Strolling through the bed of vividly coloured flowers amidst the mountains sensing the scent of flowers in the breeze, if this is not paradise what is it?
The valley of flowers dwells in the north of India, and is one of such idyllic place for everyone.At some point, everyone cherishes to live that idealistic moment, but it’s the expense that forces one to step back.
What if I break the myth by saying that one does not need to burn their pockets to witness the coloured flowers? And one can still enjoy every bit of it without really paying for the guide? Yes, that is possible if one plans the trip well as there are flocks of public transport available for one to reach their dream destination.
Route – The stairway to heaven of flowers:
The valley of Flowers dwells at the Chamoli district and the base of the trek is Ghangaria. And the best time to visit is from July to October.
Well, there are several routes to reach the base from any city, but the most convenient one with less hopping at places is Dehradun-Joshimath-Govindghat
If you are travelling from Mumbai, you can either book your tickets via rail or air till Dehradun. And if you are travelling from Delhi, Dehradun is approx 300 KM and you have ample options to reach there via roads. As per one’s comfort, Dehradun has several local transportation options to Joshimath. It takes around 8-9 hours to reach Joshimath. Once you touch down to Dehradun, you can either book a shared ride from the Rispana Pull stand for Rs. 1000. And if you are a part of a large group or looking for a cheaper option, there are local buses from ISBT. The bus journey starts from Dehradun at 6 am and ends at 5:30 pm. But it is advisable to confirm the bus timings as it varies as per the seasons.
The travel distance from Joshimath to Govindghat is 30 minutes. So, if you do not want your trip to be a hasty one, you can spend the evening at Joshimath. Again, there is something for every budget. From Dharamshala to guest houses and hotels. But disclaimer that, if you are looking for some luxurious stay, this might dishearten for you to know that these places do not have 5-star hotel services. But the 3-star hotels also provide a delightful stay.
Govindghat to Ghangaria
Ghangaria is the base of the trek. If you have seldom days in hand or your only purpose for the trip is to trek the Valley of Flowers, you can skip the stay at Govindghat and directly reach Ghangria. This is advisable to do a day prior the trek so that you are in high spirit on the trek day.
The distance between the two is approx 10 km. One can either trek to witness the picturesque landscapes or there is local transportation always available. Trekking the way to Ghangaria is preferable as it gives the glimpse of enchanting mountains. You might find the trek difficult, but it is a cemented trail with various tea stalls, dhabas, eateries available at even turn. And this makes your trek shorter. And there is no chance of losing your way because you will find flocks of people from a child to a senior citizen walking by your side.
Stopover at Ghangaria
Once you reach Ghangaria, check in for a stay. The stay at Ghangaria is cheap if you are fine with a room, dish cable and basic food. And if you want to live the authentic life, a stay at Gurudwara or Dharamshala is the best. You would want this time to relax and not exhaust yourself because by the next morning you will find yourself in the middle of the flowers.
Ghangaria to Valley of Flower
The day for which you travelled all the way to the north is here. The entire trek from Ghangaria to valley and back is about 10km. Thus, you want to dedicate an entire day. The opening hours from 7 am, so you would want to start by 5:30 am. Take a permit form the counter from Ghangaria and start walking. The fair will cost 150 rupees for an Indian and 600 rupees for a foreigner for 3 days. There are hundreds of people along with you to reach the same destination,so you need not worry about the route..
Once you reach the valley, you are a free bird to explore the place. The valley is painted in lush green with shades of pinks, yellows, blues and other colours at different paces. There are over 300 unique flower species blooming around you. It looks straight out of a painting where flowers dance in the middle of the mountain.
Usually, people spend thousands of rupees to the tour operators for the trip. The use of the tour guide is only for this day where they help one to know the names of the flowers which you might not remember after hours. Thus, to avoid that, do your groundwork. Research the names and the pictures of some prominent flowers and accompany yourself with their colour prints. This will help to know the names and their features without burning your bank account.
The closing hours are 5 pm. Thus, in order to enjoy your stroll, it is advisable to start walking back by 1:30 PM in order to reach there by 5 pm.
After walking in the heaven all by yourself, you can head back from the same route towards your stay.
And with the colourful memories and spellbinding views imprinted in your mind, you walk back in reality through the same route you came.
Author – Radhika Shah.