Valley of Flowers Trek
Trek conducted by 'India Hikes'
Duration: 6 days
Highest Altitude: 14,000 ft
- Day time: 12°C - 20°C
- Night time: 4°C - 10°C
Many tales are spun around the Valley of Flowers – usually about trekkers falling unconscious from the heavy scent of flowers on the valley floor. Whatever the stories, they do have a grain of truth in them, in a good way! It is rare to find a valley so full of flowers. Flowers bloom everywhere in a riot of colours – purple, yellow, white, pink… They blanket the valley in such a way that sometimes, you can’t see the valley floor at all!
Yet, to see the flowers, you need to time your trek correctly. In July and August, during monsoon, is the best time to do the trek. There might be a day or two of rain on the trek but the sight of flowers in full bloom makes up for any discomfort.
Polemonium caeruleum or Jacob’s ladder flower overlooking the Valley of Flowers. PC: Aparna Chiplunkar
Entering the Valley of Flowers. PC: Jeff Robson
What is included in the tour
- Taxes: Includes all costs of the trek from Govind Ghat to Govind Ghat. GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee.Includes all costs of the trek from Dhaula to Sangla, GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Govind Ghat to Govind Ghat). You will be staying in lodges on all days of the trek. Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers.
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Govind Ghat on Day 1 to breakfast at Govind Ghat on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Trekking permits – All trekking permits and forest entry charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – We provide ice axes, ropes, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Haridwar and drop you back from Govind Ghat. This will cost approximately Rs.6,000 for an SUV and Rs.9,500 for a Tempo Traveler. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and return from Govind Ghat.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 500 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Govind Ghat (Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax).
- Stay at Haridwar on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Day 1: Reach Govindghat; 11 hours drive from Haridwar. Transport will be organised from Haridwar Railway station at 6.30 am. The cab costs Rs.6,000 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.
Day 2: Drive from Govind Ghat (6,300 ft) to Poolna (7,200 ft). Trek to Ghangria (9,843 ft); 5-6 hours, 9 km + 4 km drive
Day 3: Ghangria (9,600 ft) to Valley of Flowers (11,500 ft) and back; 6 hours, 3.7 km each way
Day 4: Ghangria (9,600) to Hemkund Sahib (14,107 ft) and back; 8-9 hours, 6 km each way
Day 5: Trek from Ghangria (9,600 ft) to Poolna (7,200 ft). Drive to Govind Ghat (6,300 ft); 4 hours, 9 km trek + 4 km drive
Day 6: Depart from Govind Ghat. You will reach Haridwar between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm. The cab costs Rs.6,000 for an SUV and Rs.9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.
Please note: The stay on all days of this trek will be in lodges. You will not be camping in tents.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
How to get Base camp Govind Ghat
Delhi → Haridwar → Govind Ghat
Govind Ghat is a small town 20 kms from Joshimath. Joshimath is a city, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is the gateway to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of flowers. Take an overnight train from Delhi to Haridwar. We will organise pick-up vehicles from Haridwar railway station at 6:30am. The total cost of transportation one way is Rs.6,000 for the SUV and 9,500 for the Tempo traveller (to be shared among the trekkers). The journey to Govind Ghat is approximately 10-12 hours.
If you are trekking independently
Reach Haridwar via overnight train from New Delhi. Buses run from Haridwar to Joshimath and Badrinath early morning. There is a bus every 30 minutes. You can also take a shared taxi from Haridwar to Joshimath or Govind Ghat. In case you are coming from Rishikesh, shared jeeps are available near the GMVN Bharat-Bhoomi Guest House. Stay at Joshimath/Govind Ghat for the night.
There is a GMVN and a couple of private lodges to choose from at Joshimath. There are lodges in Govind Ghat. In case of emergencies and if there is a need to break journey then one can halt overnight at Rudraprayag or Srinagar. The next day you can take a shared taxi to Govind Ghat ( 20 kilometres and 45 minutes away) which is the starting point of our trek to Valley of flowers and Hemkund.
You can choose to stay overnight or head to Badrinath or you may hire shared cabs which will take you to Haridwar/Rishikesh.
Day 1: Getting to base camp, Govind Ghat
The trek to Valley of Flowers (VoF) and Hemkund starts a little beyond Joshimath, at a pilgrim hamlet called Govind Ghat. Leave Haridwar or Rishikesh early in the morning and travel along River Alakananda on the Badrinath highway. The roads are dangerously cut on mountains edges and at times, you only see the river flowing in the gorge deep below.
Do not carry food with you as there are plenty of eateries on the way. As a trekker, there is no need to hire porters or mules on this trail but if you need one to carry your backpack, Govind Ghat is the place to hire a porter or mule.
- Altitude: 6,300 ft
- Time taken: 11 hours drive to Govind Ghat. Pick up from Haridwar Railway station at 6.30 am.
Mist floating into the Valley of Flowers. PC: Abhimanyu Panwar
Day 2: Govind Ghat to Ghangria via Poolna
- Altitude: 6,300 ft to 9,600 ft via 7,200 ft
- Time taken: 4 km drive to Poolna. 5-6 hours trek, 9 km
- Trek gradient: Easy – moderate. Gradual ascent throughout on a well- defined trail
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at any of the several dhabas that you will find on the trail.
The trail to Ghangria. PC: Jeff Robson
There is now a motor able road to Poolna. This reduces the distance to be trekked today to 9 km from the earlier 13 km. Start with a 4 km cab ride to Poolna.
The trail is well-defined. It is usually full of Sikh pilgrims walking up and down. Notice the cleanliness on the trail despite hundreds treading upon it every day. It’s a heartening and motivating sight. All thanks to volunteers who sweep the trail every day.
The 9 km trek from Poolna to Ghangria goes all the way along the river. Stop by any roadside dabha for a drink or a bite to eat. The trail is alternately sunny and shaded. At around the midpoint of the day’s trek, you cross the river and go to the other bank. After this, you no longer trek alongside the river.
The trek takes 5-6 hours and you approach a tabular land. This is when you know you are close to Ghangria. Ghangria has a helipad and some space for camping. Half a kilometer from the helipad is the one-street village of Ghangria, lined with hotels, restaurants and a Gurudwara. The Gurudwara offers free accommodation and food to all.
Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back
- Altitude: 9,600 ft to 11,500 ft and back
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 3.7 km each way
- Trek gradient: Easy. Flat walk in the valley
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles from streams that you will find in the Valley, after a couple of hours of trekking.
Trekkers making their way to the Valley of Flowers. PC: Ramji Subramanian
Leave Ghangria early (6.00 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometre. There is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley. Walk inside and notice the small flowering plants springing up on either side.
A kilometre into the gate, there is a scenic bridge across a stream gushing below. Tall rocky mountains rise before you. Notice that the well-laid-out trail has now become a small footway along the side of the valley. The stream flows below you and there are small, hard snow patches by the side. On the trek inside Valley of Flowers, you see very few people around you. This may come across as a big and welcome contrast to the previous day’s trek, where there were hundreds. The scenery has also taken a drastic turn for the better and any direction you turn to looks picture-perfect.
Trek along for a couple of kilometers on the flat path and to your right opens up the valley. Cross another rickety bridge and collect water to drink from below. The entire valley is generally a carpet of colours – green, yellow, red, blue. It is surrounded by mountains with trees at lower levels, brown and grey soil in the middle and bright snow at the top. A bright sunny day will ensure deep blue skies completing the picture and taking it beyond your imagination.
The valley is really a botanists’ dreamland! One can find flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colours, all growing together. Notice various types of bees and insects hovering on these strange flowers. Walk further into the valley and you will be engulfed with an amazing scent, which unfortunately cannot be captured but can only be felt. The valley stretches 5-7 km further, until it ends with a glacier visible at a distance. The stream flows all the way through the valley. Take off your shoes and dip your feet into it to experience the icy cold water.
The colourful valley. PC: Harshil Doshi
Prominent flowers that you will see in July-August include Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot and Dog Flower.
Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley. Overnight camping isn’t allowed either. Plan your return along the same path by early afternoon.
The afternoon sun falling on the valley from a different direction, gives a whole new perspective to the same place you saw in the morning.
Day 4: Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib and back
- Altitude: 9,600 ft to 14,107 ft and back
- Time taken: 9-10 hours, 6 km each way
- Trek gradient: Moderate – difficult. Steep ascent for about 4 hours to reach Hemkund Sahib and steep descent all the way back.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the hotels that line the trail.
Well laid trail surrounded by mountains. PC: Anurag Vaishnav
Start your day early. The weather can be impulsive in the afternoon and sudden cloud cover and rain can get you stranded if you do not get down on time. The thought of getting up before 5.00 am can be daunting but the Gurudwara makes it easy. Their day starts at 4.00 am with singing of bhajans. By 5.00 am, you hear people outside the gate of the Gurudwara chanting in chorus and the horses being readied to go up to Hemkund Sahib. Get up and grab a hot drink of chai. A poncho (light rain coat) and a trekking pole can be handy on the trek to Hemkund. Pass the deviation to Valley of flowers. Continue to trek up the steep path slowly but steadily. Spot a pretty water fall on your right falling through the rock walls on the right.
After about 2 hours of walking, you are higher than the tree line and the views begin to get better. Mark the route to Valley of Flowers on the mountain in front across the river gorge. After another hour of slow walking with numerous breaks, you begin to feel reduced oxygen levels in the air. A melting glacier lies on the way.
Take generous breaks while climbing up the steep path. These breaks are important as going up very fast could only mean inviting altitude sickness. Do not sit down during these breaks. Sitting down causes your muscles to relax and getting back on track can be very difficult. An hour of stiff climbing brings you to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. The lake lies just behind it. The Hemkund Sahib lake remains frozen for six months. Warm yourself in the Gurudwara and have generous helpings of hot tea and khichdi.
Hemkund Sahib. PC: Arvind Krishnaswamy
Walk around to the other side of the Hemkund Lake. It exudes an aura of peace and serenity. It’s crystal clear, undisturbed and reflects mountains the mountains surrounding it. The lake and the Gurudwara in this setting are a sight to watch. Around Hemkund, the Himalayan flower, Brahma Kamal grows abundantly. This flower grows only at heights of 10,000 ft to 15,000 ft.
Leave Hemkund by early afternoon. The walk down can be strenuous on the knees and toes. It takes 4- 5 hours to walk down the 6 km.
Day 5: Ghangria to Govind Ghat via Poolna
- Altitude: 9,600 ft to 6,300 ft via 7,200 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours, 9 km + 4 km drive
- Trek gradient: Easy descent to Poolna on the same trail that you trekked on earlier.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the several dhabas that line the trail.
Looking back from the trail to Govind Ghat. PC: Jeff Robson
The trail back to Poolna is on the same path that you took on Day 1. Drive from Poolna to Govind Ghat. Start after breakfast and reach Govind Ghat by 2.00 pm.
Day 6: Govind Ghat to Haridwar
Drive down to Haridwar.