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GetAhead reader Mridula Dwivedi, an academician from Gurgaon who blogs at Travel Tales from India, trekked to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand and sent us these amazing pictures.
The Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib are two beautiful treks in Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand.
After trekking to Everest Base Camp I decided to do one more trek before my teaching started and I wanted to do something easier this time.
Joshimath is the base for this trek which is 302 km from Jolly Grant airport, Dehradun, and 250 km away from Rishikesh, the neareast railhead.
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We took a jeep from Joshimath to Govindghat (18 km) and after breakfast started trekking to our base and first stop, Ghangaria.
The route goes along the Lakshman Ganga River. It was such a pleasant change to hear to the roar of river rather than the traffic.
It was a welcome relief to see the village Ghangaria after walking for about 13 km from Govindghat.
The tented accommodations are run by a private group here. But I have stayed in tents many times before so I was fine staying at a hotel.
My guide Sohan Singh Bisht recommended that we find a place to stay in the centre of the village. He said horses and horsemen prefer to stay at the beginning and the other side of Ghangaria and that leads to a lot of stink and flies. It was a good strategy to find accomodation away from it all.
After a comfortable stay at Ghangaria I was looking forward to trekking to the Valley of Flowers the following day.
The Valley is about 3 km away and the route is dotted with flowers almost all the way. We spotted geraniums quite early. They were spread like a field in the valley.
River Pushpawati flows through the Valley of Flowers. At places we crossed small streams to move ahead.
Here my guide Sohan Singh Bisht looks at the vast valley and the river.
The Himalayan Blue Poppies and Brahma Kamal are two exotic flowers of the region.
We were lucky to spot the blue poppies twice, one at the Valley of Flowers and again on the route to Hemkunt Sahib.
There are many waterfalls on the way to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib. They present a mesmerising spectacle.
It takes about 3 km of trekking after reaching the valley to get to this point. So it was a 6 km walk one way from Ghangaria.
Many people do not walk this far but I was very happy my guide dragged me all the way up there. It is one of the most picturesque spots in entire valley.
We spotted Brahma Kamals only on the route to Hemkunt Sahib.
I saw them from a distance but Sohan Singhji could climb anywhere to get a picture. This picture has been clicked by him and I have his permission to use it.
In the larger scheme of things even a river appears like a thin line! This was the view while climbing up to Hemkunt Sahib.
The trek is 8 km uphill and it is a moderately tough climb. A lot of horses also ply on the route so you end up giving way to them countless number of times.
The place is of religious significance to Sikh pilgrims.
It was worth all the toil to get a glimpse of the serene Hemkunt Sahib Lake. We only got a glimpse as after a while the lake completely disappeared into the mist!
We visited the Gurudwara and the Lakshman Temple located close by. After this, all that was left was to retrace my path back to Govindghat.
In good weather there is a helicopter service between Ghangaria and Govindghat. It was quite tempting, but in the end I walked all the way back as well!
Mridula Dwivedi is an academic from India who is passionate about trekking and travelling, and these days dreaming about going to Antarctica. She blogs at Travel Tales from India.