Why The World Wants To Trek To Valley Of Flowers
Valley of Flowers is a legendary trek. The world knows of it! Many tales have been spun around this valley – usually about trekkers falling unconscious from the heavy scent of flowers on the valley floor. The beginnings of these tales were made by British mountaineer Frank Smythe, who stumbled upon this valley after a hard climb of Mt Kamet. “The most beautiful valley I had ever seen among the most noblest and purest mountains on earth” is how he put it in his book. That might sound like an extravagant description, but you would find it difficult to disagree.
The moment you enter the valley, you have a sweeping view of it’s vast expanse covered in a layer of flowers. Flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colours all grow together here.
In the entirety of the season of Valley of Flowers, the flowers you see are never the same.
The blooming of these alpine flowers come in waves. The first set of wildflowers come in the beginning of monsoon in July, and then in August, and then changes in relatively drier September..You are sure to see Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot and Dog Flower. No wonder this valley is a botanist dreamland.
Valley of Flowers is a legendary trek. It gives you a glimpse of the joys of Himalayan trekking in just a week. However, even though we have marked the trek as easy-moderate, don’t underestimate it. The climb to Hemkund Sahib is a challenging one. You will be climbing from 9,600 ft to 14,107 ft. It is almost like going to Bhagwabasa on the third day of your trek. Prepare well.
What to Watch Out For
The setting of the valley
While much has been said about the flowers, we must talk about the setting of the valley itself. On one side of the flower-decked valley tall cliffs climb to the sky. The other side is guarded by snow-clad mountains. The serene Pushpavati river glides through the middle of the valley. Clouds hang in between this amphitheatre of mountains. At the end of this 8km stretch of valley, you see a glacier that feeds the river. If there is a setting that is perfect, then this must be it.
The Hemkund Sahib lake
Many go to Hemkund Sahib for religious reasons. While the place is sacred to Sikhs,it is not the only reason the place is worth going to. Resting at a daunting altitude of 14, 107 ft, just behind the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, is the crystal clear alpine lake. Snow patches from surrounding mountains feed the lake. Himalayan flowers of Brahmakamal grow around it. These flowers only grow at heights of 10,000 ft to 15,000 ft. So it is a joy to see them grow in abundance. It completes the aura of serenity this place exudes.
Trekking in Monsoon
This is one of the few treks in Uttarakhand that can be done in monsoon. In fact, it is supposed to be done in monsoon. The blooming of the flowers is dependent on the rains, after all! Monsoon brings out the best in the hills. The valley is at it’s lushest green while flowers of intoxicating scents sprout from the wet earth . So don’t let the idea of trekking in rains deter you! It will rain for probably two days of your trek. Sometimes you will just experience light drizzles. Take a poncho and enjoy one of the best treks in the Himalayas during monsoon!
What to expect on the Valley of Flowers trek
Trekkers often ask us these questions.
1. How long is the Valley of Flowers trek?
The Valley of Flowers Trek is a 4 day long trek. The trek begins in Ghangria, which is a 11 hour drive from Rishikesh. Each day you will be trekking for about 6 hours. The 6 day Indihikes itinerary includes the 2 days of travel to and from the base camp Govind Ghat. From Govind Ghat, you trek to Ghangria, which will be your on trek base. Each day you will trek for about 6 hours, and return to Ghangria. In these 3 days, you will witness a wide-array of things – from blooming flowers, gushing rivers, tall mountain scapes in front of you, delicate bridges, stone paths, lakes and much more.
2. What is the best time to visit the Valley of Flowers trek?
The best time to do the Valley of Flowers trek is in July, August and Septemner. During these monsoon months, the flowers are in full bloom. The entire valley, for as far as your eyes can see are blanketed with flowers of different colour – green, yellow, red, blue, etc. In July and August you will be able to see the Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, Dog Flower, and White Leaf Hog Foot, to name a few.
3. How difficult is the Valley of Flowers trek?
Valley of Flowers is a moderate difficult trek. This means that you should follow a regular fitness routine before going for the trek. On each day you will be trekking for approximately 6 hours, and on some days, it will be longer. The entire trekking distance is 38 km. Each day you will gain an altitude of approximately 2000 ft, and on some days even more. For your body to handle this trekking distance, and altitude gain, you need to be extremelty fit.
The Valley of Flowers trek requires a high level of cardivascular endurance. You must begin training for your trek alteast 2 months in advance. Begin by jogging everyday. Slowly increase your pace. Before the trek, you should be able to comfortably run 5 km in under 40 minutes.
4. Is it okay to trek to Valley of Flowers during rainy season?
Yes, the Valley of Flowers Trek is primarily a monsoon trek. All of July, August, and upto the first week of September is the best time to do the trek. The flowers in the valley are in full bloom during this time of the year. You will encounter rain on this trek, so be sure to carry your poncho and other rain gear.
5. Is it okay for a first timer to attempt this trek?
Yes, the Valley of Flowers treks is a good first time trek. You get to experience high altitude trekking Be sure to work on your fitness before the trek. If you want to do a trek before the Valley of Flowers trek, do the Kedarkantha Trek or Dayara Bugyal Trek.
6. Are the pictures of Valley of Flowers on the internet real?
These photographs are real. You can tell by the colour of the flowers, and the landscape of the pass. There is a blanket of flowers of different colours, but of similar shades – this is one way to tell.
These photographs are NOT real.
We answer all these questions on the video below. Watch it to understand what to expect and also what NOT to expect on the Valley of Flowers trek. This article also addresses all the questions you might have about the Valley of Flowers trek. Alternatively, you could look at the FAQ section here. You’ll also find some essential tips to do the Valley of Flowers trek here.
A Brief Itinerary For The Valley Of Flowers Trek
Day 1: Reach Govindghat; 11 hours drive from Rishikesh. The pick-up location is at Rishikesh Zostel at 6:30 AM . The cab costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs 9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.
Day 2: Drive from Govindghat (6,300 ft) to Poolna (7,200 ft). Trek to Ghangria (9,843 ft); 5-6 hours, 9 km + 4 km drive
Day 3: Ghangria (9,600 ft) to Valley of Flowers (11,500 ft) and back; 6 hours, 3.7 km each way
Day 4: Ghangria (9,600) to Hemkund Sahib (14,107 ft) and back; 8-9 hours, 6 km each way
Day 5: Trek from Ghangria (9,600 ft) to Poolna (7,200 ft). Drive to Govind Ghat (6,300 ft); 4 hours, 9 km trek + 4 km drive
Day 6: Depart from Govind Ghat. You will reach Rishikesh between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm. The cab costs Rs.6,500 for an SUV and Rs.9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.
Important points to note about the Valley of Flowers trek:
1. Since Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek, there are possibilities of roadblocks due to landslides. Account for this by adding a buffer day in your travel plan.
2. BSNL network available in Govindghat. After that there will be no network on the trail
3. The stay on all days of this trek will be in lodges. You will not be camping in tents.
4. It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Detailed itinerary about the Valley of Flowers trek
Day 1: Getting to base camp, Govindghat
The trek to Valley of Flowers (VoF) and Hemkund starts a little beyond Joshimath, at a pilgrim hamlet called Govind Ghat. Leave Rishikesh early in the morning and travel along River Alakananda on the Badrinath highway. The roads are dangerously cut on mountains edges and at times, you only see the river flowing in the gorge deep below. Do not carry food with you as there are plenty of eateries on the way. As a trekker, there is no need to hire porters or mules on this trail but if you need one to carry your backpack, Govindghat is the place to hire a porter or mule. BSN network is available in Govindghat, so make all your calls here before you set off on the trek.
- Altitude: 6,300 ft (1,920 m)
- Time taken: 11 hours drive to Govindghat. Pick up from Rishikesh Zostel as the pickup at 6:30 am.
Day 2: Govindghat to Ghangria via Poolna
- Altitude: 6,300 ft (1,920 m) to 9,600 ft (2,926 m) via 7,200 ft (2,195 m)
- Time taken: 4 km drive to Poolna. 5-6 hours trek, 9 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradual ascent throughout on a well- defined trail
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at any of the several dhabas that you will find on the trail.
There is now a motorable road to Poolna. This reduces the distance to trekked today to 9 km from the earlier 13 km. Start with a 4 km cab ride to Poolna. The trail is well-defined. It is usually full of Sikh pilgrims walking up and down. Notice the cleanliness on the trail despite hundreds treading upon it every day. It’s a heartening and motivating sight. All thanks to volunteers who sweep the trail every day.
The 9 km trek from Poolna to Ghangria goes all the way along the river. Stop by any roadside dhaba for a drink or a bite to eat. The trail is alternately sunny and shaded. At around the midpoint of the day’s trek, you cross the river and go to the other bank. After this, you no longer trek alongside the river.
The trek takes 5-6 hours and you approach a tabular land. This is when you know you are close to Ghangria. Ghangria has a helipad and some space for camping. Half a kilometre from the helipad is the one-street village of Ghangria, lined with hotels, restaurants and a Gurudwara. The Gurudwara offers free accommodation and food to all.
Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back
- Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,195 m) to 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and back
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 3.7 km each way
- Trek gradient: Easy. Flat walk in the valley
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles from streams that you will find in the Valley, after a couple of hours of trekking.
Leave Ghangria early (6.00 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometre. There is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley. Walk inside and notice the small flowering plants springing up on either side. A kilometre into the gate, there is a scenic bridge across a stream gushing below.
Tall rocky mountains rise before you. Notice that the well-laid-out trail has now become a small footway along the side of the valley. The stream flows below you and there are small, hard snow patches by the side. On the trek inside Valley of Flowers, you see very few people around you. This may come across as a big and welcome contrast to the previous day’s trek, where there were hundreds. The scenery has also taken a drastic turn for the better and any direction you turn to looks picture-perfect. Trek along for a couple of kilometres on the flat path and to your right opens up the valley. Cross another rickety bridge and collect water to drink from below.
The entire valley is generally a carpet of colours – green, yellow, red, blue. It is surrounded by mountains with trees at lower levels, brown and grey soil in the middle and bright snow at the top. A bright sunny day will ensure deep blue skies completing the picture and taking it beyond your imagination. The valley is really a botanists’ dreamland! One can find flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colours, all growing together. Notice various types of bees and insects hovering on these strange flowers.
Walk further into the valley and you will be engulfed with an amazing scent, which unfortunately cannot be captured but can only be felt. The valley stretches 5-7 km further until it ends with a glacier visible at a distance. The stream flows all the way through the valley. Take off your shoes and dip your feet into it to experience the icy cold water.
Prominent flowers that you will see in July-August include Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot and Dog Flower. Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley. Overnight camping isn’t allowed either. Plan your return along the same path by early afternoon. The afternoon sun falling on the valley from a different direction gives a whole new perspective to the same place you saw in the morning.
Day 4: Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib and back
- Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,926 m) to 14,107 ft (4,300 m) and back
- Time taken: 9-10 hours, 6 km each way
- Trek gradient: Moderate – difficult. Steep ascent for about 4 hours to reach Hemkund Sahib and steep descent all the way back.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the hotels that line the trail.
Start your day early. The weather can be impulsive in the afternoon and sudden cloud cover and rain can get you stranded if you do not get down on time. The thought of getting up before 5.00 am can be daunting but the Gurudwara makes it easy. Their day starts at 4.00 am with the singing of bhajans.
By 5.00 am, you hear people outside the gate of the Gurudwara chanting in the chorus and the horses being readied to go up to Hemkund Sahib. Get up and grab a hot drink of chai. A poncho (light rain coat) and a trekking pole can be handy on the trek to Hemkund. Pass the deviation to Valley of Flowers. Continue to trek up the steep path slowly but steadily. Spot a pretty waterfall on your right falling through the rock walls on the right. After about 2 hours of walking, you are higher than the tree line and the views begin to get better. Mark the route to Valley of Flowers on the mountain in front across the river gorge. After another hour of slow walking with numerous breaks, you begin to feel reduced oxygen levels in the air. A melting glacier lies on the way. Take generous breaks while climbing up the steep path. These breaks are important as going up very fast could only mean inviting altitude sickness. Do not sit down during these breaks. Sitting down causes your muscles to relax and getting back on track can be very difficult. An hour of stiff climbing brings you to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. The lake lies just behind it. The Hemkund Sahib lake remains frozen for six months. Warm yourself in the Gurudwara and have generous helpings of hot tea and khichdi.
Walk around to the other side of the Hemkund Lake. It exudes an aura of peace and serenity. It’s crystal clear, undisturbed and reflects mountains the mountains surrounding it. The lake and the Gurudwara in this setting are a sight to watch. Around Hemkund, the Himalayan flower, Brahma Kamal grows abundantly. This flower grows only at heights of 10,000 ft to 15,000 ft. Leave Hemkund by early afternoon. The walk down can be strenuous on the knees and toes. It takes 4- 5 hours to walk down the 6 km.
Day 5: Ghangria to Govindghat via Poolna
- Altitude: 9,600 ft (2926 m) to 6,300 ft (1,920 m) via 7,200 ft (2,195 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours, 9 km + 4 km drive
- Trek gradient: Easy descent to Poolna on the same trail that you trekked on earlier.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the several dhabas that line the trail.
The trail back to Poolna is on the same path that you took on Day 1. Drive from Poolna to Govind Ghat. Start after breakfast and reach Govind Ghat by 2.00 pm.
Day 6: Govindghat to Rishikesh
Drive down to Rishikesh. Expect to reach Rishikesh between 6 pm and 7 pm.
Important note: Since Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek, there are possibilities of roadblocks due to landslides. Account for this by adding a buffer day in your travel plan.
How to get to the basecamp – Govindghat
Delhi → Rishikesh → Govindghat
The base camp for the Valley of Flowers trek is Govindghat, 272 km from Rishikesh.
Indiahikes arranges transport from Rishikesh (Zostel) at 6:30 am on Day 1 of the trek. The cost of this transport is Rs.6,000 per cab and Rs.9,000 for a Tempto Traveller. This amount will have to be shared by trekkers. You can pay the driver directly. You will reach Govindghat by 5.00 pm.
How to reach Rishikesh
Rishikesh is well-connected to most cities in India. The closest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport (It is the Dehradun airport, but is closer to Rishikesh than to Dehradun). It is just 20 km from Rishikesh. The closest railway station is the Haridwar station, an hour’s drive from Rishikesh. And there are plenty of buses that ply directly to Rishkesh.
Travelling from the Jolly Grant Airport to Rishikesh
If you decide to fly to Jolly Grant airport, make sure you reach at least one day before your pick up. You will need to stay there overnight and make it to the pick up point at 6 am on Day 1 of your trek.
If you’re travelling from the airport, there are buses that ply from there to Rishikesh every hour.
Pre-paid taxis are also available from the airport but we wouldn’t recommend these as they charge exorbitant amounts — Rs 800 to Rs 1000.
Instead, flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Rishikesh.
If you’d like to travel by train, take a train from Delhi to Haridwar and then a bus to Rishikesh
Haridwar is just an hour away from Rishikesh. And there are several trains that ply from Delhi to Haridwar. The day trains are best suited to your needs.
In Haridwar, the ISBT bus stop is across the road from the railway station. There are buses that ply at frequent 10-15 minute intervals to Rishikesh. It takes about 1 hour to get there.
Taxis are also available but buses are convenient enough.
Trains that would suit you best:
Dehradun Shtbdi (Train No: 12017). It is an AC train that leaves at 6:45 am from New Delhi Railway station (NDLS) and reaches Haridwar at 11:30 am.
Dehradun Jan Shatabdi (Train No: 12055). It leaves Nizamuddin station at 15:20, arrives at 19:33 at Haridwar.
Note: Do not take a train to Dehradun, its longer to reach Rishikesh from Dehradun railway station. Take the train only up to Hardiwar.
Bus from Delhi to Rishikesh
In case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular overnight Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Rishikesh. You also get Non-AC buses.
Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 8-9 hours to get to Rishikesh from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 900. Take a bus that reaches at 5:30am.
Note: Whichever mode of transport you choose make sure you reach Rishikesh a day earlier, Day 0.
Getting back to Delhi
Govindghat → Rishikesh → Delhi
The trek ends at Govindghat. The drive back to Rishikesh from Govindghat takes around 8 hours. Indiahikes arranges transport from Govindghatto Rishikesh. The cost of this transport is not included in the trek fee. The cab fare will be Rs. 6,000 (Bolero) or Rs 9,000 (Tempo Traveler). This will have to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach Rishikesh at 7.00 pm. You can take a train back to Delhi – Mussoorie Express (23.15) or Nanda Devi Express (00.55) the same night.
If you are travelling further from Rishikesh, you can book your transport post 9 pm, keeping two hours as buffer time in case of road blocks in the mountain roads.
If you’re travelling out of Delhi the next day, make sure you keep enough buffer time for booking your onward journey, to factor in train delays.
How to get fit for the Valley of Flowers trek
The Valley of Flowers trek is classified as a moderate trek. You trek up to an altitude of 14,100 feet at Hemkund Sahib from 6,234 ft at Govind Ghat. That is a huge altitude gain and you have to make sure your lungs are strong enough to acclimatise to thin air for more work.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.
–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 48 minutes.
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek
For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 45 minutes and the second 5 km in 40 minutes.
For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 48 minutes.
If you love cycling, cover a distance of 18 km in one hour and upload the same.
Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.’
What to take on the Valley of Flowers trek
- Trekking shoes: The climb to Hemkund Sahib is especially steep and you need shoes with ankle support. Sport shoes won’t be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Daypack (20 litres): You will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks for your trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.
The Valley of Flowers trek happens during monsoons so make sure you take a poncho for this trek.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three Warm Layers: You will be trekking and staying at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
- Two trek pants: Wear one pair and carry the other. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Mandatory
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes so wear a suncap to protect your face and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
- Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery:Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin – 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene – Half Strip
- Avil – 1 strip
- ORS – 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
How safe is the Valley of Flowers trek?
The Valley of Flowers trek by far is of moderate difficulty. You would need to be careful on slippery sections on the trail especially if it’s raining. The altitude gain while trekking from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib is something that you will need to be mindful of since AMS can hit trekkers at this altitude.
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Valley of Flowers trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Valley of Flowers trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Valley of Flowers trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Valley of Flowers trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft, the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out. On the Valley of Flowers trek, Hemkund Sahib is where AMS is most likely to hit a trekker. You might also notice its symptoms while descending if your body hasn’t adjusted to the altitude.
At any point in the trek, especially around Hemkund Sahib, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to Ghangria immediately.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours.And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Valley of Flowers trek
Valley of Flowers, being a pilgrims trail, is well laid out and has easy exits from Ghangria.
Joshimath, around an hour’s drive from Govindghat, has a hospital in case of a medical emergency during the trek.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Valley of Flowers, being a pilgrim’s trail, is well-laid out and has easy exits.
If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Indiahikes team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. There are plenty of exit points throughout the trek so any evacuation needed is taken care of. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy
We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that.
Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.
In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.
If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:
The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge.
If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee.
Special Cases That Could Occur:
There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.
1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.
2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)
In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you.
Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.
3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one).
In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.
How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link.
- Find your upcoming trek on your home page.
- Click on “Cancel Trek”
- Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
- Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable).
- Click on “Cancel Booking”
How long does the refund process take?
After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.
If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.
What is a Trek Voucher?
Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.
Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable.
How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?
If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek.
Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator.
The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.
So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.)
To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.
Your trek includes –
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Govind Ghat to Govind Ghat). You will be staying in lodges on all days of the trek. Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers.
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Govind Ghat on Day 1 to breakfast at Govind Ghat on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Trekking permits – All trekking permits and forest entry charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – We provide ice axes, ropes, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Your trek does not include –
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun station or Rishikesh and drop you back from Govind Ghat. This will cost approximately Rs.6,000 for an SUV and Rs.9,500 for a Tempo Traveler. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and return from Govind Ghat.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 500 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Govind Ghat (Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax).
- Stay at Rishikesh on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusion
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 40 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above , then try to cover 5 km in 48 minutes.This is a minimum, mandatory requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then cover 18 km in 60 minutes.
Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason are trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 500 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Rishikesh and drop you back from Govind Ghat. The pick-up location is Zostel - Badrinath Highway. This will cost approximately Rs.6,500for an SUV and Rs 9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.
Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.
Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
Stay is in lodges/hotels on all days on sharing basis. Males and females in separate rooms.
Twin sharing is not permitted on this trek.
Rooms have beds with mattress, pillow and blankets. Toilets are fixed concrete structures with running water.
There is no camping at all.
Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp for this trek?
Yes, you can keep the extra luggage for this trek at the basecamp at Govind Ghat. Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base. Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.
Why is offloading for 2 days only?
The offloading is for 2 days only as the other 2 days are day treks to Hemkund and Valley of flowers, you can leave your main bag behind in the lodge at Ghangaria.
What is the best season to see the flowers in bloom?
The best season is July, Aug to see the flowers in bloom. The valley turns magical with a riot of colors and scents.
How difficult is the trek for a beginner? Or can a beginner do this trek?
This is an easy to moderate trek of 4 days, with good fitness level a beginner can do the trek. But ensure you train regularly for the trek. The day trek to Hemkund is a steep climb to 14,107ft.
Can you include a visit to Badrinath?
Badrinath is about 36 km from the basecamp Govind Ghat. While we do not arrange the trip you can easily get a bus or cab to reach. You can visit Badrinath on Day 5 after 3 pm. Include Mana Village in your visit, it is the (3 km) from Badrinath and is the last village within Indian territory across the border from Tibet.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Valley Of Flowers Trek
Read this blog entry of the Valley of Flowers Trek. An absolutely picturesque trek, and as Ananthatejas points out there are some super filmy spots too. Read on to see some wonderful pictures and his trek experience.Read full blog
Here is someone who spent his birthday cleaning up the Valley of Flowers trail, all the way to Hemkund Sahib.Read full blog
Chandni Chhabra recently came down from Valley of flowers trek and beautifully penned down her experience. Here she clears common misconceptions and shares tips for future trekkers.Read full blog
What led Prerna to sign up for the Valley of Flowers trek was her deteriorating fitness. Sometimes a “fitter” you needs to go on a trek to make you feel better about an earlier trek. Read her story here.Read full blog
Shitalkumar Ramchandre went on the Valley of Flowers trek with his son Samyak. After getting back he wrote a blog to motivate his 7 year old son who fell in love with high altitude hiking. Read on to know how this father son duo successfully completed the trek against all odds.Read full blog
The world knows about the Valley of Flowers trek, but not everyone knows what to expect on the trek. Read this article if you plan on going for the trek this monsoon!Read full blog
Prakash and Pallavi Chitni trekked the Valley of Flowers and they suggest that it's best to be fit beyond the minimum requirements of your trek.Read full blog
Click on available dates to Register
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.
Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.