You can go through the previous day’s journey here.
So we began our 13 KM hike at around 9:30 AM. 13 KM was not a problem. The first 2 Kilometers is steep and arduous climb. After that….. well, after that you start getting used to it and submit to your fate. 🙂
Once in a while the chopping of the chopper could be heard and seen. We had the whole day to reach Ghangharia and I guess that made two of us over confident. We started it slow enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the mountains, the valley, and the river flowing below, talking to fellow trekkers and of course clicking photos.
Village women drying clothes by the river
Roadside shop selling fruits & cold drinks.
We were so engrossed in our own world that we forgot to keep a tab on time & distance. Suddenly it started pouring; what do you expect in a monsoon season? We had to take shelter in a small shop and that’s when I looked at my watch. Gosh! 2 hours for only 3 KMS!! Not done. We desperately waited for rain to subside so that we could speed up.
Although termed as low season, there were a lot of people on the way, mostly pilgrims wishing to seek blessings at Hemkunt Sahib. In fact I met an old Sardarji who has been coming to Hemkunt Sahib every year for the last 25 years and has never once visited Valley of Flowers!
The long 13 KM trudging path.
The trek is made more difficult in both directions by the ponies and their poo. The ponies have an uncanny ability to push you towards the valley side and itself walking along the safer hillside. Some of the ponies were not carrying anyone or anything. On enquiry we found these were returning from Ghangaria to service people who may decide to take a pony half way thru. They said they make the trip in about 5 hours from Govindghat to Ghangaria and about 3.5 hours on the return leg.
At around 4KM mark is a place called “Jungle Chatty” from then on the route is less steep. In fact at places it was going downhill too and also along the river. Beautiful!
The river was our constant companion.
On the route we stopped at a couple of places to eat and drink and other places to just rest. We decided to have our lunch at this place near the bridge at the 10KM mark past Byundar village. The last 3 Kilometers are again pretty steep. The river was a ferocious and it was raining heavily too. It was already past 3:00 PM. We bought ourselves the local rain coat, which is nothing but a big polythene bag with a hood and sleeves available at most shops for Rs 50.
We had to literally drag ourselves to our feet to continue our journey.
What kept us going were the motivation provided by the continuous traffic of pilgrims who, despite age, physical disabilities and weather conditions were walking with just one thing in their mind…to reach and pray at Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara.
Many of them were bare feet.
It was past 6 PM. We had been walking for nine hours (including breaks)! Phew made it at last ! The porter had reached earlier and was not even puffing! Shame on us. After checking out a couple of hotels we checked into Kuber Hotel, the one right opposite the Gobind dham Gurudwara. It was all the better as there were some martial arts shows by young Sikhs which we could watch just by walking across. I made a mental to have Langar food one of these days.
It had been raining heavily the whole day. We hoped the next day would give us some respite.
Next stop. Valley of flowers. Stay tuned. 🙂
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