In 1931, three British mountaineers - Frank Smythe, Eric Shipton and Romilly Holdsworth - were heading to the Great Himalayas when they lost their way, and ended up finding this beautiful valley. They christened it the “Valley of Flowers” when they saw mesmerizing waves of pink, blue and yellow flowers growing on lands by clear blue water streams.
The Valley of Flowers is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, nestled in the snowy peaks of Gauri Parvat, Rataba, Nilgiri Parvat, and is a part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Locally, it is referred to as “Phoolon Ki Ghati”, and is at an altitude of 3,600m.
Reasons Why You Should Visit The Valley of Flowers
Nature blooms in full glory here, and is home to over 600 species of exotic flowers like orchids, poppies, daisies. Alpine forests are spread across and you can see birch and rhododendron trees that grow around cascading waterfalls and streams, and the Pushpawati River flowing by. It is also rich in wildlife; you can spot the grey langur, the flying squirrel, the Himalayan weasel, and even the snow leopard.
It really is a photographer’s paradise!
The Valley of Flowers may be way up North, but it won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Road transportation and accommodation are both cost-effective, and despite being one of the most desired destinations in the country, it will allow you to immerse yourself in its beauty worry-free.
The trek will approximately cost you ₹10,000, including transportation, and if you travel in a group, you could avail a special discount when you book a package. Interestingly, this is also a holy site; the sacred Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara holds great importance to Sikh pilgrims and is located on the way to the Valley of Flowers, one of the highest pilgrims in the world.
A quaint village in the Garhwali region, Ghangaria is a great place to witness wilderness and culture in their truest sense. With various local restaurants, it is a tranquil stop-off while trekking here. It is the point of confluence of the Hemganga and Pushpawati River, and is also the base camp for several trekkers.
While flowers would be the main attraction here, if you’re interested in bird watching, this valley will introduce you to some striking species of Indian Himalayan birds like the golden eagle, snow pigeon, and more.
The Best Time To Visit The Valley Of Flowers Trek
July-August has always typically been the tourist season for the Valley of Flowers, when you can experience lush greenery, even see a little bit of melting snow patches on the peaks. Although you would witness rains towards the end of July, the flowers bloom in abundance and the valley is as colourful as a rainbow.
Trek Distance & Duration
The Valley of Flowers Trek is almost 40km long and you will be covering this distance in 4 days, trekking for almost 7 hours each day.
Who can undertake this trek?
Anybody over the age of 13 without any heart condition, asthma, or high blood pressure can take up this trek, provided you are fully prepped for it. You will need to go through a couple of months of mountaineering training with a fitness regime that allows you to cover about 5-6km in 30 minutes, without feeling tired.
Brief Itinerary of The Trek
Day 1: Rishikesh to Govindghat (11 hour drive)
How to reach Govindghat from Rishikesh?
There are a couple of transportation options for you to choose from – You can either take the local bus which plies between 4 am and 6 am, which will cost you around ₹500. Or, you can take a private cab or jeep.
Day 2: 14km trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria (7-8 hours)
Day 3: 8km trek to Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangaria (6-7 hours)
Day 4: 12km trek to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangaria (7-8 hours)
Day 5: 14km trek to Govindghat (6-7 hours)
Day 6: Drive back from Govindghat to Rishikesh.
You can travel from Rishikesh to Haridwar, which is about 20km away, or take a flight from the Dehradun Jolly Grant Airport, which is also 20km away.
Important Things To Carry On The Valley Of Flowers Trek
When planning for a trek, make sure you have self-sufficient gear that can equip you to embrace any weather condition, any terrain, and any uncertainty that comes your way.
Here are some essentials that you need to have on your adventure checklist -
1. Water bottle and thermos flask
Sleeping bag & tent
with high loading capacity and an extra, smaller backpack
4. Good grip trekking boots
5. A flashlight or headlamp
6. Hand sanitizer and face masks
7. Clothing – Layer up with a good mountain jacket, an extra fleece or light quilted jacket, thermal wear set, and trekking pants (preferably convertible)
– Gloves, winter cap, hat, sunglasses
9. Snacks – Energy bars, chocolates, and glucose
10. Personal medical kit and toiletries
12. Trekking pole
13. Rain cover,
With all of this in place, you can be
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long is the trek to Valley of Flowers?
The Valley of Flowers Trek is a four day long trek and you will be covering around 11-12km per day.
Is Valley of Flowers Trek difficult?
The Valley of Flowers Trek is of moderate difficulty, but requires you to have good endurance and stamina to cover the distance.
Is Valley of Flowers Trek worth?
Yes, the Valley of Flowers Trek is one of the safest, and most beautiful treks in the country with cascading waterfalls, abundance of flora and fauna, and even the Hemkund Gurdwara.
Is Valley of Flowers Trek open?
The Valley of Flowers Trek is open to public from June to October every year.
What is the best time to go to Valley of Flowers?
The best time to undertake the Valley of Flowers Trek is between July and mid-August when it is in full bloom.