Traveller FAQs

Valley Of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib: DIY Budget Travel Guide

Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

Update: September 2016

I made another trip to the valley and this time managed to visit Hemkund Sahib too. So this guide is now updated wth latest information.

My old Valley of Flowers travelogues still gets the most traffic out of everything I have ever published here. So, I think it is a good time to refresh the memory and add some more value to it. The reason why I am doing this is because the season is starting now and this will be the first complete season after a gap of two years caused by the devastating flood of 2013.

Govindghat

How many days are needed for Valley of Flowers trek?
5 days from and back to Delhi should be enough if planned well.

What is the preferable route?

What I generally followed was the following,
Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Rudraprayag-Chamoli-Joshimath-Govindghat (Motorable Road — The NH 58)
Then finally trek to Ghangaria where you stay the night. The next day you can trek up to the valley and then come back. If you are going to Hemkund, it is another route from there and will take another day.

valley of flowers uttaranchal

Best time to visit Valley of Flowers?
Monsoon is when the flowers bloom. July and August are the best months but also be prepared to brave heavy rains. Carry raincoats and protect your equipment with plastic bags. In september the flowers start drying up. Check this post to see how it looks in September.

Is public transport available to Valley of Flowers?
You get transport till Govindghat and then you trek. From Delhi both trains and buses are available aplenty to Haridwar. After that you mostly rely on buses or hired cars that you can also share with others to save money if you are alone. Do not worry about the expenses as far as public transport is concerned. They are minimal.

Ghangaria

How Long Is The Trek?
As you can see, there are two parts of. The first you have to reach Ghangaria. This stretch is around 13 KMs of easy to moderate trekking. You will find food and accommodation here for the night and even this place offers good views with a waterfall. For here you can go to Valley of Flowers the next day. That trek used to be around 4 KMs. But newly built trek after the floods may be slightly longer. Hemkund Saheb is 6 KM away on another route and will take one extra day for it.

valley of flowers uttaranchal

What kind of support is available for those who cannot trek?
For those who have a problem with fitness, you can find horses or mules to carry. The locals who drag them charge good money (It used to be INR 500 for a one way ride in 2010). I also saw people being carried on stretcher by four other people although I guess they were heading for the pilgrimage rather than any kind of adventure.

What about Food Options?
Basic vegetarian food is available everywhere. Other options are less abundant considering the fact that it is a religious circuit. After Govindghat, a plate of Maggi seems to be the best option at any point of time (Although not sure what will replace it now considering current events).

How much should be the Budget?
In case you want to save money, it is possible to do this trip to and from Delhi in less than 4000 rupees in my opinion if you use public transport, stay in budget hotels and you are fit enough not to hire mules or horses. You can also lessen your costs by eating the langarsat various gurudwaras at Govndghat, Ghangaria, and even Hemkund.

valley of flowers uttaranchal

What about Accommodation?
Budget accommodation is available till the last base camp and hence it should not be a concern for anyone. But at the same time, if you are looking for luxury, you might be disappointed after Joshimath. But as a matter of principle, you should not be bothered about artificial comfort in such a place.

valley of flowers uttaranchal

Should I get a guide?
No. If you ask the travel agents in Joshimath they may try to get you one. But basically there is only one road and a sane person can’t possibly get lost. Just walk along.

valley of flowers uttaranchal

How long is the Hemkund Sahib trek?
It iis around 6kms but it is much steeper than the Valle of Flowers trek that takes you above 4000 metres.

Do I need one extra day for this trek?
Yes, Valley of Flowers and Hemkund are two independent treks that start from Ghangaria. You should keep two full days for these two treks.

Hemkund (12)

Do I get food up there at Hemkund?

Yes, the langar at the gurudwara serves khichdi and tea for free. There are many shacks on the route too.

Do I get any other transport to Hemkund if I cannot trek?
Yes, there are horses for hire and they charge around INR 1000 if you cannot trek.

Can I spend the night up there?
No. You must start your return trek latest by 2 pm and come down to Ghagaria.

Is there is a possibility of altitude sickness at Hemkund?
It is not impossible although it did not happen to me. You are going above 4000 metres so you need to be careful. There is a dispensary at the top too in case of emergency. In any case, the best solution is to come down as soon as possible in case you are not feeling well.

New Developments

My last vsited it in 2010. Then the flood of 2013 wped away the trek and it was closed for a couple of years. But now it has reopened and also new roads have been built. While most other details reman the same, here are a couple of things you need to know.

New Road to Pulna Village

Earlier one had to trek or rde a horse all the way from Govindghat and Ghangaria. But now there is a motorable road till Pulna village, which is around 3 KMs from Govindghat. There are shared cars that will drop you there for INR 35. You still have to trek around 10 kms from that point but it saves more than an hour of trekking.

Timings

From Govindghat you must start the trek before 2PM as t is a long way to Ghangaria. Otherwise you wll not even be allowed to cross the bridge by the cops. Simlarly, both Valley of Flowers and Hemkund must be approached as early as possible, so that you can come back by afternoon.

21 Comments

  • 2015/06/06 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Jitaditya, Lovely photographs and idea for Valley of flowers! I would be heading to valley of flowers. After completely Everest base camp, this places look great.. Hoping to see more flowers..

  • 2015/06/07 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Breathtaking views and charming blue flowers – my favorite color in the nature.

  • 2015/06/10 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful place. Do the flowers still blossom after the rains? Like maybe September?

  • Siva kumar
    2015/06/13 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jitaditya,
    Nice pics.. I am planning to visit this july. Would love to see Valley of flowers, Hemkund sahib and Badrinath.

  • 2015/06/17 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the info 🙂

  • 2015/06/20 - 7:59 am | Permalink

    Breathtaking views.Thanks for the info.
    http://www.srikri.com

  • Chiranjeev Bhandari
    2015/08/22 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    Hi Jitaditya!

    I have few questions –

    1.. Is it advisable to do this trek in first week of Sep?
    2. I’m very tight on schedule…but i still want to give it a shot! Can i complete VOF trek from (2nd sep-6th Sep) to & fro..?

    Thanks,
    Chiranjeev

    • 2015/08/22 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

      May be possible if you mean to and from Delhi… but do it at your own risk…
      Also I guess the flowers will be on the wane in September

      • Chiranjeev Bhandari
        2015/08/22 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks a lot for your reply! However what kind of risks are we looking at here?

  • 2016/07/25 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jitaditya, I have never heard of the Valley of Flowers but your pix looks so stunning. I would love to visit there one day. Thanks for the tips! – Julie

  • 2016/10/04 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Jita. Proper, precise information and the photographs are out of this world!

    Look forward to travelling together someday.

    Cheers

    Shubham

  • Pingback: A trip to Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India, Indian backpacking | The Travelling Slacker

  • Pingback: Valley of Flowers in September: Off Season Trek | The Travelling Slacker

  • 2017/02/18 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Such an amazing post and informative enough. The pictures are stunning. I have been longing to visit this place for a long but could not make out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Rasham
    2017/04/16 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Though I have not longed to be someplace but this is one destination luring me and I feel I must do it before I touch 60 which will be soon. I find your journey narration real enough
    to believe and encouraging enough to go on this trip earliest.

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