Anyone who loves to travel must be having the Valley of flowers trek in their bucket list. If you want to know where is the valley of flowers located in India, it is located in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. The flower valley is spread over an area of 87 soiree kilometers and is located at a height of 3658 meters above sea-level. Valley of flowers Uttarakhand makes the mountains look more royal with its flowers of various colours and kinds. In 1982, this valley got recognised as a national park. The Hemkund Sahib valley of flowers was discovered by 3 British mountaineers. They are Frank Smythe, Eric Shypton and R.L.Holdsworth. They were on a mission to scale the Kamet peak in Garhwal in the year 1931. They accomplished their mission and decided to take the western pass while returning but they lost track of their way and ended up in this valley. They named it ‘The Valley of flowers’ after they were totally bowled out by the beauty of the place.
This calm Valley of flowers is located near Badrinathand is about three hundred kilometers from Rishikesh, towards its north. This is a world heritage site. White peaks surrounding this valley filled with wildly blooming flowers make this an outstanding travel destination. The valley is open to tourists between the months of June and October. The valley is located somewhere which can be said to be a meeting point between Eastern Himalayas, Western Himalayas and Zanskar. It is well known for having various kinds of medicinal herbs. It is said that Lord Hanuman had taken the Sanjivani from the valley flowers for curing Lakshmana. This is of course in reference to the Hindu epic – Ramayana. You will enjoy just being here, absorbing the beauty of the place with its waterfalls, paddocks and streams. The landscape along with the cotton-like clouds is a great place for nature-lovers, photography-enthusiasts, botanists and of course trekkers.
Every year a huge number of tourists from all corners of the world come to see the alluring mountains, lush pastures and flowing streams. Grazing is not allowed in this park and you will not find any human settlements inside it too. The biosphere reserve sees a large number of travellers coming from abroad since it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. In this region of the Himalayas, you will find as many as seven restricted range species of birds. This region is kind of a transition zone for the flora of the Eastern and the Western Himalayas. The Valley of flowers trek is an unforgettable experience as trekkers see fragrant wildflowers, wild strawberries and bushes of wild rose. For any nature lover, this valley is a heaven with its calm ambience.
If you want help in chalking up an itinerary because you are someone who likes to plan everything themself, we would like to help you. The four day plan is going to be useful when coming from Dehradun to valley of flowers or from anywhere else:
Day 1 – You have to arrive at Govindghat which is the last motorable point if you want to go to the Valley of Flowers and this area is about twenty kilometers before Badrinath. The journey from Govindghat to Ghangaria is a 16 km trek approximately, which takes eight to ten hours. For the initial 9 kilometers, you will be trekking along the banks of the Pushpavati river. The trekking route becomes steeper in the next 4 kilometers. But as soon as you reach this fascinating valley and have a look at all the flowers blooming on the valley, which at other times remain snow-covered, all your tiredness will be washed over in a few moments. The valley looks especially beautiful during the months of summer.
You can also avoid this trek when going from Govindghat to Gangaria as there are helicopters, ponies and even palanquins on which you can take a ride. But the availability of helicopters is dependent on weather conditions.
Valley of Flowers has no place to accommodate tourists where they can stay. There are many hotels and private lodges at the base of the trek, Ghangaria, where you will be able to stay.
Day 2 – This is the day when you will leave Ghangaria to arrive at your destination, the Valley of flowers. Around seven to eight hours will be needed for this trek as you will have to cover a distance of about 14 kilometers. Entry to the valley is allowed from 7 am and stops at 5 pm. This is a reason why you must start early in the morning. On the same day, you need to return back to Ghangaria.
If you think you have the required endurance and quickness, you can think of going to see the Pushpavati river bed point where you can have lunch.
Day 3 – This is the day when Shri Hemkund Sahib Gurudewara is your destination. Pilgrims also avail this route for reaching the Sikh temple. Sri Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara has been built at a height of 4329 meters above sea level. Situated in the Himalayan ranges, the name of the temple means’ Lake of snow’. It is a sacred and well-known pilgrimage place for anyone belonging to the Sikh religion. You will start from Ghangaria again to reach the world’s highest gurudwara. Hemkund Sahib is located beside a lake. You will be approximately covering a distance of 12 kilometers which will take about eight to nine hours. Half of the trekking route is quite steep but worth every bit. You must start early in the morning in order to return on the same day.
Day 4 – This is the final day when you return from Ghangaria to Govindghat.
Think you need more info before the final plan? Read on for more useful deets.
Helpful tips you should know before your visit:
Since it is located in the regions of the Himalayan mountains, the valley remains snow-clad during the greater part of the year. Even if you visit during late summer, when summer is retreating, you might face thick fog and heavy rainfall. Middle of July to the middle of August is the best time for the Valley of Flowers trek because with the snow settling, this is the season when colourful flowers start to grow. The weather remains comfortable with the days being pleasantly warm and the nights cold but bearable. The park remains shut during the winter season as heavy snowfall blankets the whole region.
Three mountaineers of British origin called Frank S.Smythe, Eric Shypton and R.L.Holdsworth went on a trek to Mt. Kamet in 1931. While returning, they lost their track and completely by coincidence or accidentally, they reached this exotic valley with alpine flowers covering it. They couldn’t stop admiring this beautiful place for a long time and they named it ‘A Valley of Flowers’. Frank S. Smythe, one of the tree mountaineers also wrote a book later on it and named the book Valley of Flowers too. Interestingly, the locals not only already knew about the existence of this heavenly valley but also believed that Gods and fairies lived there! It was in the year 1982 that the Government had declared this valley as a National Park and it became an important zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. In 2004, UNESCO included this valley in its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Some more details on the flora and fauna the Valley of Flowers National Park is blessed with:
The entire valley looks surreal because of flowers of every possible type and colours covering it. There are approximately 650 species of flowers growing here like Brahmakamal, Blue Poppy and Cobra Lily,Geranium, Primulas, Marigold, river anemone and so on. Many endangered and rare animals can also be found here. A diverse range of fauns can be found in the valley too like the yellow-throated marten, Himalayan Golden Eagle, Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bear and Blue Sheep. Different kinds of birds like Himalayan monal, Himalayan Golden Eagle,
The Valley of Flowers trek is certainly going to be one of the most memorable treks of your life. You can begin the trek either at Govindghat or from Pulna village. The trek begins once you cross Alaknanda river by using the hanging bridge. After crossing the Pulna village, you will get a glimpse of peaks covered in snow in between the rocky and green mountains. The track between Pulna and Bhyundar village, which is 7 kilometers long, is interspersed with waterfalls and cold water springs. The area has an abundant presence of Rhododendrons which makes the region look a mix of dark red and pink.
After you take a break for some time here, you can continue with your trek along Laxman Ganga’s right bank till you reach a log bridge. The trail becomes a lot steeper once you cross over the left bank. This is the way to reach Ghangaria which is the Valley of Flowers which is situated at a distance of two kilometers from here. This is the base camp for the trek.
How many days are needed for the trek and the time when the valley is completely clad with flowers?
If you go during the months of July, August and September, you will find the valley in full bloom. The trek from Govindghat to Valley of Flowers will take at least three days. Again a reminder, Govindghat is the nearest spot till which you can go by car. From this point, trekking is the only way to reach the Valley of Flowers.
You can go to Ghangaria from Govindghat by availing the helicopter service. Ghangaria is at a distance of five kilometers from the valley. There are no fixed flights because the availability is largely dependent on the weather. And for the same reason, there is no way you can pre-book your helicopter ride. You have to directly reach Govindghat and then purchase your ticket. The price of a ticket is approximately six thousand rupees.
This valley of flowers lies in Uttarakhand and there is no motorable connecting it. The base of this scenic but tall trek is Govindghat. This place is approximately 17 kms from the Valley of flowers and trekking is one way to cover this distance. If you come by car, you would have to stop your car here. The trek starts mesmerising trekkers as they come near to Ghangaria as the fragrance of the flowers hits their nostrils. Though it is still 3 kilometers away from the valley, you will be able to smell the scents of different flowers. You will have to take a permit for entering the Valley of Flowers from Gangaria which is issued by the forest department. Visitors are allowed to trek during the day and one permit will allow you to enter the valley on three days. Govindghat, near Joshimath, is well-connected with Uttarakhand’s major cities like Dehradun and also with New Delhi. These are the ways of reaching the Valley of flowers:
By flight – There are no direct flights to Valley of Flowers obviously. The Jolly Grant airport which is at Dehradun is the closest commercial airport and is at a distance of 158 kilometers. For directly reaching the valley, you can avail a taxi from the airport.
By rail – Again. There is no direct train which can take you to the valley. The nearest railway junction is the Rishikesh station which is at a distance of 272 kilometers from the valley. In order to reach Govindghat from the station, you can take buses and cabs from here. Buses ply regularly between two destinations and are a good option when you are travelling on a budget. Otherwise get on a cab from Rishikesh for a comfortable ride.
By road– There is no road connecting to the valley but till Govindghat, the roads are drivable. It is also well-connected with buses plying and you can get on one. The bus stop is about twelve kilometers away from the main site. Once you reach this base, you will need to trek for 16 kms before you reach the Valley of flowers.
You will start the journey in a hired jeep from Dehradun. Over the next couple of days, the beauty of the Himalayas is going to keep you engrossed. As you move ahead, you will have a last glimpse of the plain lands of Rishikesh. The jeep will cross the slopes of mountains covered in greenery with the Alaknanda river accompanying throughout the way. By evening, you will arrive at Govindghat. For the night, you will be put up at a guest house, so that you feel all ready the next morning.
Even though the morning is going to be chilly, it will be time to leave Govindghat. Ghangaria is the base for this trek and Hemkund Sahib and you will have to start the gradual ascent. While climbing up, you will see the Laxman Ganga flowing below. When you reach Ghangaria, you will find a sense of accomplishment after the steep climbing. We will enjoy a nice dinner at a guest house in Ghangaria and retire for the night.
Soon after starting the trek, we will go through a coniferous forest. The trail is going to surprise you as you descend to a bridge and then climb up a rocky trail. As you trek ahead, you will leave the forest behind and soon the first flowers of the valley will welcome you. The meadows of flowers will make you feel that you are dreaming about a beautiful place. You will find Himalayan Balsam growing in large numbers here. These flowers cover a large part of the valley. After your heart is satisfied, we will start climbing down towards Gangaria. We will again stay at the Guest House for the night.
The trek to Hemkund Sahib will take around three to four hours and the trail is steep at some places. The well-known shrine has been constructed beside a charming lake. Wild flowers, mostly Brahma Kamals, can be seen all around the lake. Pilgrims like to take a dip in the water of the lake and make it look easy. But the water is freezing cold. The Gurudwara serves hot tea which tastes heavenly and warms the body and soul. There is a Laxman Mandir adjacent to the Gurudwara which we will visit too. When it's late afternoon, we will start trekking back to Ghangaria. We will spend the night at the guest house.
The downhill trek towards Govindghat starts in the next morning. The descent is easier than climbing up. We might visit Badrinath temple at an extra cost if we manage to reach Govindghat at the right time and if you are interested in doing so. By evening, we will be returning to the guest house. The condition of the road and the weather will also come into consideration while visiting the Badrinath temple. We will again stay at a guest house for a night.
In the early morning, we will bid goodbye to Govindghat. By evening we will reach Dehradun and this will mark the end to our trek!