First Visit to Valley of flowers in 2013

Valley of flowers in May, 2013

I went to valley of flowers on 21st July, 2013 for the first time this season. You can see some of the pictures clicked on the trip. One of the most stunning thing I saw was that that glaciers swept away the entry gate of Valley of flowers along with the forest officer’s check post. Below are the two pictures for your comparison. The first picture was taken on 10th July, 2012 and the second one was taken in May, 2013. Every year glaciers do a lot of damage to manmade structures at Ghangaria. The glaciers also swept away shelters made for ponies at Ghangaria, unfortunately I did not click the picture of that for your reference.

Damage by glaciers near valley of flowers

Valley of flowers entry gate in July, 2012
Valley of flowers entry gate in July, 2012


Valley of flowers entry gate in May, 2013. You can see the gate and forest officer's check post has been swept away by glaciers.
Valley of flowers entry gate in May, 2013. You can see the gate and forest officer’s check post has been swept away by glaciers.

This does not mean that the glaciers are dangerous for people visiting Valley of flowers. They are dangerous for the structures that get frozen in them in winter and when they move all together they take away everything frozen in them. Now see the beautiful part of Valley of flowers. The shade in the pictures below shows that the monsoon is not yet started and valley of flowers in not in its lush green color. The seeds put down by last year have started germinating and the plants are still young. The valley of flowers will be in its peak beauty by July. You can see the glaciers even till mid July and have an opportunity of walking over them.

Valley of flowers shade in May, 2013

Valley of flowers as seen on May 21st, 2013 Observe the shade and the size of glacier.
Valley of flowers as seen on May 21st, 2013 Observe the shade and the size of glacier.
Other side of the Glacier in May 2013, This glacier is visible even till July last week.
Other side of the Glacier in May 2013, This glacier is visible even till July last week.

Different flowers in valley of flowers in May, 2013

I could click some of the flowers on the way to Valley of flowers. Following are some of them along with some other pictures. And I tell you that the flowers seen in this season will not be available when you come to valley between July and September.

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Senior Citizens in Valley of flowers

Can a Senior Citizen visit Valley of Flowers?

How should senior citizens manage their trip to Valley of Flowers?

Recently I have been called up by many senior citizens who are willing to go to Valley of Flowers. Generally they have maintained good health and doing some physical exercises daily. They asked me whether they can do this trip of not. The answer is yes. But there are some important things to be taken care of and I will discuss it in following paragraph.

Official notice by Uttrakhand Administration to Senior citizens, Hiper tention, Cardiac Diseases, Diabetic and Asthmatic patients.
Official notice by Uttrakhand Government to Senior citizens, Hiper tention, Cardiac Diseases, Diabetic and Asthmatic patients.

First thing is they should get themselves check from a doctor as they need to trek almost 12-14 kilometers everyday for a minimum of 4 days (although ponies are available for 3 days except the day to Valley of Flowers). Valley of Flowers is at a height of 11000 feet approximately and Hemkund Sahib is at a height of 13500 feet. You should not have had altitude sickness in past.

Ghangaria to valley of flowers by porter.
Ghangaria to valley of flowers by porter.

Following paragraphs tells different ways to skip trekking during Valley of flowers trip:

Use porters/ponies/helicopter from Govindghat to Ghangaria. From Govindghat to Ghangaria a Senior Citizen should not trek as he should conserve his energy for Valley of Flowers day. There are other options from Govindghat to Ghangaria like porters, ponies or helicopter. Porters can carry a person in a Doli or Palki (Palanquin). (Pic Palki). If a single porter carries as seen in the picture it cost approximately Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000. But if four porters are carraying the cost may be Rs. 6000 to Rs. 8000 for a day. A single pony costs Rs. 600 to Rs. 800 per day. Helicopter costs Rs. 3500 between Govindghat and Ghangaria one way. These prices are of 2012 you may add 10% for every year as inflation.

Senior citizens trekking from Govindghat to Ghangaria.
Senior citizens trekking from Govindghat to Ghangaria.

On the day to Valley of Flowers you do not have option of ponies or helicopter and you need to be dependent on porters. Porters will take only up to 3 kilometers inside the Valley of Flowers. Out of these 3 kilometers approximately 2 kilometers is a steep but beautiful ascent. Depending upon your strength you may trek or take a porter up to 3 kilometers and trek beyond 3 kilometers for about 2 kilometers. You porter may wait at 3 kilometer for you and bring you back to Ghangaria. You may also come back of your own by trekking as coming back will not be difficult being gradual decent.

On the day when you go to Hemkund Sahib you should take ponies or porters as this is very difficult trek. You may also skip to go to Hemkund Sahib as some of you may be tired after trekking to Valley of Flowers.

Helicopter service from Govindghat to Ghangaria
Helicopter service from Govindghat to Ghangaria

One of our Senior Citizen customers in 2012 has written a Valley of Flowers trek travelogue. You can read his experience with us. This is original unedited version of travelogue by Dr. Tapan Chakarborti (Check name spelling)

Govindghat to Ghangaria by Pony
Govindghat to Ghangaria by Pony

What type of shoes is appropriate for valley of flowers?

This is very important question as life can become hell if you are not carrying right type of shoes on your trek to Valley of Flowers. There are various options for shoes like sports shoes, leather shoes or floaters. I have seen some crazy people even trekking bare foots into the Valley of Flowers. When I asked about it the answer was that they lost their shoes near Hemkund Shahib Gurudwara. Those Sikh people even walked bare foot over glaciers. But everybody of us can not be so rough and tough. Already we will be working very hard while trekking and right type of gears are very important specially shoes.

Type of shoes that should be avoided.

  • Sports Shoes: Sports shoes should be avoided for trekking as they are not so rough and tough and they are made up of cloth. Once they get wet it is very hard to dry them in cold and humid weather of Valley of Flowers and Ghangaria region.
  • Old Shoes: Old shoes should be avoided because they may get broken on the way itself as the trek is full of rocks and lot of pressure is exerted on shoes.
    Terrain of Valley of Flowers Trek
    Terrain of Valley of Flowers Trek
    Trying to repair shoes
    One of our client Mr. Kunal Sarin trying to repair his shoes.
    Trying to repair shoes
    One of our client Mr. Kunal Sarin trying to repair his shoes.
    Broken soles of shoes
    Broken soles of shoes deep inside Valley of Flowers

    Characteristics of a good shoe for trekking to Valley of Flowers:

    • Shoes should be new but you should wear them for at least fifteen days before coming for the trek as new shoes can bite and cause blisters. Old shoes can be comfortable but may break any time on your trek. This has happened with one of my client during September 2012 visit to Valley of Flowers. You can read his travelogue here. I have seen lot of shoe soles laying on the trek explaining that old shoes can leave you anytime in the middle of the trek.
    • Shoes should have nice grip: If you are coming before 25th July you will have to walk over glaciers on your trek. For this your shoes should have a nice grip under its sole.
    • Ankle Support: Prefer the shoes which have some ankle support to protect you from tissue raptures in case you bend your ankle by mistake due to rocky trek.
    • Water Proof: It almost impossible to get full water proof shoes. But you should avoid sports shoes for the reason that they are made up of cloths and foam. Once they get wet it is very difficult to dry them. You need to cross 3-6 shallow streams on your trek inside the Valley of Flowers depending upon how deep you go. (See the pictures below) Actually no shoes can resist water and you will have to take them off before crossing the stream. I recommend to not being lazy in taking off your shoes or in 9 out of 10 times you will end up wetting up your shoes and after that you can imagine how you will trek with wet shoes. I personally believe even floaters are better choice sometime as you need not take them off but not recommended for people who feel colder. The risk with floaters is that they are not recommended to walk over glaciers and you will be prone to ankle twist.
    Crossing streams in Valley of Flowers
    You will have to cross 4-6 water streams in you trek to Valley of Flowers.
    Recommendation:

    Heavy built Woodland shoes with nice grip on its sole and with ankle support are recommended for the trek with a backup of a pair of floaters in your bag.

    Recommended type of shoes with grip
    Recommended type of shoes with grip
    Sample floaters
    Sample floaters

    QUECHUA SHOES ARE ALSO VERY GOOD IDEA

    You can also try QUECHUA hiking shoes. They are not so costly and can be ordered online.

    QUECHUA SHOES
    QUECHUA SHOES

Beautiful white flower in valley of flowers

Beautiful White flower in valley of Flowers

There are about 650 different types of flowering plants found in valley of flowers…..

This flower is visible from July first week to 15th July in abundance, just after crossing the first wooden bridge. Valley of flowers opens from June to September every year. For the rest of year it is snow clad. Valley of flowers is a UNESCO world heritage site and accessible by trek only. We organize trekking tours to valley of flowers. To visit valley of flowers kindly Contact Us

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