Fairy Land – Valley Of Flowers (VOF)

Last 3 year planning to go fairy land called Valley of flowers also known as upper Bhyundar Valley, But every time there are  issues and we keep postponing trip . Well this time also there were issues , but inspired by poem “tumi ekla chalo …..” (Walk Alone friend..) Started my journey alone.

Last year wanna go to Valley of flowers(VOF) in last week of September  , but some one suggest not to go in last week of September  and best time to go VOF is between 15-July to 31-AUG , when Valley is full of flowers.

The valley had long held a place in local legend, and was called Nandan Kanan — the garden of Lord Indra , no doubt it looks like garden of gods.
The credit for the popularizing the Valley of Flowers generally goes to the British mountaineers Frank S. Smythe and R.L. Holdsworth who incidentally, due to bad weather  reached this valley after a successful expedition of Mount Kamet in 1931 and latter wrote book “Valley of flowers” in 1938.

Valley of flowers(VOF)

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley)

Day 1 , Plain to Mountain

Early morning  started journey from  Haridwar to Joshimath.Haridwar to Joshimath is around 260KM , but bus/jeep take approx 10+ Hr to reach there due to hilly area.  Took GMO (Garhwal Motor Operators) bus from Haridwar. In bus few people from Gujarat,  going to Badrinath , few Army men going on Duty and some local people. GMO bus usually go via boundary of Rajaji National park , not via main highway to Rishikesh, it has beautiful view and less crowded ( almost no crowd). GMO bus was good , I feel it is better then taking Jeep/Sumo. I was tired, due to last night journey from Home town to Haridwar, but beautiful mountains, landscape kept me awake.  Reached Joshimath around 6:30 PM , it is already night. Not did any advance hotel booking , but got hotel easily. On the way there are too many “prayag” like Devaprayag , Rudrprayag etc. What I understood that “prayag” means palce where 2 river / stream meet.

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib

Haridwar  ->  Rishikesh  ->  Devaprayag ->  Rudrprayag  ->  Karnprayag ->  Joshimath

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib

Day 2, Joshimath – Govindghat- Ghanghria

They way to VOF start from small place called Govindghat , 22 KM away from Joshimath on the way of Badrinath.
started early morning from Joshimath to Govindghat. Everything look beautiful between Joshimath and Govindgaht , may be because we reached to some height ( above sea level) or may because got proper rest after 24 Hr journey in Bus , what ever it is,  but it is beautiful place to be. I asked driver to stop Jeep 2-3 places to take photos of Mountains , rivers , local people etc. We can see roaring Alaknanda river below along the road.

I already gone through 2-3 VOF Blogs, all suggest not to carry you racksag. So as soon as , I reached to Govindghat , I took porter and started 14 KM Journey/tracking  toward Ghanghria. There is another option to take pony , but I want to enjoy beauty of mountain and of course , back in mind, thinking , let burn some calories. Initial 2 KM and last 1KM is steep climb, rest of the path was fine. All they way  till Ghanghria ,there is strong smell of dung of Pony’s and path moves along the river Laxman Ganga. Some places river flow just next to path or tea stall.
There are too many shikh pilgrims, all the way till Ghanghria, most of them chanting “Wahi Guru , Sat Naam”. All the way till Ghanghria you will find tea snacks stall .

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib

After 7-8 KM , I realize that I made the mistake , probably , I would have taken Pony. My legs were paining like any thing and am tired badly. Which  ever hotel I got first , I stayed there  . No energy left to go and check other hotel.

Near hotel there is information center , which selling books and giving info about Valley of Flowers. They also run show about valley of flowers. I brought some book and CD.
No phone work at Ghanghria, there few shop having Satellite phone for which they charge approx 12 INR per min.

Day 3 , Ghanghria – VOF – Ghanghria
Early morning took breakfast , and packed some “Paratha” , chips , water , too many cadbury etc. Valley of flowers open time is 6 Am , I was there, sharp 6:00 AM,  but no one there at booking counter, I waited for 30 Min then one guy came , he apologize and gave me ticket. I was expecting more people there, but started walking inside alone , after walking for 1.5 KM , I was in doubt where there am in right direction ???…. 2  labor coming from back, confirm that , I am in right direction.After waking 3.5 Km down and up  Reached the one Man made bridge. After crossing bridge there is Big bolder , which is sign that Vally of flower started and place know as Bamin dhar.By the time I reached this bridge , I already took 73 Pictures.

Way to Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley)
Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib

Here I meet Raj ( DU Student from NE ) , we both started walking inside the valley. We took lots of pic and keep walking. It is just breathtaking view all around. It is looks like some one maintaining this valley.

While going forward we saw signboard , directing toward Mary Legge grave. Grave is on right side down, toward river from main trek ,  Miss Margarate Legge a botanist arrived VOF is 1939 for further studies. She had fatal slip on some rocky slope. Latter Her sister visited and made a memorial on the spot where she was buried by the Locals. Memorial stone have following words

 


“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help”

 

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
From Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib

 

 

Near Grave we took Quick Lunch and started to reach main trek. We keep walking toward “DronaGiri” . On the way there were 2-3 water stream, with no bridges.  At “Dronagiri” we can see lots of Bojpatara trees. After Dronagiri , trek cross the River , this part is most beautiful place. Very few tourist reach to this place. Most of the Tourist roam around initial 3 KM and go back.

Dronagiri Area of VOF

 

From this place of valley , one can have panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, Gauri parbat , Rataban , Kunt khal , Saptsring and Nilgiri.
It was 3:30PM  and time to go back , it started drizzling. We started toward Ghanghria.

 

going back to Ghanghria

 

Day 4 , Ghanghria – HemKund Sahib – Ghanghria

Took pony to reach HemKund Sahib. It has very very steep climb. After 2-3 KM pony took rest. We all get down from pony and took tea. On the way to Hemkund Sahib we saw lots of “BhramKamal”  flowers. This flower only grow on certain heights. I decided to take photos latter while coming down.
After reaching there people taking bath in lake near Gurudware before going to Prayer in Gurudware. I used work-around , took small water in one hand and sparkle/spray from head to toe  an then attended Prayer at Hemkund Shaib Gurudware. We also visited Laxman temple next to Gurudware.

After all Darshan and prayer , we went back of lake to took lots of pic of BharmKamal and Gurudware etc, By 1:00 PM Weather become very bad. Gurudware announce all people to pray ASAP and go back to Ghanghria.

Hemkund Sahib

 

Day5 , Ghanghria – Badrinathji – Joshimath

As per plan , I suppose to visit VOF again , but my legs were paining , so decided to go back. Morning Hotel Supervisor said , sir cloud looks clear, it going to be Sunny. He suggested to visit VOF in sunny day. His suggestion looks good , but again my legs were not keeping pace with my ideas and/or plans  BadriNathJi was not there in my plan , but thought to make quick visit BadriNathJi.early morning started from Ghanghria to Govindghat. Reached GovindGhat by 12:30 PM. From GovindGhat took bus for Badrinathji.

Govindghat

It was sunny day , Badrinath is not looks like Hill area , it is too much commercialized.After reaching near Badrinathji , took bucket from shop. Filled ½ bucket from Hot water spring and ½ with Alaknanada river and took bath. There was not too much rush near temple like any other famous temple. But like any other temple here also priest wanna know from , where I am , so he gonna tell me my family tree. All the time , i tried to avoid priest , but this guy tried to help me in all my ritual ,despite, I was rude in few reply. His dedication , calmness and simplicity impressed me and in end , voluntarily paid him a hefty fee. After “Darshan” rush to bus stop to catch bus / Jeep to Joshimath. I was lucky and got seat in last vehicle to Joshimath.

V BadriNath Temple

 

It was 15-AUG ie India independence day , Joshimath road was full of peoples and kids , looks like big festival.  Again few got good hotel at Joshimath and very easily.

Day 6  Joshimath – Haridwar

Early Morning 4 :00 Am getup to catch bus to Haridwar. Somehow missed the private (GMO )  bus. There was no Jeep early in Morning , so took Government Roadway bus , that was disaster.
Bus driver got to know that there was cloud burst near Badrinath, hence Road to Badrinath is closed for 7 Day because few meter road was washed away. Latter this news was there on News Channel and got lots of call from Family, office and Friends.
Luck was not with me and 30-40 Min Bus stopped and we came to know that road was blocked due to land slide. After 4-5 hr road was cleared and we reached Haridwar arount 6 PM.

 

Valley Of Flowers (Bhyundar Valley) , BadriNath , Hemkund Shaib
Traffic jam at Karnprayag

 

Thanks to Tabish  for guiding.  Thanks for Raj( from NorthEast) and   Anu ( from US ) for company during VOF and HemKund Sahib visit.

Raj ( Right ) , Anu ( Center )

 

 

About Valley of flowers

Valley of Flowers situated in the lap of the Himalayas about 3,200 m to 6,679 m in altitude in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. Pushpawati river emerge from Tipar glacier at base of Godhi Parvat ( Peak)  flows though valley of flowers and meet Laxman Ganga at Ghanghria and finally in to Alaknanda river in GovindGhat. Valley become frozen during winter and become fairy land during summer. Valley of flower take different shades of colors as month progressed. Valley come alive in month of April , when ice meltdown , become yellow in June , Purple and white in July , too many colors in August.
Government declare Valley of flowers as Nanda Devi National Park in 1982 ( 87.9 Sq KM), latter UNSCO declare it as World Heritage Site in 1988 (Extensions in 2005).

Local knew existence about this Bhyundar valley ( Valley of flowers) for centuries also called playground of Fairies and elves. But it not very popular in outside  of world , despite huge pligirm visit near by famous temple Badrinath , since 9th Century. Bhyundar located southeast of the shrine of Badrinath.
RL Holdsworth , Frank Smythe Eric Shipton and his team climbed to Kamet (7751 M) in 1931. Due to bad weather condition they descended into the north Bhyundar Valley. Smythe saw meadow of blue flowers.
RL Holdsworth wrote

All of a sudden I realized that I was simply surrounded by primulas. At once the day seemed to brighten perceptibly. Forgotten were all pains and cold and lost porters. And what a primula it was! Its leek-like habit proclaimed it a member of the nivalis section. All over the little shelves and terraces it grew, often with its roots in running water. At the most it stood six inches high, but its flowers were enormous for its stature and ample in number-sometimes as many as thirty to the beautifully proportioned umbel and in colour of the most heavenly French blue, sweetly scented.

Latter Smythe named this valley as ” Valley of flowers”. In 1937 Smythe  again  came back to India and stayed for 4 month and in 1938 Published a book ” Valley of flowers”

“I hope generously, my ignorance must judge for myself whether the Bhyundar Valley deserves its title the Valley of Flowers. Others will visit it, analyze it and probe it but, whatever their opinions, to me it will remain the ‘Valley of Flowers’ a valley of peace and perfect beauty where the human spirit may find repose” — Frank S. Smythe

 

 

 

43 Comments

  • Virag Sharma says:

    The Uttarakhand forest department has opened up a trek route near the Valley of Flowers, which was lying closed for the last 45 years.

    Besides getting adventure lovers to explore a virgin trail, another important objective behind the move, say government sources, is to provide an alternate route to rescue teams in case a disaster like the Kedarnath

    SS Rasaily, director, Nanda Devi Biosphere, told TOI,” The Kunthkhal-Hanuman Chatti trek route was lying closed now it is open.
    Badrinath is almost 10 km from Hanuman Chatti from where people can trek to Kunthkhal and Ghanghariya to get back to civilization. According to officials, trekkers can look forward to the newly opened trekking trail offering a lot of natural beauty.

    “The 15-km route is dotted with glaciers, gorges and rivers. The ideal time to trek here is from July to October during which nature lovers can spot a variety of flora and fauna. In particular, the exquisite Brahm Kamal flower, which is found at an elevation of over 4500 meter above sea level, can be seen flowering on this trail,” said Chandresh Joshi, divisional forest officer of Joshimath.

    Incidentally, besides Kunthkhal, the forest department is also beginning to promote a number of other forgotten treks close to the Valley of Flowers such as the trails leading to the Chanab Valley, Kagbhushandi Lake, Dronagiri Parvat etc.

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Yesterday 31-OCT-2015 , Valley Of Flowers is closed for this season

  • devkant says:

    Thanks for posting such a nice information about valley of flowers. It will be helpful for every one willing to come to valley of flowers.

  • Virag Sharma says:

    This Year Hemkund Saheb Ji closed NOW. It means most of facility will not there at Ghangaria , may be VOF will also close this year.

    http://goo.gl/iN5qk

  • ashoke_mazumder says:

    Thanks Virag. I will contact with Mr. Rajnish Chauhan.

  • Prashant says:

    Hi,

    just like you, I m not getting any mate to go along with me to VOF. So I m planning to go alone on 10th of August 2012 for 8 days trip. Please advice me whether it is safe to go alone. And what are the pros and cons of traveling alone.

    Thanks

    • Virag Sharma says:

      @ Prashant , As per my experience it is safe to go alone. However when go inside the valley , should go with some more people or join some other group. There will many people or group for VOF talk to them join them. Pros :- you can change plan according as per your own mood :)
      Cons :- More people means more fun. More people mean you can try to take risk

  • ashoke_mazumder says:

    Well done Virag. Your writing skill and photographic concepts are matured enough.You were so focused and lucky enough that you could spent from 6.30a.m. to 3.30p.m. at VOF. Hats off to you. My query- whether any guide is available for VOF? If yes, their fees?

    I have a planning to be in this route at the 1st. week of August,2012. I am at 50. Our group of 7 ( age gr. 35 to 60, all male). I need your help for information if required.

    I am a newcomer in the – Valley Of Ghnmakkar. I am enjoying this valley which is full of Natural Resources.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Virag Sharma says:

      At Ghanghria , one photographer Mr Rajnish Chauhan runs a photo shop and good guide. He wrote VOF photos book also But this guys is over booked for VOF guidance. Anyway talk to him , if he ready to guide you then fine other wise talk to him , he will happily give you lot of tips and info and probably pointer to some other guide.

      Apart from this there is VOF information center , which sale books, CD on VOF and also run small documentary movie on VOF which are very helpful.

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Thanks Ashoke for feedback. All pics taken in auto mode only

  • ashoke_mazumder says:

    Thanks Virag.It is Splendid.My query- whether pics. were taken in manual or auto mode?

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Thanks Vandana . Hope and wish you that you will make successful trip to badrinathjike bagiche (Valley Of Flowers ).

  • vandana paranjape,nashik says:

    dear viragji,ek likhana bhul gayi thi,Hemkundsahib gurugivindsingki tapsyasthali hai,gurujiki samadhi Nanded-Mahatashtrame hai. laxmanjikibhi ye tapsyasthali hai,shriramjike nirvankebad laxmanjine yaha tapsya ki thi. ekbar fir thanks.

    • Virag Sharma says:

      Nanded-Mahatashtrame is in my visit list but never reached there. Every time go to Igatpuri , thought to get down at Nanded , it never happened.

      Thanks once again for you feedback and/or comments

  • vandana paranjape,nashik says:

    Dear viragji, bhagvan badrinathjike bagicheme ghumanekeliye shukriya.mai badrinath 2bar gayi hun par ye bagicha nahi dekh saki janeka vichar hai,2012me jayenge.thanks.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Virag,

    Great description of VOF – alongwith access points which otherwise was a cloudy affair to me-

    VOF was always on our horizon – your article further motivates us to be there-

    Thanks

    Auro

  • Sahil Sethi says:

    @ Virag , I am little late to comment .

    A very detailed log with beautiful pictures.
    Hemkund Sahib , VOF , Badrinath were on my plan this july , but due to hevy landslides as the route was closed for few days , I have postponed my trip to September. Hope all goes well .

    Sahil

  • Nandan says:

    Virag – I wont welcome you to Ghumakkar since I know that you have been around for a long time. :-) And this post is just perfect. let me not repeat the request for splitting this in many posts.

    Very courageous, going all by yourself for such a long journey. Inspiring.

    If I can have my way, I would want to have its name as ‘Nandan Kanan’, may be I would get a free entry.

  • Minakshi Sharma says:

    First of all i like its name very much.. ” Fairy Land ” Yes its fairy land and nothing can be beautiful than this.. Nature has given us so many things to be happy and cherish.. Really its fairy land once u see the beauty u just lost it and flowers are beyond ur imagination.Information is very appropriate and when u read u feel that u have seen the place through the eyes of Virag Sharma .Photos are very nicely clicked and it shows that u have put a lot efforts in to it. One thing which i would like to mention that that u should divided in to small notes .And u are very talented and a very good writer.. One thing i like the most that u really love nature and put the choclates wrapper in dustbin..
    Thanks
    Minakshi Sharma

  • Manish Kumar says:

    Nice pictures Virag ! Some of the views are simply breathtaking.

  • Vikas Sharma says:

    Yo man….too good. Both pics and description are just amazing. Bit long, but very interesting. Thanks for lots of info that you provided on the en-route for other Ghumakkars. I wish i could have been part of your group. Its on my wish list to visit Hem Kunth Sahib Ji. Keep posting such informative trips in future as well.

  • Nisha says:

    Nice but a long post, I agree with Sandeep… could have been divided into 2-3 more posts & with more pictures. Pictures are quite beautiful though.

    So, is there no GMO from Joshimath onwards since you took a jeep?
    Could you finish all chocolates that you took along to VOF? :)

    I have been wanting to go there, let’s see. Foremost concern is weather.

    • Virag Sharma says:

      Thanks Nisha for feedback / comments. Since I put all in one post, skipped many incident also tried to reduce pics , so post not become heavy on browser. You can click on any pic , that will take to Picasa web album for more pics.
      GMO bus will be there from Joshimath onward , but frequency is very less and early morning most of them going toward Haridwar / Rishikesh .
      Yes ,I Finished my all dark choco cadbury ( Only 2 shared with co-traveler :) ) and took all remaining wrapper in back to Ghanghria and put in dust bin.
      It is disappointing to see chips / chewing gum wrapper etc in VOF.
      Just make your mind and start journey , rest will follow.

      • Nisha says:

        One more question.
        How much time did you take to reach VOF? I can see it was a sunny day. Rains will force us to take more time than that. :)

        • Virag Sharma says:

          I took around 1 hr to reach VOF from Ghanghria (approx 3.5 KM ). Few Place Trek was really bad due to landslide. It hard to predict weather in valley and it keep changing from morning to evening. Must take Ponchoe/Raincoat and enjoy VOF regardless of feather condition.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Virag,
    Very nice and informative post. I am not agree with you on your view about yourself that you are poor in writing, this post is narrated very beautifully. Yes during going through the post I made my mind to suggest you to break the post in small parts well please keep this in mind during writing the next post.

    Thanks.

  • maheh semwal says:

    Very informative post with awesome pictures. Its a request , kindly take care of the suggestion given by Sandeep.

    VOF is in my wish list, lets see when dream comes true.

    Keep sharing your experiences.

  • Aditya says:

    Nice post… I too made the similar journey in the first week of September last year and debuted on Ghumakkar with the same…. Thanks for bringing back all those memories….
    Keep Traveling….Keep Writing….
    Happy Ghumakkari….

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Thanks Sandeep for your comments. I agree with you , but am very poor in writing. This post I started writing last October and finished now :) . I will try my best and make sure to write in more detail and in different section/part. Thanks once again

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