Valley of flowers trek travelogue Dr. Tapan Chakrabarti
This is an unedited travelogue written by Dr. Tapan Chakrabarti who was 63 years of age at the time of the tour to Valley of flowers from August 10th to 16th, 2012.
I had a long cherished dream that some day I shall visit the beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley called valley of flowers (valley of flowers was declared a national park in 1982, and now it is a World Heritage Site) and Hemkunt Sahib which was also an abode for Pandavas for a certain period of time. The million dollar question was who shall make the travel arrangements and handle logistics. This question should never cross the minds of hard core trekkers but I am a 63 years old person with one kidney, and an insulin dependent diabetic patient who is under hypertensive medicine. Only plus point was that just one year before, I had been to Khardungla pass of Laddakh which is around 18600 ft and hence I knew that I should not have any high altitude related health problems during this trip.
In addition, I am a fairly regular morning walker. I, therefore, needed a professional tour operator who is compassionate about senior citizens and is capable of handling emergencies. Mr Devkant Sagwan of Blue Poppy Holidays Private Limited is one such person.
Our visit to Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib was between August 10 and August 16. Devkant had arranged our overnight accommodation on 9th in Haridwar. He told us that the next day you need to travel for the whole day and guided us to sleep early. As we need to start by 5am from our hotel.
On 10th, I along with 20 others, moved to Govindghat where we reached in the evening. We were accommodated in Hotel Badreesh, which has good bed rooms with western style toilets. These facilities were available at all the places which we had visited during the period. Mr. Devkant arranged for our food during our stay at Ghangharia from August 11 -13. We entered the valley of flowers on 11th afternoon but did not go to the core area (As we came from Govindghat to Ghangaria the same day). Devkant acquainted us with a number of flower and plant species.
On 12th Morning we entered the valley of flowers which was in full bloom. The beauty of the site cannot be described but is to be experience with one’s perception about nature nurtured by the Himalayas. The trek was thoroughly enjoyable. At Hemkund Sahib near Laxman Mandir we also saw a beautiful and rare tailless rat. You can see its picture in left, clicked by Mr Devkant Sangwan.
On 13th, I went to Hemkunt Sahib on a pony as trekking on foot for a person of my age and health history could be hazardous. We could see Brahmakamal, Blue Poppies and other rare flowers species there as well as on our way.
On 14th we went to Badrinath Dham and stayed in Hotel Pataliputra. The staying arrangements as well as food were very good. In the afternoon we went to Mana Village, the last village on Indian side and saw the origin of Saraswati on the Indian side (the river has is source in Mansarovar which is now in Tibet. We also saw the trek towards Swargarohani which starts from Mana and entered Vyas Gufa where Mahabharat was written. We had a Mandir Darshan in Badrinath in the late evening which was without any hassle as the temple in month of August is not crowded.
On August 15th, we saluted our National flag, got a glimpse of Neelkanth Parvat (Neelkanth Peak) from Badrinath and returned to Haridwar in the late evening and stayed at Tayal Dharamsala. On 16th we all left for New Delhi and then dispersed.
This tour will be one of the most memorable ones as the scenic beauty throughout the trip is breathtaking. When on sites, one realizes how wonderful the nature could be.
One note of caution for all prospective travelers:- Please do not proceed for the trip without getting yourself thoroughly checked up by a competent physician. Remember, there is no short cut to safety.