Auli is known as the skiing destination of India. It is a known Himalayan ski resort dotted with apple orchards and pine trees. Valley of Flowers national park rests in the north of Auli.
Step 1 : Getting from Auli to Govindghat.
Auli to Valley of Flowers is not an entirely motor able route. The motorable journey starting from Auli comes to an end at Govindghat. It is 36 km long, and you can go via bus, hire a private taxi or take your vehicle. En route, you will cross holy place Joshimath. Moreover, the journey offers you various places to explore besides Joshimath such as Vishnuprayag. Even if you don’t stop to give time to any of these places, you can always enjoy the scenic beauty and lush green landscape from the windows.
Step 2 : Getting from Govindghat to Ghangaria
You can stay at Govindghat for a day or enjoy the place for a few hours before beginning your journey for the base camp of Valley of Flowers, Ghangaria.
Ghangaria is 14 km from the Govindghat. It stands at an altitude of 10200 ft (3049 meters) in northern Himalayan ranges. The first 4 km is motor-able till village Pulna; however, you are not allowed to take a private taxi or any of your vehicle. You can choose one of the Tata Sumos run by the locals. Another option is to trek by crossing the river Alaknanda over a bridge at Govindghat. The vehicle will take you to the Pulna village from where you will start your journey to the Ghangaria. There are four options to choose from when it comes to reaching Ghangaria from the village.
From Pulna to Ghangaria you can reach by following ways.
You can continue your trek which you started from Govindghat, or you can begin the same after deboarding the Sumo. It is a 10 km track, and it will take around 5-6 hours to reach Ghangaria via this mode. If you are an adventure junkie, and enjoys your journey as much as the destination, trekking is indeed for you. The trail is moderate. White waterfalls against the mountain are a delight to watch and trekking along Pushpawati river is a whole new experience.
2. Using Pony / Horse
It is hard to imagine mountains without horses and mountain boys, and this brings me to the second option. These are mountain SUV’s You will find pack string of horses run by mountain boys. This option is a little faster from tracking (as you will reach early). One way cost for one person remains INR 800-INR 1000.
Four palanquin bearers carrying a child or an old person is a common view. You too can choose and let the porters carry you. This service costs INR 6000 to INR 8000, one person, one way.
This is, of course, the fastest option. Just a few minutes and the 10 kms will be covered. However, this advantage comes with many ifs and buts. Firstly, weather conditions have to be favorable for helicopters to operate. Secondly, there is no pre booking option, and the service is rendered on the first come first serve basis. And usually, there is too much crowd and waiting lines are quite long. If a helicopter is your plan A, then it should always be backed by another plan(s).
It is advisable to wait for helicopter till 10 am. If you don’t get it by then, quickly choose any of the above three options as after a point of time you will be left with no choice but have to cover the track on your feet.
Helicopter service ranges between INR 3000- INR 3500 between Govindghat and Ghangaria.
Step 3 : Ghangaria To Valley of Flowers
The ticket counter at Ghangaria for Valley of Flowers open at 7 in the morning. On the route of Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers, no vehicle or mules allowed. Therefore, you can either trek or take the service of palanquin and porters.
This trail is not moderate, and on the first day of 2-day Valley of Flower trip, 80% of the people manage to reach only the tip of Valley of Flower. Baman Daur, a big stone, situated at 3 km from the entrance gate of the Valley of Flower is actually the tip of the valley. In other words, the 86 square kms valley, starts from Baman Daur.
If you start your journey around 7 am, you can reach the gate by noon. It takes time as whatever you see on your way to Valley is worth clicking pictures. Moreover, the first day is kept to enjoy the trek.
There is no option for accommodation in Valley of Flowers. Therefore, the return journey to Ghangaria is suggested to resume by 1:30 pm.
Blue Poppy Holidays is few of the traveling agency that prepares two-day Valley of Flower itinerary.
The second day is reserved entirely for the valley. If you begin the trek around the same time as mentioned for the previous day, you will reach Baman Daur around 10 in the morning. On the second day, it will be only about reaching the destination as you must have rejoiced the trek on its first day.
The route from Baman Daur is neither too steep nor too low. It’s easy to cover 5 km from Baman stone is Pushpawati riverbed. And as you go deeper into the national park, there are many things to relish upon. You can bask in the glory of unending meadows laden with alpine flowers. The snow-capped Ratban Parvat and Nar Parvat separating Valley from Badrinath can be clearly seen from here. On the right side of the hills stands Birch forest. And at whichever corner you will set your eyes upon, you will realize that Valley is like a colorful carpet made from exotic flowers.