How many days to reach Valley of Flowers?
Now that you have seen awesome pictures of the Valley of Flowers and awestruck by its sheer beauty, you have decided to go yourself.
That is the time the big question hits you. And you start asking.
Following are some useful tips but before that, see if your query is one of these below.
• We have a long weekend next month. I will have full four days. Shall I book my tickets?
• I am ready to spend any amount. Can I do it faster?
• How many days do I really need to do Valley of Flowers trek?
• I think my kids aged 3 & 5 will be happy to see the valley full of flowers. No?
• Can we go in April? It would be great to take my children to a hill station after they are done with their annual exams.
• My father is 80 years old. He wants to go to Hemkunt Sahib on a pilgrimage. What do you suggest?
• If I take a helicopter & reach Ghangaria by noon, why can’t I go in the evening to any of the two places?
There is no dearth of such questions & queries. So many people ask me about going to Valley of flowers & Hemkunt Sahib.
Latest was my doctor, who threatened me if I fail to send him few photos of these 2 places. 😀 He desperately wants to go to both these places but does not have many leaves.
Okay, let us see what is the general itinerary to go to valley of flowers and Hemkunt Sahib.
Day 1 …. Delhi –> Rishikesh
Day 2 …. Rishikesh –> Joshimath
Day 3 …. Joshimath –> Govindghat –> Ghangaria
Day 4 …. Ghangaria –> Valley of flowers –> Ghangaria
Day 5 …. Ghangaria –> Hemkunt Sahib –> Ghangaria
Day 6 …. Ghangaria –> Govindghat –> Joshimath
Day 7 …. Joshimath –> Rishikesh
Day 8 …. Rishikesh –> Delhi
1) As you can see, this itinerary is from Delhi to Delhi. Each one of them will take at least one day if you don’t encounter any unforeseen incident. If you happen to travel from another city to Delhi, count that time as well. I had gone from Mumbai, that too by train. So one & half days more. Both ways.
2) We notice that Ghangaria is the base point for the two treks. Every evening you have to come back to your base and start afresh next morning. Once done, you trek back to Govindghat. Remember, it is a 13 KM trek. Even if you take Pony or a helicopter to save time, you can not reach Rishikesh the same day.
Hemkunt Sahib. Oxygen level drops & people are sent back.
So, you need at least eight days if you want to do to both these treks. Skip one, and you save one day.
3) You can also save some more time if you do some calculations and spend money. For example, after reaching Govindghat take a helicopter (if weather is favorable) to Ghangaria. Do it as early as possible. Immediately hire a pony or a palanquin from Ghangaria and try your luck to go Hemkunt Sahib. By 2 PM all the pilgrims are sent back from Hemkunt Sahib as the oxygen level drops down. Nobody is allowed to stay back, not even the priest.
4) I saw very old men & women hiking up to Hemkunt Sahib chanting “Wahe Guru” despite age, physical disabilities and weather conditions. It is only their dedication and determination that helps them to do that very steep 6 KM hike. It would put us to shame. So, if you are one of them, go ahead. If you cannot & still want to do it, hire a pony or a palanquin for this route but start early. The gates are open at 7 AM.
5) For going to Valley of flowers, there is no pony or a palanquin! You are on your feet. From the entry gate (which is 500 meters from the hotels) it is 3 KM to reach the Valley of flowers. After that you can go in any direction into the valley, it is spread in 12 KM area. Do remember to be back at the checkpoint by 5 PM. If you don’t, a search party is sent to look for you. The valley is not safe after dark.
6) Many pilgrims despite being young & fit don’t go to the Valley of flowers as it requires trekking. This route is easy compared to Hemkunt Sahib but has a narrow trail. At most places it is just a couple of feet wide allowing people go single file only. During monsoon you’ll encounter several landslides & rock falling zones on the way.
7) If you are thinking of a nice vacation place with family & kids, this is NOT the place. There is nothing for kids in Ghangaria unless you are coming in a big group and there are other children to give them company.
In the end, remember this place is to cleanse your soul. Do some hard work to achieve it. Go with a positive attitude and I am sure you’ll be able to do it. 🙂
P.S.- I will write a separate post with all tips & fares for the entire journey from Delhi to Delhi.
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