A trip to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers can make your dream come true to visit heaven on earth. Its peace and beauty can be experienced in any season. A short trip to Valley of Flowers will give you a feeling of another world. The meadows of tall and the fragrance of flowers in middle of the mighty mountains will give you an heavenly feeling. On top of it glaciers and snow decorates its peaks all year.
There are about 300 species of flowers which make the valley a unique and valuable pharmaceutical resource that may soon be a World Heritage site. The best time to visit Valley of flowers is in monsoon because most flowers bloom during the monsoon season in July and August when the rain make access difficult and hazardous.
The 87-sq-km Valley of Flowers National Park starts less than 1 km from Ghangaria village. Just 2 km from the ticket office, the fabled valley begins and continues for another 5 km. Tracks are easy to follow. No overnight stay is permitted here (or at Hem Kund) so all visitors must stay in Ghangaria.
A tougher trek from Ghangaria is to join the Hundreds of Sikh Pilgrims toiling up to the 4300m Hem Kund, the sacred lake where the Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, is believed to have meditated in a previous life. The Pilgrim season runs from around 1 June to 1 October. Ponies (350 INR) are available if you prefer to ride up the 6 km zigzag track.
Also called Govinddham, Ghangaria is a one-street village in a wonderful deodar forest with a busy market, a handful of budget hotels and restaurants, hundreds of ponies, a pharmacy and a doctor. Water and electricity supplies are erratic. The Nature Interpretation Centre shows a film nightly at 7 pm on the Valley of Flowers.
Ghangaria is a scenic but strenuous 14 km, seven-hour uphill trek from Govindghat, but you can help the local economy by hiring a porter (350 INR) or a pony (400 INR). The return trip takes four to five hours.
All buses and share jeeps between Joshimath and Badrinath stop in Govindghat, so you can easily get transport in either direction.
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