Ghangaria to Hemkunt Sahib- Day 3, Valley of Flowers Hemkunt Sahib Trek, Uttarakhand

I was aware that the route to Hemkunt Sahib (4329 meters, 15210 feet) was all the way uphill, the entire 6km of it. But having done the Everest Base Camp in May this year I thought I should be able to tackle it. We had bread omelet for breakfast around 6.30 am and left at 7.00 am. The trail is wide and very well maintained.

There is a presentation about Valley of Flowers (VOF) at Ghangaria Information Center and there you get to know that at one point VOF was choking with plastic. Then came the Economic Development Committee Bhuyander. Bhuyander is a village on the way from Govindghat to Ghangaria and they have cleaned the valley to a large extent.

A Waterfall near Ghangaria, Uttarakhand
A Waterfall near Ghangaria, Uttarakhand

I have to say the valley was much more clean than the Hemkunt Path but in July there were much more people walking on the Hemkunt path rather than visiting the valley. We saw Blue Poppies again but these were a bit far away from the path but not from Sohan Singh ji’s reach, he would climb anywhere if there were flowers to be clicked.

Blue Poppies, on the Hemkunt Sahib Route, Uttarakhand
Blue Poppies, on the Hemkunt Sahib Route, Uttarakhand

There were a lot of people on this route almost all pilgrims with various levels of tolerance for the upward climb. Once again all of us walking at the same pace would start nodding and smiling at each other. A lot of horses, palkis and pitthus ply on this route too. In fact you are obliged to stop many times to let them pass, particularly horses.

Himalayan Flower
Himalayan Flower

After a while, walking uphill continuously started taking a toll on me. However, I am used to it so I ignore my fatigue and just continue. In the mean while Sohan Singh ji would after a flower growing on some ledge and then catch up with me quite effortlessly! I quickly came to a spot where the sign board said Hemkunt Sahib 1km ahead and for a moment I believed it. But Sohan Singh ji pointed out that someone has erased the original sign and this was not true. A little ahead we came across the correct sign board and it did say we had covered 2km. My stomach physically churned. I was tired. A little ahead we sat down for tea. But with a glass of hot tea inside me I was willing to walk again.

Brahma Kamal
Brahma Kamal

Brahma Kamal is another exotic flower that is found in the valley. We saw it only on the way to Hemkunt Sahib and not at VOF. As usual it was far away from the trek path and Sohan Singh ji clicked this. I saw another cluster closer to the path as well but his picture is better than mine!

Thus walking and panting for most of the time we reached the 4km mark. We had another tea and we shared a chocolate. I needed both. On the way pilgrims offer you glucose and orange toffees, I took them gladly too.

Walking near a Glacier
Walking near a Glacier

After a little more than 4km mark there are two routes. One is the more circular and gradual but also much longer. The other is made stairs, very steep but much shorter. Sohan Singh ji recommended the stairs and I agreed. While I was climbing these stairs a group of youngsters asked me why was I doing this because I probably do not look like a pilgrim. I told them I am a trekker and wanted to do this as a trek first. After a while I reached the lake and the Gurudwara.

The lake also has a small temple devoted to Lord Lakshman. There are two legends associated here. One is that Gods showered flowers on Lord Lakshman and they later flowered and thus came Valley of Flowers into existence. The other legend is that flowers were showered on Guru Gobind Singh ji and VOF came into existence. Now I remember there is a third legend too that VOF used to be the garden of Lord Indra.

Hemkunt Sahib, The Gurudwara and the Lake
Hemkunt Sahib, The Gurudwara and the Lake

From the vicinity I could not fit the entire lake into the frame so Sohan Singh ji and I climbed a little higher. And out came a person from the Gurudwara running towards us telling us it is not permitted to climb higher. I didn’t like it one bit but after a short argument I gave up. Their concern was that people can fall and then it becomes Gurudwara’s responsibility. MH1 telecasts live from the Gurudwara.

Men take a dip in the lake and there is a secluded section for women but I was not tempted at all. It was cold up there.

Hemkunt Sahib Lake
Hemkunt Sahib Lake

All the while I was there the lake was surrounded by mist and a little later it almost completely vanished from the view. We visited both the temple and the gurudwara. A little later we ate khichdi and had tea from the langar. Then it was time to head back. After all I had to climb down all those 6 kilometers again!

The Horses at Hemkunt Sahib
The Horses at Hemkunt Sahib

This is a partial view of the horses waiting to take people down again from Hemkunt Sahib. We were walking back by the more circular route as it would be easier on my knees. There I met a lady still going up, who at one point was roughly walking with me. She asked me in a desperate voice how far ahead it was and I truthfully told her 10 minutes. But sometime later another group asked me how far it was an I untruthfully said 10 minutes because they looked too tired and I didn’t had the heart to say they were still some distance away.

I was fine for 4km then my knees starting hurting. But I managed to get down and both of us attacked our Maggi with gusto at the hotel. It took me 8 hours in all to go to Hemkunt Sahib and get back too. At dinner I tried another Garhwali dish called Aalo Techwani.

The only task now remaining was to get back to Govindghat from Ghangaria the next day.

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 Govinghat to Ghangaria (Day 4 of the trip, day 1 of the trek)

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

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

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30 thoughts on “Ghangaria to Hemkunt Sahib- Day 3, Valley of Flowers Hemkunt Sahib Trek, Uttarakhand”

  1. Mridula: Trekking,traveling, blogging & dreaming seems to be your primary focus in life. Do you also work for a living 🙂 Blue poppies,Himalayan flower,Brahma Kamal,the gurdwara & Lake look spectacular and heavenly.

    Reply
  2. lovely shot of the lake as well as that of the gurudwara… have wondered since a long time if i will ever go there, but reading your posts are making me feel better… i really dont think i am up to a trek like this!!

    Reply
  3. Beautiful post 🙂 Every of your post is very inspring… we wanna have this kind of adventure some day 🙂 I love those blue poppies, too 🙂

    Reply
  4. Mridula, i am highly impressed. Your entire description and Pictures are heavenly. I wish to be there. Your description will be my guide .

    Reply
  5. Very nice blog on valley of flowers, very informative too. Especially the pictures are very nice. I have been to valley of flowers many times. Really loved reading this post. Keep it up.

    Reply
  6. Just today only we have reached our home after a traveling of 11 hours including lunch n rest of 2 hours n the journey was from govind ghat to yamunanagar haryana with a maruti Suzuki Swift. The journey was quite good but the distance mentioned there is quite doubtful for us. Its more than the mentioned distance. And at the month of September u will feel bad as u expect… Not much flowers…and due to landslide and all the valley is not so much as were before as everyone says there.

    Reply
  7. Hi, very nice and informative blog and photos are also very nice. After reading this blog I decided to take a tour for VOF. I and my wife had planned for VOF in Aug 2nd week 2016. We have not booked any tour or group. Hope everything will be fine and we will get on the spot acomodation. Our main intention is photography. Thanks for sharing this info.
    Just one query, can we get any guide at Ghangariya who can guide us in VOF and Hemkund Saheb for getting max flowers. I heard that at Hemkund saheb there are many rare flowers which are not found at VOF.

    Reply
  8. Hii , Is it fine to go now after 15 june or should we postpone it now ? can we take a horse from Ghangariya to reach the gurudware ? Does anyone faint out of less oxygen . is it safe for ashtma patient to travel till gurudware?

    Reply
  9. Hi ,

    Lovely pics and blog….I plan to take the trek with my wife and 5 year 1 month old kid with me in the second week of August 2016. My question is will it be tough for the kid? As I can see ponies are available. How much do they charge if I were to avail the same for my kid.

    Reply
  10. Is Joshimath on the way, like a halt between Rishikesh and Govindghat. Can we go directly to Govindghat from Rishikesh?

    Reply
  11. your photos are really excellent and your blog details help me a lot and also create an interest to visit valley of flowers . can you tell me the exact distance between Ghangaria and valley of flowers? I mean how much I have to trek from ghangaria to valley of flowers.

    Reply

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