Valley of Flowers Trek
Valley of Flowers was "discovered" by Frank Smythe in 1930, though the Gharwalis have known it for centuries. The 10KM long Valley (at 3350M) is carpeted with an amazing variety of wild flowers during the monsoon months of June to Sept

Wildflowers at VoF

20th July 2007 - The 8:30AM Bus from Uttarkashi reached Srinagar at 5:15PM after passing thru Dharasu, Chinyalisaur, Chamba, New Tehri, Maletha. At Srinagar, stayed in the GMVN-TRH right next to the Srinagar bus-stand. A double-room was Rs 340/- per night.

21st July 2007 - Got the 8:00AM bus to Karnaprayag arriving there  10:30AM. Then a mini-bus to Chamoli reaching at Noon. Finally, a 3rd bus to Joshimath, arriving at 2:00PM. Checked into the GMVN  near Joshimath's  main bazaar, a basic room for Rs 300/- a day.  

Ghangariya's multi-story parking lots were full ... with SUVs and 2-wheelers of the Sikh pilgrims!

The 14Km trek to Ghangariya was a steep 1200M (4000 ft) climb from Govindghat 1815M to Ghangaria at 3015M; but the trail was well paved and side-barricaded in most places for the benefit of the pilgrims. There were hundreds of pilgrims on the trail, quite of few them Sr. Citizens huffing and puffing up the steep climb. And many were riding on Khachars (ponies) or carried in Doli's by porters. 

The well-paved trail

 A Dhaba ... in an island between two streams of Hem Ganga 

But due to the rains, the trail was slushy and muddy at many places ... and the pony-shit from hundreds of Khachaars made the trail the stinkiest trek, I have ever done. The last 2 Km stretch of the trail was bad with a jumble of rocks and slush.

I felt sorry for the Pilgrims ... & for myself ... that this slushy & smelly situation totally nullified the wonderful scenery, we were passing. 
After an arduous 8Hr trek of 14Kms, I reached Ghangaria at 3:15PM. I checked into a Dorm Bed at the GMVN Fibre-Hut for Rs 150/- per night.

 The narrow gorge opening into Bhyundar Valley (VoF) beyond

I was the first trekker to buy the Rs 50/- entry ticket into VOF that day at 7:00AM. The pleasant staff at the check-post explained the route me. They said there were some landslides ahead on the trail (due to due to heavy overnight rain) and sent some 4-5 people ahead of me to repair that and create a path through that landslide for me ... and others who will come by later in the morning.

The bridge crossing the stream to true right of Bhyunder valley... about 3 kms from VoF entry

 The snowbridge on the trail that has to be crossed to enter the valley

The route map signboard; where the trail turns right into VoF

 The flowers start appearing on both sides of the trail


The large bubbling stream where I had my pack lunch of Aloo Parathas

At 10:15AM, I turned back from this stream, as it started drizzling lightly and the clouds moved in .... I donned my Rs 10/- poncho:


 Field full of wild flowers

 Ghangariya appears in the distance during my return trek

Back at the suspension bridge across Alakananda at Ghangaria

These are some of the colorful wildflowers seen at Valley of Flowers

Day-1 : Govindghat to Ghangariya Trek - 14 Kms

22nd July 2007 - At 5:30AM packed a small backpack and left the main luggage at GMVN Joshimath. At 6:00AM went to the Gate and caught a Bus going to Badrinath. Hopped off at Govindghat at 7:15AM. A huge rush of Sikh pilgrims, were headed to Hemkund. Walked thru narrow street of Govindghat, to reach the suspension bridge (next to the Gurudwara) that crosses the Alakananda river. This is where the trail to Ghangariya starts.  

Suspension Bridge entrance next to Gurudwara

 Govindghat ......  Suspension Bridge entrance (L) and Gurudwara (R)

Govindghat - the hill in front has hundreds of ant-like Pilgrims ... climbing series of  switchbacks that rise steeply up the hillside. The river Hem Ganga (right) joins Alakananda (left) coming from Badrinath (click on image to enlarge)


Sahil and Muskaan ... two kids of Pulana village, on way to Ghangaria


The last slushy & rocky stretch into Ghangariya .... arrived 3:15PM

Day-2 : Ghangariya to Valley of Flowers .. and back   - 14 Kms

23rd July 2007 - At 5:30AM, I started the trek to VoF, with a pack-lunch of Alu Parathas. The Sikh pilgrims going to Hemkund too were all up and there was great rush and bustle on the trail heading out of Ghangaraiya.

The initial 500M out of Ghangariya, is a common trail for VoF & Hemkund

Looking back at Ghangaria ......  30 minutes into the VoF trek

The Bhuyander valley bathed in sunshine, from the snow bridge


One of the many streams....  flowing thru the misty cloudy valley



The small white tombstone in the green valleyis of a British botanist

By 10:30AM it started drizzling strongly, so I headed back the trail towards Ghangariya. On the way met several other trekkers too enjoying this beautiful green valley even though it was raining. But in all only about 20 people visited the VoF that day; a very small number compared to the thousands going to Hemkund on that day. I reached Ghangaria by 1:00PM and had lunch of at one of the many Dhabas there and then back at my GMVN dorm bed.

Day-3 : Ghangaria to Govindghat  - 14 Kms

24rd July 2007 - Seeing the huge rush of pilgrims, I dropped the idea of climbing up to Hemkund and decided to head back to Govindghat. So by 5:30AM started back on the paved trail and made good speed as it was downhill all the way. I reached G'ghat by 10:30AM. Walked to teh highyway and was able to get a bus heading to Joshimath. At Joshimath got another bus to Rudraprayag and then another bus to Srinagar. Arrived Srinagar at 6:00PM and checked into the GMVN there.