How beautifully has Frank S Smythe (The one who discovered Valley) described the Valley of flowers in his book “Kamet Conquered

“Beyond the hills, nations might fly at one another’s throats; Mussolini’s rise and fall; anarchy and revolution rot the nations; but in the Valley of Flowers the only strife would be that of the elements, the only sounds the wind in the flowers, the voice of the stream, and the rumble of the avalanche.”

Overgrown with flowers is the valley of flowers in this Image

“Valley of Flowers”, locally called as Bhyundar Valley is also referred to as Nandan Kanan (The mystical and magical Garden of Heaven). The name seems very apt for the place, for it actually is a bit of Heaven on earth and since time immemorial has been associated with being the playground of fairies and gods on earth. Stories of demigods locally called “Achharis”, believed to be the protector of the valley have been woven very deeply in our culture for ages. “Achharis” will supposedly kill a human being in magical ways, if one is found to be disturbing the flora and fauna of the valley. Many individuals have disappeared and are believed to be taken away by “Achharis”. Fear of death is a highly motivating factor and irrespective of whether they exist or not, that fear has been instrumental in humans not disturbing the valley for ages.

Well I need not fear the “Achharis” as I am not here to disturb the valley in the slightest bit :-) , I am here to explore and capture this magical place in all its divine beauty.

The Starting point of trek for Valley of Flowers at Govind ghat.

Govindghat

Join Creative Praveen Photography as we explore these exotic and lesser known destinations in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Details here.

Pilgrims enroute to Valley of Flowers

Towards Ghangaria

A 14 Kms trek from Govindghat along the Laxman Ganga (also called as Bhyundar Ganga) takes me to Ghangharia, the trek though long is very pleasant and I am accompanied by lot of Sikh Pilgrims both young and old, trekking very enthusiastically towards Hemkund Saheb. On the way I meet a young sikh doctor, who is there to give “Sewa” at the Gurudwaras in Govindghat, Ghangaria and Hemkund Saheb. Turns out that he has been giving regular sewa for some 2 to 3 years at Hemkund Saheb and tells me not to hesitate from staying in the Gurudwaras and enjoying the free meal they offer. He also tells me very interesting, courageous and motivating stories pertaining to Shri Guru Govind Singh ji (The 1oth guru of Sikhs). The Helipad at Valley of Flowers, Ghangaria

On the way I see some pretty big beehives and later come to know that one can actually spot the Near-threatened, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide regularly there.

My friend has a hotel in Ghangaria, so I go to his place, get a room and then being totally exhausted with the 14Kms trek, slip in to the bed and sleep like a zombie for the next 2 hours or so. I only get up because I am feeling very hungry, I then have something and later go on to explore the area around Ghangaria. Since its August, it is eminent that it will rain post 2 clock and like clockwork it does.

In my excitement to capture the Valley of Flowers the next day, I cannot sleep for the major part of the night. Though entry to Valley starts only after 7:00 am, I am at the gate at 6 (remember I am a Landscapes person 😉). I had on the previous day taken permission to enter the valley early, so blissfully ignoring the probability of a Bear attack (Bears are abundant here) I am the first person to trek along this beautiful, undisturbed path for the next 2 hours or so.

The gushing flow of River Pushpawati as it leaves the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, India

The Shivering bridge on the Pushpawati River

The Lush Evergreen forests enroute Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, India

Moss Laden forests

Being fed with the rain water on a daily basis, the river Pushpwati’s roar is deafening and soothing at the same time (A Miracle only nature can pull off 😍). The water is so turbulent that I have apprehensions crossing a narrow bridge to get to the valley. The bridge and I both shiver as I cross it (The Bridge because of the force and me because of fear😌).

Green as far as the eye can see at Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, India

As soon as I reach the starting point of the valley of flowers, I am greeted with a Himalayan Monal and immediately after with a Red-headed Bullfinch (So much fun for not carrying my telephoto lens 😢). Well I shake it off and am amazed to see the view in front of me, for kilometres I see nothing but a valley dotted with the most beautiful shades of green, yellow, pink, blue and purple. I am dumbfounded and feel tears building up (as always). I need to comprehend this absolute beauty in front of me, so I sit. No one is going to disturb me for the next hour or so, I close my eyes and try to listen to the stillness of nature, trying to comprehend its meaning in my life. Except for the wind blowing and some birds chirping I hear nothing, and slowly I realize that I am going into a deep slumber. I suddenly remember the “Achharis” and am up in a flash (Not wanting to die in magical ways 😉).

The Lush Green Pastures of Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India River Pushpawati Meandering through the lush green pastures of Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, India True to its name, Valley of flowers Stewed with millions of Flowers. Trekkers trekking in the Valley of Flowers, a very relaxing and refreshing Trek. Trekking amidst the beautiful Landscapes of Valley of Flowers

For the next 4 to 5 hours I tread very gingerly along the valley floor, on boulders, along the various small streams in search of different landscape compositions. While coming back I am fortunate enough to meet a group of 5 people from different parts of the world, two from India, One from Japan, one from Indonesia and one 70 years old Botanist from Spain (If I remember correctly). The guys from India are very passionate about photography, the guy from Japan and the Indonesian Woman is highly passionate about travelling and exploring different cultures, and the botanist from Spain very passionately gives us loads of Information about flowers, ferns and conservation. Back to Ghangaria, and though I am pretty tired, I again am not able to sleep and begin to doubt if something is wrong with my health.

Pilgrims as they trek along the steep slopes enroute Hemkund Saheb in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India

Pilgrims en-route Hemkund Saheb

Trying to capture the mystical and beautiful Landscapes of the Himalayas enroute Hemkund Saheb, in Uttarakhand India

My Travel Friends

The next day we together trek towards Hemkund Saheb. This trek is a start contrast to the Valley of flowers trek. While trekking towards the valley the only companion one has is silence, flowers, forests, birds and occasional travellers, the Hemkund Saheb trek on the other hand is bustling with hundreds of devotees, Mules and lots of shops offering food at highly overpriced rates. We see a lot of Brahmakamals on the way and Lots of Rose-finches at very close distances (Remember no telephoto!!!! 😢). After panting most of the way we finally reach Hemkund and after Darshan in Gurudwara and Lokpal Temple, go in to the langar to  have the most delicious Tea and Khichdi we ever had ( I was so hungry I ate and drank more than two 😋).

The Home of Lord Lakshman and Guru Govind Singh ji at Hemkund Saheb, as very high altitude Glacial lake deep in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand.

Hemkund Saheb

Brahmakamal the state flower of Uttarakhand, grows in plethora in the high regions of the Himalayas and around Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Saheb

Brahma Kamal- The State flower of Uttarakhand

Brahmakamals growing in the deep reaches of the Himalayas of Uttarakhand India

While my friends have to depart (they intend to get down to Govindghat the same day), I stay another 2 hours at Hemkund and try to explore the region for landscapes. The day is mostly cloudy and with heavy rains it’s a wash out in terms of Photography. In the evening I trek down towards my hotel and suddenly remember the doctor I met on the way. I know he sits in the Gurudwara at Ghangaria (he told me that), so I go to see him and explain my sleeplessness to him. I come to understand that I have been suffering from oxygen deficiency, so he gives me a very mild sedative. I come to hotel, eat something and then take that medicine. I sleep non-stop for more than 12 hours, waking up feeling very hungry and refreshed in the Morning.

(Aug-18,-2015-12-49-PM)Canon-Canon-EOS-550D(5184x3456)

The Grave of Joan Margaret Legge

More than three hundred species of Flowers are found in the Valley of Flowers, that spring all around the year.

I explore the valley of Flowers for the day and visit the grave of Joan Margaret Legge, the next day I again visit Hemkund Saheb for landscapes (This day I swear they served the most delicious Kheer ever made, I had three plates). The weather on these two days is pretty good and I am able to make some good shots. The day after, I trek back to Govindghat and although I am dead tired with trekking some 90+ Kilometers in 5 days, I don’t want to leave the valley and am desperately dying to come back again.

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Hope this Helps!!!!


22 Comments


Alpaxee Kashyap Reply July 4, 2016

When did you visit the Valley?

praveen July 13, 2016

I visited in August 2015

Sanjay Reply July 26, 2016

Hi Praveen… Me and my cousin are planning to go there in mid August along with family . As I have 1 and half year old daughter, I intend to leave my wife, my cousin’s wife and their five year old son in Ghangaria as we trekk further. Can you pls share your friend’s hotel details in Ghangaria

praveen July 30, 2016

Hey sorry, i checked this message today, Mobile phones don’t work in Ghangharia, so you cannot reach him. Let me find his hotel Number. I will sms it to you. Can you please send me your number on +91 7310702576.

Thananjeyan Reply September 6, 2016

Hello Praven ji,

I am thananjeyan from japan , I am so passionate the flower valley and heard from my school book.

Wonderful information

praveen September 13, 2016

Thank you so much , appreciated.

Anubhav Reply November 20, 2016

are you not good at photography!! nice blog..

praveen November 20, 2016

Thank you so much, appreciated, still learning the fine skills of writing and photographing :-)

George A Reply February 26, 2017

I intend to go to Valley of flowers with my 15 year old son in 3rd week of August 2017
Is it possible to manage the visit ourselves, Are there any local agencies helping the trek & visit or is it necessary to travel with tour operators.

Awaiting your suggestions, Thanks & Regards, George A

praveen March 1, 2017

There are a lot of agencies in Rishikesh who conduct group tours. Alternatively you can go to Ghangharia on your own and then book hotels there. Should not be problematic at that time of the year.

Subanghi Reply May 4, 2017

Hi Praveen,
We are planning to take 2year old kid with us to VOF during mid of Aug. Is it advisable? Do we get enough milk and food items there for kids?

praveen May 7, 2017

It will mostly rain in August, almost every time. The weather will start improving probably after August 20th, but the flowers began to get less after that. You should get sufficient food and milk though at Ghangharia (the place where you will stay).

Mehul patnaik Reply May 6, 2017

What exactly this place is known for is valley of flowers but you didn’t put any image showing a valley filled with colours i.e. flowers. Is it that the images shown in different websites are fake? Or your timing was wrong?

praveen May 7, 2017

This valley is spread over 80 sq.km. area. What one will have to understand is that, this is not a man made garden. There are literally thousands of flowers here, which spring everywhere. Also since they are high altitude flowers, they are small in sizes. July till August mid, will be a great time to go there. I think if you go there personally you will appreciate the valley, then just with the images i posted.

Sucharita Das Reply June 5, 2017

I’m not getting any information an hotel at Govingghat…can u help me with it?? I just wanted to book it previously, bcz so far i get there r not much options.. plz reply as soon as possible

praveen June 6, 2017

I don’t have the numbers handy, but there are lots of hotels in Govindghat. You should not face any problems getting a accommodation there.

Sarbojit Reply July 11, 2017

Any info on budget stays at ghangaria?

praveen July 13, 2017

July and August mid is like peak time in Ghangharia, so the hotels are costly. You can try and stay in the Gurudwara, its free of cost. After August Mid, the hotels become quite cheaper.

jennywatson Reply July 13, 2017

nice blog.. nice pictures.. you can also visit http://bmcadventures.com/

DEEPAK KASER Reply July 27, 2017

Dear friends, I am Deepak Kaser, My first trip was a started Valley of flowers trek in Uttrakhand. It was a amazing and wonderful trek during the tour. Uttrakhand is on of the biggest attractive tourist place. I like valley of flowers in uttrakhand and nice culture, traditional festival, climate, forest area also rock and good lovely people http://www.explorehimalaya.org/ride.php?popular=41353421&&&banner=india

Ckv Reply August 20, 2017

How much cost for this trip sir in budget price

praveen August 24, 2017

That is a very broad question, but valley is quite costly in July till August end. You can travel by bus to Govindghat.


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