If nature was Leonardo da Vinci, Valley of Flowers would be the Mona Lisa. We all love flowers - imagine an entire valley full of flowers - over 500 species of them. Sitting at home, you could only imagine how beautiful it would be. But, when you are out there, it turns out to be million times more beautiful.
This is the story of our trek to this art of nature.
As soon as we came to know about the Valley of Flowers, it was on our bucket list. This place can be visited from May to November. However, there are only a couple of months where you would see the valley in its full blossom - July and August. In these months, monsoon would create ideal conditions for flowers to bloom.
Last year went by in just thinking about it, so, we were not going to miss it this year. The plan was on since January and got finally executed in August.
Day 1: Delhi to Joshimath
For the trek to start, we have to reach Ghangharia and reaching this village is a task in itself. We reached Haridwar on an overnight bus journey from Delhi. From there, our trek organiser was ready with a Traveller. So, began our 10-hour scenic ride to Joshimath. Himalayas in monsoon are a beauty of a different level.
On the entire route, we were going alongside either Ganga or one of its tributaries. On our way came Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Karnprayag and Vishnuprayag. And as we entered the mountains of Chamoli district, we were simply left awed by the beauty of the valleys.
By evening we reached Himalayan Echolodges camp - somewhere between Auli and Joshimath. We got to stay in a tent had one of the most peaceful sleep of our lives.
Day 2: Joshimath to Ghangharia
Trek to Ghangharia starts from Pulna village. To reach there, we first went to Govidghat which is a 1-hour drive from Joshimath. From there we hired a local vehicle we reached Pulna.
Ghangharia from Pulna is a 10 km trek. We had two bags weighing 6 kgs and we carried them ourselves, ie, did not opt for a porter. We wanted to be as self-sustained at possible and also prepare for more difficult treks we wanted to explore.
The path was well laid out and the entire trek was beautiful in its way. Mountains were covered with waterfalls, the river was flowing beside the path. Halfway through it also started to rain and the weather turned even better.
By evening we were at Ghangharia. Extremely tired and all wet, we quickly had tea and pakoras and then went to our rooms and took rest.
Day 3: Valley of Flowers
It had rained all night but in the morning the weather was clear. We were lucky. Weather is unpredictable in the mountains. The very next day valley was closed because of heavy rainfall.
We began at around 7 AM. Valley is open from 8 AM - 5 PM. Valley extends for 10 km and if you want to explore as much as you can, you need to start early.
There is a check-post about 1 km from Ghangharia where you need to buy entrance tickets. Our guide had already arranged for them. So, after the check-post, our trek began.
The trek itself was splendid. A variety of flowers can be seen from the very beginning. Trek runs through dense forests and open areas. It is gradual in the beginning and quite steep as we go higher.
After about 3 - 4km valley starts and you can see what you had never even imagined. In our case, the weather had turned bad as we reached the valley. Still, we could see flowers as far as we could see.
After going into the valley for about an hour, we were all tired and planning to head back. Right then, our guide met us and asked us to at least go to Pushpawati river bed. You have come this far, push a little further. So we did! And my god, I could not believe what we would have missed if we had gone back!
It took us 5 hours struggle in bus, 10 hours drive, 10 km trek on day 1 and 7 km trek on day 2 to reach that place on earth. But, that moment of being at that place on earth is something we will never forget for our lifetime. It was more than worth all the pain!!!
As soon as we reached the bed, the rain had started again. It was getting late so we could not spend much time there. We wanted to spend forever there but had to return after just 10-15 mins.