If you are walking, refill your water bottle at Gurudwara. Avoid unwanted pollution.
First 2.5 Km is tough ride and only after around 2Km, you’ll find something to eat. Parle-G of Rs5 would initially cost Rs7 and will cost 15 in Ghangaria. Same happens with lemonade. Rate of food items increase as you go further. You will find shortcuts, use them cautiously.
Do not eat lot, keep drinking water. If you want to reach fast, try running when up the hill. Be cautious when the route is downhill. Downhill speed automatically would increase. Rest is commonsense.
You will reach a village called Bhyundar. The KM marking round that place deceptive. You’ll virtually end up walking 0.5 KM which won’t be counted as per the KM MileBOARDS(not stones )
After the village, you’ll encounter a huge water gushing on your right side. Walk cautiously there. Next you’ll cross the river and immediately the ascend increases. Before you reach Ghangaria, you’ll see the helipad on your left and after that, the Pony Stand. When you enter the Village, you’ll notice that its just one street with hotels/lodges/shops dotted along it. So if you are in group, and someone reaches before others, chances of getting lost is minimized. Yes, there’s no mobile network or you can find Weak erratic signals of IDEA and BSNL. I took the hotel just opposite the Forest Dept office where they show documentary on VoF every evening. If you reach before 6PM do watch the video. Ghangaria has lots of place to sty for the pilgrims
- Ghangaria To Valley of Flowers
Valley of Flowers is actually a valley not a park. So there’s no distinct mark as to where the flowers start. Officially the Forest Department has marked a Big rock where they say the actual valley starts. That place is around 4.5Km from Ghangaria. The Ticket counter is round 1Km from Ghangaria. It opens at 7 AM so be there at 7.
In the hotel, the hotel staff will wake you up at 4:30 unless you warn him not to. They do because mostly people go to Hemkund Sahib and they need to wake early to reach on time.
You can easily wake at 6. Click some early morning beautiful pics and move with the crowd towards Hemkund. Approximately a KM later, the trek route to VoF turns left. Next you would find the ‘Welcome Gate’. Thats where you need to buy tickets.
Buy tickets read maps and move on. Don'’t waste time clicking lots of pics tell you reach the big rock. More than 80% of the flowers are repeated inside the valley and the rest 20% you can click on your return journey. That way your return won’t be boring. Moreover the more deep you go inside the valley, the better would be your trip. So keep moving.
Soon you would find the hollow tree. After that the track goes downhill to a river bridge. After that, the road goes up the hill.
Next you would find a so-called glacier on the right. Use your brain if you want to walk on it. I did, but cautiously.
Get ready to click once the big rock is in sight. You’ll find a tin-wood bridge. This is where the VoF begins. Rest a while under the big rock before you begin the real part of the trip.
In the map above, the ‘30.7054’ mark at the bottom is the place where the road to VoF bifurcates.
The second lat long mark on top is the place where the Big rock is. That is where the Valley begins.
The ‘Valley of Flowers’ mark is the place where you should go.
- Inside Valley of Flowers.
This is where your memory of the Map you read at the ticket counter would come in use.
Follow the track as it goes. After the third stream, the road bifurcates to the Lady’s grave.
Track to right goes down to the river via the Lady’s grave. Do go upto the river.
The straight track goes to more deep places to Valley of Flower.
Go where you wish to.
Do not cross the stream if the flow is too strong. It can be dangerous.
Do what you want.
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