Govindghat to Ghangaria- Day 1, Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib Trek

I have already discussed my reaching Joshimath and my rest day at Joshimath. About time I started writing the trek account. To start the trek I needed to reach Govindghat fromJoshimath. Sohan Singh ji (my guide on this trek as well as Kuari Pass Trek) recommended the start time of 7.00 am. He said it takes one hour by jeep to reach Govind Ghat. There are two jeep stands at Joshimath. If you start walking towards Govind Ghat the jeeps go from the second one which is about a kilometer away from Kamet Hotel. We started without breakfast, the plan was to have it at Govindghat.

Fresh from my Everest Base Camp Trek I decided that I was going to carry my light rucksack. Till the jeep station it felt good. When I put it down to have parathas at a shop at Govindghat I readily picked it up again. When I got out in the sun after the break fast (the flies in July at Govindghat are seen to be believed) it was still fine. After 1 km it felt like 50 kilos. At about two kilometers I told Sohan Singh ji to give it to a porter or a horseman, I could not carry it anymore! He asked me to carry it a little further and then he said we would redistribute the load. I was left wondering what his plans were? Then came a barsati wali chai ki dukan (a tea shop largely made with polythene) and he redistributed the load. Which meant he took my bag, took out stuff from his and gave me an almost empty bag. He also took my camera and I gladly gave it to him and this is one exceptional trek where there are many pictures of mine!

That is Me Clicking Away, On the Way to Ghangaria

That is Me Clicking Away, On the Way to Ghangaria

The good bit on this trek is that there are markers. That means you know you have walked 2 kilometers and you need to walk 11 more. The bad bit is that there are markers. Now if they were not there I could think I walked 8 kilometers when I really walked only 2. No such luck here.

The path winds around the River Lakshman Ganga for most of the way. It is a good path, that in my dictionary means it does not go uphill all the way. There are short sections that are flat and some even downhill. Most of the way is uphill but gradually uphill. A lot of palkis, pitthus and horses ply on the way.

Lakshman Ganga River, Govindghat to Ghangaria, Valley of Flowers Trek

Lakshman Ganga River, Govindghat to Ghangaria, Valley of Flowers Trek

This is a trek where a lot of people are pilgrims to Hemkunt Sahib rather than trekkers and it makes for an interesting mix. As I walk at a certain pace (OK slow pace) throughout I belong to the group roughly doing the same pace. It was interesting to see that a little later, say 4-5 km into the trek, some of them decided to take horses. The horsemen who are without a passenger or load would keep asking you all the time if you need a horse.

One group of young guys asked Sohan Sing ji if he was Chinese and he played along saying yes, talking all the while in Hindi! The good bit about the small tea shops on the way is that we frequently stopped for tea and had parathas for lunch.

Gradually trudging for 7 hours we arrived at Ghangaria. The tents you see in the picture belongs to Sarovarย propertiesย but I didn’t stay there.



Sohan Singh ji’s logic was that we should stay in the middle of Ghangaria as the horses stay at the either ends and that stinks. We stayed at Hotel Kuber right in front of the Gurudwara and it was a decent place. The food was good too.

It took me 7 hours to complete the stretch from Govindghat to Ghangaria along with a few stops for tea and food.

There is a helicopter service from Govindghat to Ghangaria which operates when the weather permits. During my stay it was operational. I was tempted to take it on my way back but I didn’t. It surprisingly still bears the name of Air Deccan.

Ghangaria is at the height of 3049 meters (10000 or 10003 feet to be precise feet) and I was fine, I didn’t feel any discomfort. Next day we were heading to the Valley of Flowers. The story continues …

You can check out the entire trip account day wise from the following links-

Traveling to Rishikesh and Joshimath (Day 1 &2 of the trip)

Rest Day at Joshimath (Day 3 of the trip)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers (Day 5 of the trip, Day 2 of the trek)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Hemkunt Sahib (Day 6 of the trip, day 3 of trekking)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Govindghat (Day 7 of the trip, day 4 of trekking)

27 thoughts on “Govindghat to Ghangaria- Day 1, Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib Trek”

  1. A trademark-mridula post(read as true to elements with hardly any exxageration!)

  2. There is nothing like a hot tea and steaming parathas during a trek high up on the mountains rt? Nice pics ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. You have written well. During treks after a point it is all about will power. The camera appears heavy as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you are carrying a tripod, then that is double trouble. Too often, the photographer is not photographed. Atleast you got a few images of yours clicked. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mridula i envy you from the bottom of my heart-watching such beautiful scenes at close quarters,your pictures inflame my jealousy.I wish i had the stamina or the will to go there.THAAAANKS for showing the places to me!!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks Rama. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks Niranjan.

    Janit thank you.

    Meena what do you really mean by that ๐Ÿ˜€

    Tushar I am sure you will head there soon.

    Tes with your interest in trekking I am sure you will.

    I agree Jaishvats.

    Sabyasachi thank you ๐Ÿ˜€ I am sure you will be there soon.

  6. Hi! Good to read your account of travel to vof the style in which you write is quite pleasant and easy to read.. However I need some info, as I am heading there in 3 days time. What kind of shoes do u recommend? I am confused, some say sports shoes while other say trekking shoe – which are heavy. Even in sports shoe there are many different type of shoes. What is you take on this.
    What do u recommend in packing for clothes! Will it rain all the while during this time?
    And btw, some people are discouraging saying rains are less this year what’s the fun of travelling now?
    Looking to hear from you!

    • Hi Amit, when I was there it didn’t rain a single drop during the trek but it rained mildly at night. My guide says since then it has rained a bit more and the path has become a but slushy. It is for this I hesitate in recommending shoes. If it was life what I saw sports shoes would pose no problems, many do Hemkunt in flip flops and many barefoot! But I will leave that call to you.

      No one can predict when it will rains, least of all me ๐Ÿ˜€ But past trend as far as I know, I have mentioned. Hopefully you will go, have a great trek.

      • hi mridula!

        just came back from the trip. the rip was excellent.while gng up it didnt rain at all. but on the day@vof, the weather was cloudy and had to make a comeback early caz weather was getting bad, so could not explore the entire valley esp flowers along the river in the valley. but trip was excellent.

  7. Hi Mridula,

    I believe its Ghangaria is at the height of 3049 meters (1000 or 1003 feet to be precise feet) . There is an Typo error it should be 10.003 feet.

    Nice pics.

    Thank You

    • Thank you for pointing it out Zohaib it has been fixed now. Many thanks.

  8. Nicely written and well informed post. Valley of flowers is my love. You have put it nicely the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria.

    • Lakshmi I have known Sohan Singh ji since 2006. If you want I can give you his number.

  9. Hi Mridula,
    I am planning for my first ever trip to Sri Hemkunt Sahib in 1st week July 2016 from Delhi. Could you please tell me at which place we have to keep our main luggage (i.e. at Joshimath or Govind Ghat)? So, that I carry only essentials to Ghangaria / Hemkunt Sahib.
    Also, I plan to stay at Ghangaria for 3 days (2 days for Hemkunt Sahib and 1 day for VoF) – will that be OK?
    Would really really appreciate your reponse.
    Best Wishes,
    Gagandeep Singh

    • Hi Gagandeep,

      I would recommend the reverse one day for Hemkund Sahib and two days for VOF! Hemkund Sahib is a small area whereas VOF is large, you may enjoy it more over two days. Where would stay at Hemkund? With the Gurudwara? Do they offer accommodations?

  10. Hi Mridula, I was a gread narrated trip, i enjoyed your journey to VOF, I planned for riskikesh trip and just lookin at few places to go for trekking and i found VOF trek and somehow I landed up to your blog which is excellent. I am surely gonna follw your blog

  11. Hi Mridula,
    Great write-up. Very inspiring. We are headed that way in two weeks. Is there any way you can share Sohan Singh-Jis contact details.

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