20 July 2022, Auli Govindghatt Pulna Ghangharia.
As usual I woke up at 0500 with hope to see some lovely scenery around but picture was same gloomy with Fog, previous night it had rained too. A cup of tea at 0615, getting ready with luggage shifted to Duffle Bags for Ghangharia and leaving behind Suitcases at Auli. We had good breakfast and chatted with owners and I realised that mother of owner was one year younger to me in age but extremely fit and walking 30 K steps every day and correctly known in her group as military woman.
Vijay, our Sarathi was in time and we could set course for Govindghatt at 0735. Our First stop was at Vishnu Prayag Sangam of Alaknanda and Dhauli. There was a glacier disaster in Dhauli which damaged and washed off lot of bridges and buildings enroute recently. After a good photo session, we headed for Govindghatt, where we reached by 0930. Though now road is extended up to Pulna Village, locals have created monopoly and around 50 odd local Vehicles (nothing special in them) ply people from Govindghatt to Pulna. There is a helipad at Govindghatt where Deccan operates its helicopter for Ghangharia, 6 pax and one pilot, about 6 kg of luggage allowance for 2900 Rs. Another scenic drive to Pulna in about 10 to 12 Minutes. Full of hustles and activities early morning with horses, porters, guides. People pouring in, mostly with intentions to go to Hemkund Saheb only.
Guide Mahendra hired a porter for our luggage for 1100 Rs (100 Rs goes in registration), these porters are tough locals, mostly walking in Chappals. Considering barely 5 months of tourism available, it is very tough life for all.
We started our trek around 1000 hours.Ramesh bought a treaking stick from local shop. Route is all stone and cement, some good, some not so good, winding up and down all the way 10 Km to Ghangharia. As Pulna is at 6000 Ft, climb is 4000 Ft to Ghangharia all along Laxman Ganga in company. The whole route is scenic, serene and enchanting. Lots of places now to stop and have tea, breakfast or lunch. Helicopter zooming past at low altitude over river bed was main diversion.
Rain came once and we were ready with Poncho. We realised that Poncho is good to protect you from rains but very uncomfortable in trekking as one sweat inside and it streams all the way. I will prefer a folding umbrella next time. Huge honeycomb I missed enroute to click them for memory.
We stopped for lunch of aloopyaz Parathas and tea and then continued to reach Blue Poppy camp by 1515. Considering two stops amounting to one hour, four hours fifteen minutes trekking 10km and Climbing 4000 ft was not bad.
Ghangharia gets activated only for five months from May to September, as the snow fall starts in October the Hemkund Saheb closes and valley of flower is only from June to September. Whole population moves back to Pulna and Govindghatt and tents are removed.
Tents are basic with two beds a small table one bulb and a mirror with attached bathroom and toilet. Ramesh quickly arranged two chairs to keep our bags. I shifted bulb higher up and mirror below it and discovered tent ropes to be used to dry cloths and towels.
A hot cup of tea was definitely welcoming and it followed with Pakoras and tea at 1700.
Mahendra left with briefing for next day, just to come back to tell us that both trek to Hemkund and Valley was suspended due heavy rains in hills which washed off first bridge to Valley of Flowers.
Helipad being right Infront of our camp, we enjoyed watching landing and take-off. With three side hills and waterfalls filled with water it was lovely to be there, with only sound being Horses, chatting shopkeeper behind and sound of Water cascading down in waterfalls. It was a bit cold that evening. Went for dinner and chatted with another Chennai couple in sixties, they had returned from Valley of Flowers and next day trip to Hemkund being in doldrums decided to return back. Others listening to our conversation were amused with our service background and age and Josh to walk around and saluted our spirit. Food was tasty and we had sleep to catch up with nothing specific planned for next day but may go for a walk at 0900.
21 July Walking up to Ghangharia Waterfall.
Despite red alert of heavy to very heavy rains, there was nothing and we got up to a wonderful morning and after getting ready went for a walk around camp area and helipad. By 0730 it was allowed to go for Hemkund but Valley of Flowers was still shut for the day. Mahendra came down charging from above (he was staying 500 meters up in Ghangharia make shift town) and announced that we were going to Hemkund. I flatly refused as it was on third day and we had to start early for it by 0500. So, after breakfast we went out for local trekking, walking up to entrance of Valley of Flowers and Ghangharia Waterfall, where we spent lot of time clicking photos and making videos. At this place we had best mobile signal, so we exchanged lot of photos with family and friends. We returned to camp by lunch time and shared our days experience and talked to family.
Relax and recuperate was mantra for the day, evening Pakora tea and dinner time passed of peacefully.
I skipped the main course and had soup and bit of sweet dish. Though one grinded urad dal local dish was definitely worth trying and we went and praised cook for it.
Good night camp, next day Valley of Flowers was clear to go and we decided to leave by 0630H to reach the gate 0700H when it opens.
(To be continued in Part 3 and Part 4)
20th July morning as slowly day progressed at Auli Blue Popp Resort
Ramesh coming down from Our resort at Auli
The enchanting drive started with view of hills, valleys and rivers unfolding one after another.
Standing at confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauli rivers at Vishnu Prayag
confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauli rivers at Vishnu Prayag ,the disaster had destroyed it right up to top
confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauli rivers at Vishnu Prayag Feeling of Do Jassos karein mahsoos
Happily climbing duo captured by our guide
Head down. Continue climb, effort is scene on face
The old and new trekking routes
The picture tells you all about difficulties in maintaining lines of communication
The path we left behind and climbed up.
The freshly rejuvenated waterfall from recent rains ,nearing our camp at Ghangharia
Blue Poppy tents at Ghangharia
Tent arrangements for two
The helicopter landing area in-front to and from Govindghat
Fading lights over mountains in Ghangharia on 20th July evening.
All smiles early morning small stroll at camp area on 21st morning at Ghangharia
Ghangharia town hussling with activities and horses lined up for Hemkund sahib or return to Pulna.
Approaching Ghangharia waterfall
Misty waterfall at Ghangharia
Walking towards entrance of Valley of flowers
Climbing towards waterfall which is actually on Hemkund Route
The waterfall and its wild flowers
Going down the waterfall stream
Lovely wild flowers
The photo shows it all that even our guide is enjoying apart from beaming Ramesh
Two veterans really freaking out the scene and place.
The runaway golfer from KVGC( Kharghar Valley Golf Course) was found meditating at Ghangharia.
All Panoramic capture of Water fall area
Night setting in over the camp area at Ghangharia
Good Night from Ghangharia on 21st July 2022