Trek amidst a riot of colours and scents

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.

 

Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Getting to base camp, Govind Ghat

  • Altitude: 1,900 m

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. The journey from Rishikesh to Joshimath takes about 10 hours. Plan to stay at Joshimath for the night. There are a couple of private lodges and a GMVN to choose from.

Take a shared taxi to Govind Ghat (20 km and 45 minutes away). The treks to VOF and Hemkund have a common trail till Ghangria. Deposit any extra luggage at the Gurudwara in Govind ghat.

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.

 Day 2: Govind Ghat to Ghangria 

  • Altitude: 1,900 m to 3,000 m
  • Time taken: 7 hours, 13 km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate

Start the day’s trek by walking past the eateries and shops selling trinkets. Cross the bridge over Alakananda. The water below is sparkling blue and crystal clear. The trekking route starts immediately after the bridge.

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 13 km trek from Govind Ghat 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 shady. 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 6-7 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. 

valley-of-flowers-ghangria

Trekking through Ghangria

 Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back

  • Altitude: 3,000 m to 3,500 and back
  • Time taken: 10 km
  • Difficulty level: Easy flat walk in the valley

Leave Ghangria early (6 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometre and there is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley. Walk inside and notice the small flowering plants springing up on either side.

Valley of flowers trek - the map of the valley

Map of the valley

 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, it’s most likely that you and your group will be the only ones around. 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.

valley-of-flowers-entry 2

Entering the valley

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.

Valley of flowers - blue skies and white mountains line the valley

Blue skies and snow-covered mountains hang over the valley

 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.

Valley of flowers - the river through the valley

A river that flows through the valley

Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley and 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.

valley-of-flowers-river-3

Different shades of the valley under the afternoon sun

 Day 4: Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib and back

  • Altitude: 3,000 m to 4,300 m and back
  • Time taken: 7 hours, 6 km
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

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 am can be daunting but the Gurudwara makes it easy. Their day starts at 4 am with singing of bhajans. By 5 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.

Hemkund trek - ghangria taken on the way to Hemkund

View of Ghangria on the way to Hemkund

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.

Hemkund Valley of flowers - The steep switch back climb to Hemkund Sahib

The steep switchback climb to Hemkund Sahib

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.

hemkung-lake

Hemkund lake and Gurudwara

Walk around to the other side of the Hemkund Lake. The lake exudes an aura of peace and serenity. It’s crystal clear, undisturbed and reflects mountains in it. The lake with crystal clear water , set amidst tall mountains and reflecting them and the Gurudwara is some sight to watch. Around Hemkund, the Himalayan flower, Brahma Kamal grows abundantly. This flower grows only at heights of 10000 ft to 15000 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 kms.

Day 5: Ghangria to Govind Ghat 

  • Altitude: 3,000 m to 1,900 m
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 13 km
  • Difficulty level: Easy

Start early by 6 am to be down at Govind Ghat by 11 am. Once you reach Govind Ghat, choose to proceed to Badrinath/Joshimath-Auli* or stay back at Govind Ghat and leave the next day.

Day 6: Govind Ghat to Haridwar

Drive down to Haridwar and take a night train back to Delhi

 


Additional Options

Having come all the way to Govind Ghat, there are two options that you could explore if you add a day to your trip.  

Option 1: Govind Ghat to Mana Village and Vasudhara Falls via Badrinath

From Govind Ghat, Badrinath is just 36 km away. It takes around two hours to cover this distance. The scenery en route can take your breath away. Do not fail to read the boards along the road put up by the border roads organization. They are meaningful and humorous.

From Badrinath, take a shared cab to Mana (3 km), which is the last village within Indian territory across the border from Tibet. It’s a very picturesque village, with small streams and a small waterfall. The views from here of Neelkant peak are gorgeous.  The village also has a lot of folklore associated with. The Pandavas are said to have rested here during their exile. Befriend a localite here and chat him up to learn more about the village.

 From Mana, you could also trek to Vasudhara Falls, which is an easy 6 km trek that takes around 2 hours. Vasudhara is a milky-white waterfall that plunges from a height of 400 ft. The best part about it is that if the water isn’t too forceful, you could go stand underneath it and enjoy a refreshing shower.

Trek back to Mana or Badrinath from here before sunset.

Option 2: Visit Auli from Govind Ghat via Joshimath

If you’re looking for a more relaxing excursion after your trek to Valley of Flowers, you could visit Auli. Auli is a popular ski destination. It is stark white with snow in winter and full of green meadows in summer. It’s also called Auli Bugyal. It’s more of a leisurely holiday to Auli and it’s a tad bit expensive.

After reaching Govind Ghat, drive down to Joshimath, which is an hour’s drive away. Auli is situated above Joshimath and is accessible via a cable car. This ride in the cable car is a wonderful experience.

Auli is situated at a height of 3,049 m. It is surrounded by lovely oaks and coniferous forests. It offers are 270 degree view of Mt. Nandadevi, Kamet, and even Neelkant.

From Auli, you can head back to Badrinath the next day or the same day.

Trek Reviews

We interview Pallavi and Prakash Chitnis - trekkers from the batch of August 2012. Excerpts from the interview.

In valley of flowers (600 x 443)

 

Q. Why did you choose this trek?

Pallavi:

The beautiful alpine meadow and the high altitude lake surrounded by brahmakamals, was on my list of places to see for a long time. Had a glimpse of the route from Govindghat on the way to Badrinath in 1998 and knew that I too would trek up that path someday.

Prakash: 

We had been hearing about the Valley of Flowers for a long time.  Last year I had gone on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through MEA and KMVN.  So this year we decided to take the plunge.

Q. How did you prepare for the trek? (physical as well as mental)

Pallavi:

  1. The natural beauty and serenity of the VOF & Hemkund sahib portrayed in photographs provided the inspiration for the trek. Being an avid birder, I also hoped to see high altitude Himalayan birds. If one strongly desires to experience such places then the mental preparation is automatic.

  2. Physical fitness is must to enjoy such excursions. My exercise schedule included brisk walk for an hour, combined with stretching and climbing up and down 7-8 flights of stairs. Besides, yoga and pranayam exercises to regulate breathing helped in preparation for the high altitude treks.

Prakash:

The physical preparation was an extension of that for KMY, I had used a pony there. I was walking practically everyday about 6 kms in a little over an hour and climbing five floors up to our flat at least once a day.  Should have prepared more, especially climbing and descending stairs since we wished or were determined to walk and not use a pony.

Q. What kind of Equipments did you prepare yourself with and would help while trekking?

Pallavi:

  1. Since valley of flowers & Hemkund sahib is a well trodden route; the main equipments required would be good pair of trekking shoes & a light walking stick / cane for support. The Forclaz 500 shoes recommended by India Hikes website were excellent for the trek. They provided requisite grip on the slippery stones and good support for the feet and ankles.

  2. A light weight raincoat is must for this monsoon trek. I saw light weight plastic ponchos available at shops in Govindghat, which could be worn quickly in case of rain and stashed away when the weather was clear.

Prakash:

  • It always rains in the hills, usually in the afternoons!  A light coverall worn loosely would be better that a “Duckback” type raincoat.  You get as wet due to heat and sweating in the latter.
  • The locals do go about in hawai chappals and barefoot, but a good pair of waterproof trekking boots are essential for trekkers.  And find out /learn how to lace these properly.  Inspite of all the precautions I took, while coming down to Govindghat on the last day my small toes were squeezed!  That is the foot was sliding forward in the shoe.  I did retie the laces twice but to no avail!
  • Clothes will get wet one way or another.  A clothes string will always come in handy.  Also separate polythene bags for wet/damp clothes are essential.
  • Proper walking sticks with a curved handle are most useful.

Q. Do you have and tips on how to prepare for this trek?

Pallavi:

  1. Physical exercise to get muscles tuned for the trek is the key. The exercise could be in form of walking, jogging, cycling, and walking up & down staircase.

  2. Keep extra pair of tee and slacks as clothes don’t dry at Ghangaria during rains. Fleece jacket instead of woolen, is excellent option for the monsoon season in Himalayas. It provides good insulation, is light weight and dries easily. Keep an extra pair of socks and medicines for tummy aches, headaches and diarrhea handy while walking..

  3. Use floppy hat or sunhat to avoid sun-burnt nose & forehead.

Prakash:

Ten km a day walk (in the plains, say Delhi), plus ascending descending stairs of a say eight storey building about twice a day.

Q. What were the major highlights of the trek for you?

Pallavi:

  1. Getting shoes and socks soaked while walking through waterfall before Govindghat and trekking up for few kilometers in squelching shoes. Was eagerly looking forward to the waterfall on the way back to Govindghat, however the monsoon fed stream had completely dried up in 4 days L

  2. Breakfast of parathas & aloo sabji under the large rock at Valley of flowers. Watching finches and butterflies amongst alpine flowers in the valley.

  3. Beautiful blue poppies & brahmakamals growing along hemkund sahib route. Bonding with people while trekking up to Hemkund. Water, dry fruits and encouragement offered by strangers to complete the trek.

Prakash:

The flowers, the birds, the everchanging panorama, the cold mountain streams rushing down, the greenery every bit, every moment was exhilarating.

Q. What was the most difficult part of the trek?

Pallavi:

Steep climb up to Hemkund was difficult. The last 2 kilometers were especially tough due to high altitude and misty weather. The trek down became difficult and slow due to rainfall. The stones and path were slippery and going was slow.

Prakash:

The last two kms to Hemkund took our measure.  Every now and then we would stop to catch our breath and rest our legs on the pretext of enjoying the scenery, looking closely at the flowers or taking a photograph!

Q. Please mention some moments while on the trek that stuck the most in your memory.

Pallavi:

  1. On the way to Hemkund sahib, a halo appeared on the top of the mountain, as though highlighting a divine presence.

  2. Reaching the Hemkund Lake and thinking, wow I completed the hike.

  3. A bullfinch took a closer look at people lunching under the big rock at Valley of flowers.

Prakash:

Really speaking the whole trek has got deeply etched.  The feeling of “I’ve done it” on reaching Hemkund was of course the peak.  The lovely lake set in the middle of the peaks was clear for a little time but soon the clouds started rolling in and we were in the clouds!  With visibility fast deteriorating the wise took the return path!

Q. Do you have any suggestions for the future trekkers?

Pallavi:

  1. Not a medical authority however can offer following tips from my experience. High altitude sickness can appear as headache, Nausea or diarrhea. Keep medicines near you in case of emergency. Ginger lime juice is a good remedy for travel & altitude related sickness.

  2. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings; they energize you to achieve your goal. Avoid binging on glucose & sugar granules while walking. Eat dry fruits, biscuits or granola bars instead. While trekking up do not sit down for long. The muscles which have been warmed up by exercise cool off quickly and get jammed. Walk at ur own pace, set small targets, keep walking with a group and don’t give up.

Prakash:

  • Well prepared mentally and physically, you will be able to enjoy the glamour of the mountains no words can describe.
  • Above 10,000 ft take things slowly and steadily.  Don’t be a “Gama” in the land of the “Lama”.  Eat/snack lightly but frequently and drink water regularly.


Trekker Blogs

1. Poorna and Brinda - Paradise: An ideal or idyllic place or state, Garden of Eden 

Imagination run wild when we hear the word paradise. Or is it just imagination? Does Paradise really exist? Yes, it does. It is very much within India. It is called "Valley of Flowers". In Garhwal Himalayas in India. Read more

 

2. Shankar Bharatan - On a butterfly trail 

 

Snow-capped peaks, lush green landscapes, innumerable streams,  gushing rivers, plenty of colors, exotic flowers, pure, unadulterated  physical labor,  mules, some soul searching, hot parathas,, rainy banters, glaciers, ice cold baths, an emerald lake, piety, hot water springs, wet and more wet clothes, a feeling of being all alone, a feeling of being one with the world, a divine blessing, sighting an invisible river,  a holy dip, a path that leads to the heaven. Read More

 

3. Priyanka Mitra - A trek to the valley of flowers 

 

Valley of Flowers, valley of colors, valley of clouds, valley of an evening sun, valley of mellow mists, valley of magic, valley of mystery, valley of enchantment, valley of liberation…..  The emotions are just endless! Read more

Things to get

This is the mandatory list of things you will need to carry on your trek.

BAGS

  • Backpack (40-60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps and supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential. 
  • Daypack (20 litres): It is mandatory to carry a daypack if you choose to offload your backpack. If you decide to carry your backpack, day pack is not required.

FOOTWEAR

  • Trekking shoes:  No sports shoes. The shoes need to have soles with good grip and better ankle support. Do not wear a new shoe to a trek. It might cause blisters. Before bringing them to trek, wear it for a week to make it softer. FORCLAZ 100, 500, and 600 are great shoes.  
  • Socks (3 pairs): 2 cotton pairs, 2 woolen pairs (mostly to be used on campsites and while sleeping. Keep them dry.)

CLOTHES - REGULAR

  • Trek pants (3 pairs including the one you are wearing): We highly endorse synthetic quick-dry pants as they are light. Plus, when it's cold you can wear one over the other. While trekking a pair is what you would carry apart from the worn. You could keep the third pair for your return journey. Alternative : Cotton pant with many pockets / Track pants are comfortable too. Please do not get Denim jeans, shorts or 3 quarters to trek.
  • Collared t-shirts (3 pairs including the one you are wearing): Preferably light, full sleeve t-shirts. The collar and the sleeves prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Avoid loud colors that would distract birds and animals.

CLOTHES/ACCESSORIES (weather specific) 

  • Full sleeve woolens (2 pairs including the one you are wearing): We endorse fleece over wool as it is light weight, compact and warm.
  • Thick jacket: Carry 1 hollow full sleeve windproof jacket/down jacket 
  • Thermal inners: 1 pair of lightweight, upper and lower (optional)
  • Raincoat/poncho: A lightweight poncho is preferred as it covers your rucksack as well from top. Raincoat can also be used as wind proof when required. Enquire Indiahikes for availability of ponchos at the base camp.
  • Balaclava: The cap must cover your ears and neck. You may also use scarves.
  • Synthetic handgloves: Ensure that the gloves are waterproof.
  • Suncap: 1 pair of nice warm gloves required, fleece or woolen. 1 pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves. You get very thin inner gloves nowadays. You may get one of those to use layering.
  • Sunglasses: Curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass — they don’t block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses prevent snow blindness. Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek.People who wear spectacles, choose one of these - contact lenses, photo chromatic glasses, or if either of the above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.

OTHERS

  • Toiletries (Sunscreen - SPF 40+, moisturiser, light towel, lipbalm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper, wet tissue)
  • Repair kit (needle & thread)
  • Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  • Camera: Carry all accessories - spare batteries, charger, etc.
  • Cutlery: Carry a plate, spoon, coffee mug & a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. To save weight,  you may use your lunch box to have food in it and also carry it.
  • Water bottles: 2 bottles, 1 Litre each. Packaged drinking water bottles like Aquafina, Bisleri and others are not allowed.
  • Trekking pole: Trekking pole is mandatory. Duralumin 4-step telescopic anti-shock trekking poles are available with Indiahikes at the cost of Rs 450. To order mail us at support@indiahikes.in
  • Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT
  • Diamox - 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  • Crocin – 6 tablets (cough, cold)
  • Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  • Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  • Brufin 400 - 5 tablets (high fever)
  • Combiflam – 4 tablets (body pain, headache, & tiredness)
  • Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  • Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  • Digene - 10 tablets (acidity)
  • Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  • Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  • Gauze - 1 small roll
  • Band aid – 10 strips
  • Cotton – 1 small roll
  • ORS – 5 packets
  • Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  • Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
 
MANDATORY DOCUMENTS
 
In addition, please carry the below three documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded(PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Without these documents you will not be allowed on the trek.
 
1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
2. Medical Certificate (to be filled by the trekker) - Download PDF
3. Medical certificate (to be filled by a doctor), and disclaimer - Download PDF
 
Note: These documents are mandatory

Things to get

This is the mandatory list of things you will need to carry on your trek.

BAGS

  • Backpack (40-60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps and supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential. 
  • Daypack (20 litres): It is mandatory to carry a daypack if you choose to offload your backpack. If you decide to carry your backpack, day pack is not required.

FOOTWEAR

  • Trekking shoes:  No sports shoes. The shoes need to have soles with good grip and better ankle support. Do not wear a new shoe to a trek. It might cause blisters. Before bringing them to trek, wear it for a week to make it softer. FORCLAZ 100, 500, and 600 are great shoes.  
  • Socks (3 pairs): 2 cotton pairs, 2 woolen pairs (mostly to be used on campsites and while sleeping. Keep them dry.)

CLOTHES - REGULAR

  • Trek pants (3 pairs including the one you are wearing): We highly endorse synthetic quick-dry pants as they are light. Plus, when it's cold you can wear one over the other. While trekking a pair is what you would carry apart from the worn. You could keep the third pair for your return journey. Alternative : Cotton pant with many pockets / Track pants are comfortable too. Please do not get Denim jeans, shorts or 3 quarters to trek.
  • Collared t-shirts (3 pairs including the one you are wearing): Preferably light, full sleeve t-shirts. The collar and the sleeves prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Avoid loud colors that would distract birds and animals.

CLOTHES/ACCESSORIES (weather specific) 

  • Full sleeve woolens (2 pairs including the one you are wearing): We endorse fleece over wool as it is light weight, compact and warm.
  • Thick jacket: Carry 1 hollow full sleeve windproof jacket/down jacket 
  • Thermal inners: 1 pair of lightweight, upper and lower (optional)
  • Raincoat/poncho: A lightweight poncho is preferred as it covers your rucksack as well from top. Raincoat can also be used as wind proof when required. Enquire Indiahikes for availability of ponchos at the base camp.
  • Balaclava: The cap must cover your ears and neck. You may also use scarves.
  • Synthetic handgloves: Ensure that the gloves are waterproof.
  • Suncap: 1 pair of nice warm gloves required, fleece or woolen. 1 pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves. You get very thin inner gloves nowadays. You may get one of those to use layering.
  • Sunglasses: Curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass — they don’t block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses prevent snow blindness. Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek.People who wear spectacles, choose one of these - contact lenses, photo chromatic glasses, or if either of the above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.

OTHERS

  • Toiletries (Sunscreen - SPF 40+, moisturiser, light towel, lipbalm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper, wet tissue)
  • Repair kit (needle & thread)
  • Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  • Camera: Carry all accessories - spare batteries, charger, etc.
  • Cutlery: Carry a plate, spoon, coffee mug & a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. To save weight,  you may use your lunch box to have food in it and also carry it.
  • Water bottles: 2 bottles, 1 Litre each. Packaged drinking water bottles like Aquafina, Bisleri and others are not allowed.
  • Trekking pole: Trekking pole is mandatory. Duralumin 4-step telescopic anti-shock trekking poles are available with Indiahikes at the cost of Rs 450. To order mail us at support@indiahikes.in
  • Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT
  • Diamox - 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  • Crocin – 6 tablets (cough, cold)
  • Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  • Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  • Brufin 400 - 5 tablets (high fever)
  • Combiflam – 4 tablets (body pain, headache, & tiredness)
  • Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  • Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  • Digene - 10 tablets (acidity)
  • Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  • Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  • Gauze - 1 small roll
  • Band aid – 10 strips
  • Cotton – 1 small roll
  • ORS – 5 packets
  • Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  • Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
 
MANDATORY DOCUMENTS
 
In addition, please carry the below three documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded(PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Without these documents you will not be allowed on the trek.
 
1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
2. Medical Certificate (to be filled by the trekker) - Download PDF
3. Medical certificate (to be filled by a doctor), and disclaimer - Download PDF
 
Note: These documents are mandatory

How to get there

Base camp: Joshimath

  • Joshimath is a city, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
  • It is the gateway to several Himalayan treks and pilgrim centres.
  • Joshimath is 256 km from Rishikesh and 273 km from Haridwar.

Getting there

If you are trekking with Indiahikes

  • Take an overnight train from Delhi to Haridwar.
  • We will organise pick-up vehicles from Haridwar railway station at 6:30am.
  • The cost of transit from Haridwar to Joshimath will have to be borne by the trekkers.
  • The pickup can be arranged in a Tata Sumo(5-6 seater) or Tempo traveller (12 seater)
  • The total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 6000 for the SUV and 9000 for the Tempo traveller (to be shared among the trekkers)
  • The journey to Joshimath is approximately 8 hours. 
  • Stay at GMVN Joshimath for the night and drive to Dhak village the next morning (included in the trek fee).
  • The trek begins from Dhak village, which is 12km from Joshimath.

If you are trekking independently

  • Reach Haridwar via overnight train from New Delhi.
  • Buses run from Haridwar to Joshimath and Govind Ghat early morning.
  • There is a bus every 30 minutes.
  • You can also take a shared taxi from Haridwar to Joshimath or Govind Ghat.
  • The road is long and scenic and may take 8-10 hours. The journey depends on road condition. There can be frequent road blocks during the monsoon season. 
  • Incase you are coming from Rishikesh, shared jeeps are available near the GMVN Bharat-Bhoomi Guest House.
  • Stay at Joshimath for the night.
  • There is a GMVN and a couple of private lodges to choose from. 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. 

Getting Back

If you are trekking with Indiahikes

  • Trek from Khullara to Auli on the final day. You will reach Auli by afternoon.
  • Stay overnight at Auli (included in the trek fee)
  • The next morning, we will arrange for shared cabs to Haridwar railway station.
  • The cost of transit from Auli to Haridwar will have to be borne by the trekkers.
  • It will cost you Rs. 6500 for an SUV and Rs. 9500 for a tempo traveller (to be shared among the trekkers)

If you are trekking independently

Once you reach Auli, you can choose to stay overnight at this pretty location or you may hire shared cabs which will take you to Haridwar/Rishikesh.

 

 

Fitness Required

Minimum Age: 

14 years

Past experience in trekking:

Useful but not essential

Fitness required: 

Valley of Flowers trek, like any other Himalayan trek requires you to be physically fit. Everyday is long and ranges around the 10 km range. You must be able to jog 4.5 km in 30 minutes before commencement of the  trek. This makes your lungs strong and gives it ability to process less air for more work. It also helps the body to acclimatise better to the bitter cold of the trek. Given below is a fitness chart that will help you to start from scratch if you have not been jogging at all. 

In addition you need to add some strength and flexibility training to your workout. 

Flexibility is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily.  It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.  Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain.  Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.  

On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. 

For Flexibility training

For Strength training

 Here’s a simple and highly effective fitness plan that will help you be better prepared.fitnesschart (600 x 777)

 

 

Videos from the trek

Watch this lovely video of the valley of flowers captured by trekker Shivraj

Trek inclusions

The trek fee Rs 7850 includes all costs of the trek from the start of the trek at Govind Ghat to the end at Govind Ghat.

Specifically, the cost includes the following:
 

    • The trek fee
    • Vegetarian food as per menu on the trek
    • Forest charges
    • Trek permits
    • 5 nights hotel accommodation at Govind Ghat and Ghangria. (Good, clean rooms with attached washrooms, tripple sharing).
    • Safety equipment
    • Mules 
    • Services of a guide and trek leader
       

Please Note: Service Tax of 3.09% is payable on the trek fee .

 Transportation: The cost of transport from Haridwar to Govind Ghat and return from Govind Ghat to Haridwar has to be borne by the participant. Indiahikes has arrangements with local transporters to pick up trekkers from Haridwar. The vehicles will leave Haridwar at 6.30 a.m.

 Most participants opt for the Indiahikes pick up – and we assume the same in your case. In case you do not want the Indiahikes pick up, please let us know at least 20 days in advance to the start of the trek. Intimation is by email only at info@indiahikes.in

 Stay at base camp. Stay at base camp is organised in dormitory style lodges. Participants share the rooms. Men and women are housed separately. 

Note: Consumption of alcohol and smoking are not permitted anywhere on the trek including at the base camp. 

 Cancellation: If for some reason you wish to cancel your trek, an email intimation needs to be sent to support@indiahikes.in . Cancellation requests are not taken over phone. However, you can phone to check whether your cancellation has been processed.

 The cancellation charges are as under:

Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek -- full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek -- 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek -- no refund.

 Note: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity (like rains, earthquake, landslides etc), Indiahikes will issue a Trek Voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same or another trek in the next one year. 

 Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks with personal belongings. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional Rs 200 per backpack per day. 

 Drop out during trek: If for some reason a participant has to drop out from the trek on any day then Indiahikes will make arrangements for his/her return to the nearest road head. A Indiahikes staff will accompany the participant to the nearest road head. On the Valley of Flowers trek it is at Govindghat. From Govindghat you get vehicles to Rishikesh/Badrinath. Vehicles are intermittent and may take a while to get and could involve stay at Govindghat. In case of dropping out of the Valley of Flowers trek transportation and stay cost at any location has to be borne by the participant.

Who can trek at 50% concession:

1. Doctors: At Indiahikes, safety of a trek comes first. You will experience it first hand on the slope. Your team is accompanied by experienced trek leaders, safety gears, high end trek equipment, high altitude first aid kits and most importantly the right information. As an initiative in this regard we want to encourage doctor trekkers to function as team doctors. If you are a doctor on the trek and would like to function as the team doctor let us know immediately. As a gesture of recognition, you will receive an Indiahikes trek voucher for 50% of trek fee after the trek is completed. The trek voucher can be used for other Indiahikes treks. The only conditions are that (1) you need to have done one another high altitude trek before and (2) only one doctor is allowed to be a team doctor. Apply to sandhya@indiahikes.in 

Best Season

snow (75 x 75)

 Period: December to February

 Trail conditions: The trek route is shut in these months. The valley is under snow. Ghangria has no habitation.


green (75 x 63)Period: March and April 

Trail conditions: It is too early to see any flowers in the valley. The greenary and flowers come out only after May


flower icon (75 x 44)Period: May to September (5 months) - Best season

Trail conditions: Flowers begin to bloom May onwards. By June-Juy the valley will be in full bloom.


 

 

Map

Valley of flowers trek - the map of the valley