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

Minimum age to visit valley of flowers, Whether kids can be taken for Valley of flowers trek.

Whether kids can be taken on trip to valley of flowers.

This is a common question coming across for couples having kids and wants to visit valley of flowers. The answer is ‘Yes’ they can be taken along but not infants. The minimum age should be such that the kid should at least enjoy. There is no problem as far as the trekking part is concerned as porters are available throughout the trek at a cost of Rs. 3000-5000 per day (Rates of year 2018) depending upon demand and supply, these rates are dependent upon the weight as well.

You can see the picture and kids actually enjoy the ride some of them even fall asleep during the journey. I feel the minimum age for a kid to visit valley of flowers is 4 years. But there are many other things that are to be taken care of when you are traveling along with kids like clothing, basic medicines and other accessories for kids as it will be hard to find these things at Ghangaria being very remote place. Temperatures in Ghangaria are very low especially during night times and it is highly recommended to take clothing accordingly for your kid.

Porter carrying a child from Govindghat to Ghangaria
Porter carrying a child from Govindghat to Ghangaria

I have seen kids of age 10-15 years does trek more efficiently then elder ones as they have more energy. I will recommend you to not to take your younger kids to Hemkund Sahib by trekking as it is a tough trek and situated at an altitude of 13500 feet.

So if you have kids below 4 years we recommend you to not to take him along for the valley of flowers trek. However I have seen Sikh people taking even infants to Hemkund Sahib for religious purpose. The decision is purely yours.

We also organize trekking tours to valley of flowers from Haridwar. To book a seat kindly fill form at our contact us page or on a form on right side bar. To know the fixed departures of this year, kindly visit valley of flowers tour package.

Aditya-1

Valley of Flowers Trek Travelogue by Aditya Chinchewadi

Hi, I am Aditya! (Aged 12) let me tell you how my trek plan started to Valley of Flowers Trek. My father and some of his friends were ready to go for the trek. But suddenly everyone cancelled. My father was not happy that he was going alone. One day my mom and my dad sat in the night and were discussing about should he go or not as he was alone. My mom suggested an idea to take me also to the trek.

Sanskruti-1

Valley of Flowers Trek Travelogue by Sanskruti Chinchewadi

Hi I am Sanskruti (aged 10 years). I want to tell how my trek plan started. First my dad was going with some of his friends. But due to various reasons they told that they can’t come. My mom gave an idea that my brother can give company to him. Then I also told I will also go with my brother & my father.

Number of Days required in seeing Valley of Flowers

While going for Valley of Flowers trip one may also cover Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath. Generally most of the people doing Valley of Flowers trip have only one day for the valley. The total trip of Valley of Flowers takes a minimum of 6 days from Haridwar and for the people coming from far areas of the globe the trip becomes 8-12 days. It is an irony that people spent so much time in reaching Valley of Flowers and still spend only one day in it. By no means can one see its real beauty in a day especially when you come in July and August Month. This is the time when you will find maximum number of flowers in the valley. By maximum I mean total quantity of flowers in quantity and in variety.

Valley of flowers, Pushpawati river. Deep inside the valley, its 7 kilometers from Ghangaria.
Valley of flowers, Pushpawati river. Deep inside the valley, its 7 kilometers from Ghangaria.

What happens when you enter Valley of flowers for the first time?

As soon as one enters Valley of Flowers entry gate he is welcomed by colonies of flowers and dense forest. Since most of us have never been to such a majestic place we tend to spend lot of time in clicking pictures and we move slowly. By the time we realize that we are slow we would have already been late by 3-4 hours. As one need to come back to Ghangaria by evening and get out of Valley of Flowers entry gate by 5.00 p.m. he has limited time to cover the valley.

Group members of 9th July, 2012 group, clicking the photographs of flowers. This is how we tend to be late and could not finish seeing Valley of flowers in a Day.
Group members of 9th July, 2012 group, clicking the photographs of flowers. This is how we tend to be late and could not finish seeing Valley of flowers in a Day.

I recommend having an extra day for Valley of Flowers so that you can finish first 4-5 kilometers on first day. You may click macro photographs of flowers, bees and landscape pictures. Actually clicking of these macro photographs makes you late. On next day you can enter the valley at 7.00 a.m. and move fast without clicking many photographs and try to penetrate as deep as possible. The thumb rule is start back by 2.00 p.m.

Group members clicking the photographs of flowers.
Group members clicking the photographs of flowers.

We also organize trekking tours to Valley of Flowers. I personally accompany all my groups on the trip at least during the trekking part of it. This year we have three fix departures during 21st July to 10th August. Out of these three departures two have an extra day for Valley of Flowers. To know the fixed departures of 2013 kindly visit our fixed departures page.

Group which started on 29th July, 2012 : on the way to valley of Flowers. This day we went up to 11 kilometers inside the valley of flowers.
Group which started on 29th July, 2012 : on the way to valley of Flowers. This day we went up to 11 kilometers inside the valley of flowers.

Last year one of my groups started on 29th July and was an extended one. We went 11 kilometer deep inside the valley of flowers. We did see many beautiful waterfalls, flowers and untouched natural beauty. You may check this post.
You must see our Deeper Parts Gallery to see what you will miss if you do not go in to the Deeper parts of the valley.

Fixed departures to valley of flowers 2013 announced.

Fixed departures to Valley of flowers for the year 2013 are announced. We will have our fixed departures from Haridwar on following dates.

  1. Sunday, June 30, 2013
  2. Sunday, July 07, 2013
  3. Sunday, July 14, 2013
  4. Sunday, July 21, 2013
  5. Sunday, August 04, 2013
  6. Sunday, August 11, 2013
  7. Sunday, August 25, 2013
  8. Sunday, September 01, 2013
  9. Sunday, September 15, 2013
  10. Sunday, September 22, 2013

All the trips will be for six days and five nights except for 5th departure on July 21. This will be of seven days and six nights. This will be an extended tour by a day. We will be going to valley of flowers for two days instead of just one day. Last year also we had an extended tour and that was a great one. I have been going to valley of flowers since 20o4. I personally accompany all my groups at least on the day we trek to valley of flowers from Ghangaria.

Last year we organized trips to valley of flowers and following were the dates when we started our trip from Haridwar.

Following were the tours to Valley of flowers conducted in 2012.

First      :-  9th July to 14th July 2012

Second :-  29th July to 3rd August.

Third     :-  10th August to 15th August.

Fourth     :-  19th August to 24th August.

Fifth :-  2nd September to 7th September.

Sixth :- 16th September to 21st September.

Our 29th July, 2012 group in depper parts of valley of flowers. This was the day we trekked the deppest parts of valley of flowers
Our 29th July, 2012 group having lunch in the deeper parts of valley of flowers. This day we trekked 11 kilometer inside the Valley
Our 9th July, 2012 group on the way from Haridwar to Govindghat.
Our 9th July, 2012 group on the way from Haridwar to Govindghat.

Reaching upto the end point of Valley of flowers

This group is one of my favorite one. We managed to trek up to nine kilometers inside the valley of flowers. Generally people visit only up to 4-5 kilometers inside the valley of flowers.
We all were so tired that after having lunch except me all other members of my group fall asleep. But only for five-seven minutes. As we need to trek back to Ghangaria. While they were sleeping I was busy clicking pictures. I was feeling very good about the fact I bring people to such a natural wonder and make them happy. Below is a picture while every member of my group is sleeping.

Valley of flowers trekkers group
valley of flowers trekkers group

Soon I realized that its getting late and we need to reach back to Ghangaria by 6 PM. I woke up all of them and we were ready to trek again. I was really not willing to trek back from this heavenly place. I said bye bye to valley of flowers a minimum of 4-5 times and thrown flying kiss to it. I am really mad after this place. Below is a picture just before starting our trek back to Ghangaria.

Valley of flowers trekkers group
Valley of flowers trekkers group

At the end every one was happy about the fact that we made it till the end of Valley of flowers

Present Road condition for trip to Valley of flowers.

Reaching Valley of flowers- Present road condition.

I have just reached back from my trip to valley of flowers and was flooded by calls on this topic. Some people have cancelled the trip to valley of flowers starting from 10th of August. The present weather condition is nice and there is no problem at all. Whatever all the TV NEWS channels are showing is about Uttar kashi, which is too far from our way to valley of flowers. Although I was also stuck at Badrinath for a Day with my group but situation now is OK. There was no causalities or accident on our way to Valley of flowers. The situation is totally under control on the way to valley of flowers. And you all can really visit valley of flowers. I am giving no guarantee of future weather condition (no one can give) but the condition now is fine.

Gultheria, Creeping snowberry, East wintergreen, checkberry, Himalayan Snowberry
Gultheria, Creeping snowberry, East wintergreen, checkberry, Himalayan Snowberry

12 feet Snow, Hemkund Sahib and Valley of flowers

12 feet snow on the way to Hemkund Sahib
12 feet snow on the way to Hemkund Sahib
12 feet snow on the way to Hemkund Sahib

Way to Hemkund Sahib, Just a day before its opening…..

This year valley of flowers and its surrounding area witnessed a good amount of snowfall. I went to Hemkund Sahib on 31st May this year. The amount of snow which I saw was huge. I was facing difficulties in opening my eyes as snow was shining in bright sunlight. But it was a very nice feeling, walking between these two huge walls of snow. There were places where these walls were as high as 12 feet. Snow in summers……! But all this will change in a matter of a months time. You will lush green on the both side of this path. Lots and lots of Brahamkamal and Blue Poppy Flowers. I am again visiting this place on 12th July. Actually starting from Delhi on 8th July, 2012. If you want to accompany me to this true wonder of nature and Valley of flowers kindly fill in your contact details at Contact Us. I will contact you personally.