Valley Of Flowers Trek

A Legendary Trail The World Wants To Trek In
Trek Fee : 8,450 + 5% GST See Inclusions

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Difficulty
Difficulty
? Moderate treks may have steep ascents and descents. These can go upto 14,000 ft or higher and trekking hours can go upto 6 hours everyday. Easy exits are possible from a few campsites.
Moderate
Duration
Duration
6 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
14,400 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Rishikesh
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Govind Ghat
Age
Minimum Age
8
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
July - September

The Complete Guide To Valley Of Flowers Trek

A Legendary Trail The World Wants To Trek In

The Valley of Flowers trek is one of India’s most popular treks in the Himalayas. People who haven’t even stepped in the Himalayas, have heard about the Valley of Flowers trek. 

But there is a solid reason behind Valley Of Flower’s legendary popularity – it is one of India’s oldest known treks. 

In 1980, Indian government created the Valley of Flowers National Park, and later in 2002, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This pushed Valley of Flowers on the bucket list of trekkers from around the world.

Having said that, you must note that Valley Of Flowers trek is not easy. It is a moderate level trek, with slightly longer trekking days and a steep ascent to Hemkund Sahib that will challenge your endurance. So, prepare well for this trek. We have talked in detail about this in the ‘difficulty’ section of this trek guide.

This extensive trek guide contains all details you need to know to do this trek.

And, it also contains an interesting insight, a story of how one can fall in love with Himalayan treks after trekking to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Yes, that can happen. We know, because it happened with Sandhya U C, Co-Founder and COO of Indiahikes. 

Use these pointers to navigate through this extensive trek guide:


What I Like And Don’t Like About Valley Of Flowers

Sandhya UC
Co-Founder & COO
Valley Of Flowers was my first Himalayan trek. I not only loved the trek but also fell in love with trekking in the Himalayas because of it. After Valley Of Flowers, I went on to do a lot more Himalayan treks, but the Valley of Flowers stays very close to my heart! A lot of people tend to discredit the trek thinking there is not much to it. That would be a mistake. There is a lot going for the trek.

 


What I like about Valley Of Flowers

1. The Valley of Flowers
The biggest reason for me to love and remember the trek is the beautiful valley itself. When you stand at the entry of the valley you see ahead of you a colourful carpet laid out.  The valley is at least a couple of kilometres wide and more than 10 kilometres long. In front of me was the carpet with waves of pinks, blues and yellows flowing along with the breadth and width.

Valley Of Flowers-Indiahikes
A breathtaking view of the Valley of Flowers with Dog Flowers (Impatiens Sulcata) in the foreground. Picture by Pavan Jain

A narrow path in between the flowers beckons you to go deeper. You now start seeing a variety of flowers. Not only in colours but in shapes, sizes, textures and smell. A few tens of steps bring you to a totally new variety of flowers. You wonder who got them here. What made the variety change? It was also interesting to see the big fauna change along with the changing flora.

I stood by the flowers, sat down beside them, lay down on the small exposed trail trying to immerse myself and feel a part of the multitude of flowers in the valley. The cool mountain breeze coming from the glacial end of the valley brought with it scents that I had never known before.

2. The climb and Hemkund Sahib
Valley Of Flowers is a moderate trek but the climb to Hemkund challenges you on the next level. In 6 km you gain almost 4,000 ft. This not only introduces a new challenge, it also takes you to a scenic zone that you did not expect.

I loved the entry into the alpine zone while climbing up to Hemkund. You almost get a drone or helicopter view of Ghangaia and Valley of flowers while on the way up. You can see where you came from and where you went the previous day. A bird’s-eye view puts in so much perspective even to landscape scenery.

Valley-of-Flowers-Climb-to-Hemkund-Sahib-Indiahikes
The trail that climbs from Valley of Flowers to Hemkund Sahib. Picture by Sayan Das

As you climb up steeply you go through varied experiences. Leaving the tree line, entering alpine meadows, feeling the thin air and looking up to the pure alpine cliffs.

Valley-Of-Flowers-Hemkund-Sahib-Indiahikes
Clouds reveal the pristine Hemkund lake. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

Once at Hemkund Sahib, the quietness of the lake and the surrounding mountains stun you. The majestic lake reflecting its surroundings – the mountains and the Gurudwara makes you reflect in gratitude about your entire journey. For many, it is a moment of quiet reflection of their entire lives.

3. The cultural experience
Valley Of Flowers is not just a trek. Along with a trek to the beautiful valley, it shows you an incredible journey of faith undertaken by humans. You see youngsters, middle-aged, elderly, children, toddlers on this incredible climb to the lake at 14,000 ft. Many take the support of ponies or even porters but quite a few of them climb on their own might.

It was heartwarming to see volunteers sweeping every section of the trail to keep it clean and working at Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara in freezing temperatures. It was a wonderful feeling to wake up in Ghangria at dawn to the parade calls of the Sikh Gurudwara. The trek shows you a world you would hardly see otherwise.

 


What I don’t like about Valley Of Flowers Trek

1. The fact that I cannot camp
Camping is an intrinsic part of a great trekking experience for me. Unfortunately, the Vally Of Flowers trek does not offer that experience. Ghangaria being on the pilgrim trail to Hemkund needs to house hundreds of people and thereby modern infrastructure of lodging is indispensable.  Camping is not allowed by the authorities.

The Valley of Flowers is a very ecologically sensitive area. Nobody is allowed to stay in the valley at night. No animals are allowed to enter the valley either. Given these restrictions, it is not practical to camp anywhere on the trek.

2. The innumerable shops selling packaged goods
All along the trail to Hemkund Sahib we see innumerable dhabas and shops selling food and packaged goods. While we may say that the huge footfall necessitates the supply, I wish the shops were more regulated. I also wish there was better regulation on what could be sold in an eco-sensitive zone like this.

Packaged goods freely available everywhere only means prolific litter everywhere. Perhaps time to question how we solve our needs of food and drink on a high traffic trail like this. Would you have any suggestions?

 


Best Time To Visit Valley Of Flowers

The gates to Valley Of Flowers open at the beginning of June. But the best time to visit is between July and September. You can extend it to the end of September.

Even in the best months between July and September, the trek is not the same every month.

Valley Of Flowers Trek In July-August-September:

July It is lush green. The flowers are just beginning to bloom. Peak flowering season starts after mid-July. There are a few old snow bridges and some melting snow patches. Expect a riot of colours. Rains pick up after mid-July. The valley is least crowded in July.
August The first 15 days of August see a huge number of flowers Though there’s a good amount of rain at Govindghat. But at higher altitudes, it’s not always heavy. It’s crowded around weekends. But on weekdays you don’t have to worry about crowds.
September Flowers have wilted by now and valley is swelling with a crowd of pilgrims.

Valley Of Flowers In July:

In July expect a lot of greenery. You will also find a bit of snow till rains begin in full swing. But there won’t be many flowers until mid-July. Since the trek climbs to such a high altitude (~14,000 ft), it retains snow even in July. Only later in July, the rain washes off the snow.

Monsoon also starts setting in in July. But it doesn’t rain much in the first half. Monsoon gains momentum in the second half of July. Snow too starts getting washed off by then.

The Valley Of Flowers starts blooming – in the true sense – from mid-July onwards. And if there is a favourite time to do this trek, it has to be from mid-July to mid-August.

Valley-of-flowers-Indiahikes
Epilobium Laxum of the Evening Primrose family in full bloom between July and August. Picture by Gourab Nandy

Valley Of Flowers In August:

In August, monsoon clouds hang low and wash over the entire valley. Maximum flowers in the valley bloom during this period. While you get a good amount of rain at Govindghat during this time, at the higher altitudes it turns into a drizzle.

| Tip: Watch out for the precious Brahmakamal as you climb to Hemkund Sahib. This beautiful flower only grows around the altitude of 14,000 feet so is a rare sighting.

Even the crowds aren’t heavy during the initial days of August. This makes it a perfect time to explore the valley blooming with flowers.

Valley Of Flowers In September:

Flowers begin wilting by the second half of August and by September very few flowers are left. But there’s a different kind of beauty to this month of retreating monsoon. Skies start clearing up and you witness some clear mountain views.

Valley Of Flowers-September-Indiahikes
Valley of Flowers in September. Picture by Gourab Nandy

But September is also the time when the crowd in the valley starts thickening, During this month, pilgrims flock to visit the Gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib.

| Note: During peak monsoon, make it a point to visit the Valley of Flowers in the first half of the day and be back by 2 pm. Post that, the intensity of the rain increases. And that makes it risky to cross the rickety bridges over Lakshman Ganga.

 


Weather And Temperature On The Valley Of Flowers Trek

Temperature on the Valley of Flowers trek: It is not very cold on the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib trek because the trek is done in the post-summer months of July, August and early September.

A second reason is that the highest place at which we stay overnight is Ghangria which is a shade below 10,000 ft.

Having said that, the trek is quite cold for someone coming in anywhere else but from the Himalayan villages. On the trek you can expect night and minimum temperatures to be about 3 – 5 degrees. Day temperatures are expected to be between 10 – 18 degrees based on precipitation and cloud cover of the day.

Rainfall on the Valley of Flowers trek: Monsoons officially reach Uttarakhand by the second week in July. But we don’t see much rain until the first half of July. It is very pleasant trekking in the valley. After mid-July, we see regular rains which continue all the way into August.

But do not fret over the rains. On the trek, the rain is always manageable by wearing your rain gears like a poncho and a rain pant. We also see that the first half of the day usually sees lighter rain as compared to the evenings and nights. Our trek days start early everyday and end by early afternoon.

Our strict start times and turnaround times keep us out on the trail during the best parts of the day and back in the safety of our lodge when the rains become heavy.

Come the end of August, the rains start to retreat. You get clearer skies and crisp views.

Snow on the Valley of Flowers trek: The Valley of Flowers trek is not timed for its snow experience but early in the season you do get to walk on snow bridges and snow patches. The trail to the valley of flowers has snow bridges formed over the river and at many places, you walk right beside the snow bridges.

On the trail to Hemkund too, you get a handful of snow patches to cross early in the season. Expect to see melting snow flowing into Hemkund Sahib early in July. Most of the snow is gone once the rains set in by August.


With the best time and weather information covered, the next question with respect to a Himalayan trek on a trekker’s mind is – how difficult is the Valley Of Flowers trek?


How difficult is Valley Of Flowers trek?

To be honest, Valley Of Flowers trek, which climbs to 14,400 ft, is not really difficult. It is rated as ‘moderate’. That too only because trekking days are slightly long. 

A moderate rating refers to marginally longer trekking days with a few steep climbs (example: climb from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib). This makes it a notch more difficult than the easy-moderate treks like Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal.

To give you a perspective, the Valley of Flowers trek is 38 km long. And you cover this distance in 4 days. Every day you 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 have good fitness levels.

And here’s a yardstick for that – before the trek begins, you should be able to comfortably run 5 km in under 40 minutes. Click here for the fitness schedule to achieve that goal.

But the trek has easy exits and there are no technical sections.

To make it easier for you to take note, here’s a list of difficult and tricky sections on the Valley Of Flowers Trek:

1. Rockfall area in the valley. There are two rockfall sections on this trek. You will come across the first one between Govindghat to Ghandria on the first day. And the second one lies around 20 minutes from the forest checkpoint as you trek from Ghangria to Valley of Flowers.

| Safety Advice: Be quiet and cross without stopping, in one go. Both rockfall sections on Valley Of Flowers trek are only about 20 metres long. Be mentally prepared for these and stay alert.

2. The melting snow blocks on the way to Hemkund Sahib in July and August. There is no snow on the trail but you can get snow melts coming down from the mountainside above the trail. Be mindful and keep an eye out especially on the mountainside when you are climbing up to Hemkund.

| Safety Advice: If you are feeling unsure, ask for guidance. Your guide usually puts stones to step upon without getting your feet wet. No other major risk here.

3. The hard climb to Hemkund Sahib and altitude sickness. Symptoms of AMS like headache, dizziness and nausea are common on the climb to Hemkund Sahib. Climbing almost 4000 ft from 9,600 ft to 14,100 ft in a single day is the big culprit behind you feeling these symptoms. So, trek up slowly but steadily. Take breaks after every 100 meters and take deep breaths.

| Tip: Micro-steps is a useful technique to climb uphill effortlessly. According to this technique, trek with a minuscule gap of 2-inch between the heel of one foot and toes of the next. Read more about micro-steps here.

| Safety Advice: Stay alert for any symptoms of AMS. When you climb too high too soon above 9000 ft, you risk the chance of developing Acute Mountain Sickness. On the Valley of Flowers trek, our itinerary is designed to reduce the chances of you being hit by AMS. We visit the Valley of flowers before we visit Hemkund Sahib to help your body acclimatize slowly to the increasing altitude.

4. Bridges over rivers. There are a couple of bridges on the Lakshman Ganga (Govind Ghat to Ghangria) and a bridge over Pushpavati (Ghangria to Valley of Flowers) on the trail and they are narrow. Be mindful of mule trains crossing over the bridges. Do not get stuck on the bridge with them. Be mindful about the water level below the bridges too. Do not crowd over these bridges either.

| Safety advice: Walk always on the side nearer to the mountain, primarily because of mules. We make trekkers pass through this section of about 100-150 metres quickly without stopping for photographs or otherwise.

5. Hard snow crossing en route the Valley of flower Early in the season, en route valley of flowers, there is usually a patch of hard snow extending across the trail all the way to the Pushpavati river. It is a short 10-meter patch but nevertheless requires you to negotiate it with firm footing.

A trekking pole and your trekking shoe come in handy to put firm footings in the snow. If you do not have a trekking pole, make patches on the hard snow with your shoe to get a firm footing.

| Safety advice: If you are feeling too nervous on the hard snow crossing, request your guide to help you out by showing the steps or holding your hand through it.

Is Valley Of Flowers Trek Safe?

Yes. Valley of Flowers trek is safe because it is one of the most well-known treks in the Indian Himalayas and has well-laid trails frequented by pilgrims. Yet, you would need to be careful on slippery sections on the trail especially when it is raining.

The altitude gain while trekking from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib is also something that you need to be mindful of since AMS can hit trekkers at this altitude.

At this point, it is important to look at the details of the trek from the perspective of safety. It helps in being mentally prepared for the trek. That is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. Quickly, here it is:

| Trek in a nutshell: On the Valley Of Flowers trek you go up to an altitude of 14,400 ft over a trek of 38 km. This is spread over four days where you trek for around 6 hours and gain 2000 ft on an average every day. It is possible that you could be hit by AMS on any of these days, especially while on your way to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can easily survive at high altitudes.

To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of Valley Of Flowers trek from the perspective of safety:

Safety Of Valley Of Flowers – Terrain Wise

When it comes to terrain, Valley of Flowers can be considered as highly safe.

  • The entire route is marked with well-marked trails
  • Well trodden routes
  • Most ascents are gradual except the climb to Hemkund Sahib.
  • Well placed campsites (important when considering AMS)
  • Easy exit points

There are hardly any sections that are challenging and require technical assistance. The only challenging section is the climb to Hemkund Sahib. However, even this section does not require technical assistance.

Safety of Valley of Flowers – Altitude Wise

As discussed in the above section, you are exposed to the risk of AMS during the stiff climb from Ghangria to Valley of Flowers.  Stay alert for any signs of altitude sickness.

Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check oxygen levels, go on a curative course of Diamox, drink water and rest. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.

To help you understand AMS better, we’ve put together a complete guide about it. This is a series of videos you must watch before you get onto any high altitude trek:

  1. What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
  2. How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
  3. How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
  4. 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE

If you experience any symptoms of AMS, even in the slightest, start taking steps to treat the sickness.

At Indiahikes, our trek leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies related to AMS.

Safety of Valley of Flowers – Weather Wise

The trek is safe throughout the monsoon season. It may get slippery in parts due to rains. Good trekking shoes can take care of it. So, choose your trekking shoes wisely.
Apart from that, keep an eye out for the strong river currents while crossing bridges on the trek (view difficulty section for details). To be safe, trek in the first half of the day when rains aren’t heavy.

Exit points on Valley of Flowers trek

Valley of Flowers, being a pilgrims trail, is well laid out and has easy exits from Ghangria. The nearest hospital in case of a medical emergency is the army hospital at Joshimath. It is around an hour’s drive from Govindghat.

 


How To Reach Valley Of Flowers From Rishikesh

Valley of flowers lies deep inside Uttarakhand in the Chamoli district. The trek starts at a place called Govindghat. To get to Govindghat, you need to come to Rishikesh.

Rishikesh is a big city of Uttarkhand and also a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. It lies at the foothills of the Himalayas and is your gateway to the Garhwal region.

Watch this video to know how to reach Valley of Flowers:


How To Get To Govindghat From Rishikesh? 

Govindghat lies on the Rishikesh Badrinath highway, just about 25 kms before Badrinath and almost 272 kms away from Rishikesh. 272 km in the winding Himalayan roads means that it is going to be a long road drive to get to Govindghat.

It takes at least 12 hours to cover this distance on a regular day. Give an hour or two if you encounter a roadblock due to landslide or a tyre puncture.  This makes it imperative for you to start your journey from Rishikesh as early as possible. We advise a 5 am or latest by 6 am to ensure you reach by sunset.

This is also the reason why you MUST reach Rishikesh a day before this journey day. Do not take an overnight train or bus and reach in the morning. Reaching Rishikesh the evening before also gives you the much required rest and sleep before the long road journey and the trek.

| Travelling with Indiahikes? Click here for more information

Travelling on your own

If you are travelling with 4-5 people it makes sense to hire your own vehicle which will cost about Rs 6,000 – Rs 6,500.

If you are travelling alone or just want a cheaper option, you can take the Rishikesh Badrinath bus and get off at Govindghat. The bus to Badrinath leaves Rishikesh bus stand at 4 am. You can also take the bus to Pandukeshwar which leaves Rishikesh at 4.30 am. Bus fare is around Rs 400.

In case you miss these early buses, do not worry, you can take buses to Joshimath which leave Rishikesh at 6 am. Joshimath is 20 km before Govind Ghat and also takes 10-11 hours to reach.

Stay over at Joshimath for the night and take a shared cab (Rs 50 per head) to Govindghat the next morning from the Badrinath taxi stand. You can then skip the stay at Govindghat and get on the trek directly.

The Scenic Drive

The journey from Rishikesh to Govindghat is very interesting and exciting. You start your journey along the Ganga, perhaps the most important river in India and you drive upstream seeing how the river actually forms from its tributaries.

You will pass the Panch Prayag or the 5 confluences that make the Ganga – Dev Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nand Prayag and Vishnu Prayag. If you can, stop your vehicle and spend a moment at these confluences to see the different waters mix to make the mighty Himalayan river.

Your drive until Karan Prayag which you will cover by midday will take you through many bustling hill towns. Post Karan Prayag, the civilization thins. You are deep in the mountains driving over narrow overhangs beside the Alaknanda river. The river stays with you all the way to Govindghat.

From Rishikesh To The Base camp Of Valley Of Flowers Trek (Map)

Rishikesh-to-Govindghat-Indiahikes


Green Trails

The Valley of Flowers and Hemkund trail sees thousands of pilgrims, trekkers and locals on it every week. The sheer number of people makes the trek a high litter zone. The small shops selling water and nick knacks lining the initial trail only add to the problem.

An Eco Development Committee has been formed by the local people of this region to tackle this problem. And they do a wonderful job of cleaning up the place.

Valley-Of-Flowers-Green-Trails
Karan notes that the Valley of Flowers itself is clean because of good initiatives by the forest department. Picture by Harsh Kulkarni

However, the place always requires additional hands.  The entire trail from Govindghat to Ghangaria and to Valley of flowers sees waste littered on the trail regularly. If you are mindful, you can sweep up the entire place clean.  Do your bit.  If your Eco Bag gets full, hand over the waste to the cleaners who are cleaning the trail.

 


What To Take On The Valley Of Flowers Trek

Valley of Flowers is a high altitude trek and is done in monsoon. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is different from regular treks. And here’s a video that will help.

Complete Video Playlist: How To Pack For Valley Of Flowers Trek

Mandatory Documents to carry On Valley Of Flowers Trek

Carry an Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, a passport will do.

You will need to submit your identification to the forest department. Without these, you will not be allowed to trek.

| Tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack to prevent them from getting wet.

If you have registered with Indiahikes, you also need to carry the Disclaimer Certificate and the Medical Certificate.

For an exhaustive list of things to carry, click here.

 


Network And Connectivity

Last ATM Electricity Mobile Service Providers Network Hotspots
The last atm is in Joshimath. There are none near our basecamp, Govindghat.
But do not bank upon the last ATM, they too run out of cash. Withdraw cash before you begin your road journey to Govindghat.
Stay in lodges/guesthouses at Govind Ghat and Ghangria. Both lodges have electricity There is no network on the trail. But at Govindghat Basecamp. BSNL works Only BSNL at Govind Ghat

 


Frequently Asked Questions About The Valley Of Flowers Trek

These questions were answered by Latika Payak, Digital Content Manager at Indiahikes.

1. Which city is known as Valley of Flowers?

Valley of Flowers is not a city, but a National Park located in the North Chamoli district of Uttarakhand around the Pushpavati river. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 for its rich biodiversity. Later it became a part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere. 

The main attraction of the Valley Of Flowers are its flowers. There are more than 500 varieties of flowers that bloom during the monsoon season. These even include the rare Himalayan Brahmakamal.

 


2. How long is the Valley of Flowers trek?

The Valley of Flowers Trek is 38 km long. And you cover this distance in 4 days where you trek approximately for 6 hours every day. You also need to keep two days for travelling to and from the basecamp of the Valley of Flowers trek.

The trek begins from Govindghat, which is an 11-hour drive from Rishikesh. From Govindghat, you trek to Ghangria. This will be yours on trek base. Each day you will trek for about 6 hours, and return to Ghangria.

During the trek, you will witness a wide array of things – from blooming flowers, gushing rivers, tall mountainscapes in front of you, delicate bridges, stone paths, lakes, and much more.

 


 3. 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 up to 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.

 


4. 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.

 


5. 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.

 


6. What’s the weather like in the Valley of Flowers?

You will receive light showers throughout the trek as it is set in monsoon. The intensity of rain on the trek usually increases after 2 pm, so aim to complete your day’s trek before that.

You need to be mindful about this timing especially on the day you explore Valley Of Flowers as you will need to cross the roaring Pushpavati river, which increases its force during heavy rainfall. And while there is a feeble bridge taking you from one side to another, crossing it during rains increases the risk.

Apart from this, you will find snow early in July and rain would have died down in September.

 


Places To Visit Around Valley Of Flowers

Visit Badrinath Temple in August
This is not related to the trek, but the Badrinath temple is near-empty during this time. You can spend more than an hour in the main part of the temple in front of the deity. You can see the aarti without disturbance. Usually, when there’s a crowd, you can hardly stand there even for a minute.

| Note: The road beyond Govindghat is unpredictable because of the Lambagad landslide zone, so stay alert and enquire before you set off.

 


Valley Of Flowers Trekker Blogs

Valley of Flowers: Where I Learnt That Fitness is Key to Enjoying a Trek

Blog by Prema Munshi

Sometimes you need to go on a consecutive trek to feel good about an earlier trek.

Going on the Valley of Flowers trek was an instantaneous decision post my Kedarkantha trek in May of last year. I had an awful time on the KK trek, mainly because I wasn’t too fit and lacked experience. With Valley of Flowers, I chose a more doable trek, determined to raise my fitness and experience levels.

Not that Kedarkantha was too hard but with Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib now accomplished, I can look back and see the mistakes I committed on my first trek. So much to learn and unlearn. Read the full blog →

Read all Valley Of Flowers Blogs

 

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 (9,600 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.
Valley of Flowers-Indiahikes
Breathtaking view of the Valley of Flowers. Picture by Harsh Kulkarni

 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.
Valley-Of-Flowers-Indiahikes
The trail to Valley of Flowers. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

There is now a motorable road to Poolna. This reduces the distance 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.
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Trail that goes through the Valley with flowers on either side. Picture by Gourab Nandy

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.

Valley-of-flowers-Glacier-Indiahikes
The glacier where the valley ends. Picture by Sandhya U C

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.

Valley-of-flowers-Hemkund Lake-Indiahikes
Hemkund Lake with an emerald hue. Picture by Hemanth Prajwal

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.
Valley-Of-Flowers-Indiahikes
The trail back to Ghangria. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

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.

Plan Your Travel for the Valley of Flowers trek

It is great to see you going on the Valley of Flowers Trek, a grand buffet of our greatest treks. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.

Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.  

1. Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel

Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Dehradun, proceed to Rishikesh. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun/Rishikesh.  

Day 1: Dehradun/Rishikesh to Govindghat drive. It is an 11-12 hour drive from Dehradun/Rishikesh. Govindghat is the basecamp for your trek. 

We organise transport to Govindghat from Dehradun Railway station or Zostel, Rishikesh. Our vehicles leave at 6:00 am sharp from Dehradun. 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:

  1. While getting to Govindghat, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Rishikesh (Day Zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at Rishikesh as it falls on the way (on Day 1). Staying at Rishikesh gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
  2. On your return from the trek you can get off at Rishikesh. If you do not want to get off at Rishikesh, the final stop of the vehicle is at the Haridwar railway station. You reach Haridwar between 6.00 and 7.00 pm.
  3. The cab costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs 9,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Buffer Day: Keep a buffer day for emergencies. Your trek is 6 days long, but keep an extra 7th day as your buffer day. This is outside the itinerary. You cannot predict bad rain, landslides or a political situation on a trek. If you don’t use the buffer day on the trek, you can always use it for sightseeing in Rishikesh, Haridwar or Mussoorie. 

Always book your return flight/train tickets after including the buffer day in your itinerary. 

Your travel route to the Govindghat basecamp passes through Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and Joshimath. See map.


2. Planning your onward flight/train booking  

If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Delhi/Dehradun. 

There are two options for your flight booking.

Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun

We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Rishikesh. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Haridwar by train/bus.

| Tip: Dehradun Airport in Jolly Grant is closer to Rishikesh than Dehradun. It is 20 km from Rishikesh and 35 km from Dehradun.  

The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity (either to Rishikesh or Dehradun). Airport buses that ply between Rishikesh to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours. 

Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Rishikesh. 

Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Rishikesh.

Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Rishikesh. 

If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Rishikesh. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.   

Option 2: Flying to Delhi followed by train / bus to Dehradun / Rishikesh

Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.

| Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.  

Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Haridwar (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.45 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Haridwar at 3.50 am in the morning.

Important info: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.

For Metro train connectivity from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, take a metro to Dhaula Kuan metro station. Get off and walk down to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). Take a metro to Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station over the pink line. It takes about 45 mins to an hour to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin over metro.

At Rishikesh, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure. 

! Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Haridwar, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.

Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Haridwar by 8.00 pm. Then take an immediate bus to get to Rishikesh by 9.30 pm (bus stand is opposite the railway station). Stay overnight at Rishikesh. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Rishikesh.

Bus to Rishikesh:

In case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Haridwar/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 7-8 hours to get to Haridwar from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.


3. Planning your return flight/train booking

Booking your return tickets require some thought. First, always book your return ticket keeping in mind the buffer day. The buffer day must be included in your itinerary. If your trek ends on day 6, do not book your flight/train tickets for day 7. Instead book for day 8. Day 7 is your buffer day.

Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets for Day 9. 

Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 9. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.

How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight

If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options. 

Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Haridwar (12402) that leaves Haridwar slightly past midnight (00.17 hrs) to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis.

For Metro train walk down to the Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station, take a metro to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus, get off and connect to Dhaula Kuan Airport line metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). From Dhaula Kuan you get metro train to the airport.

| Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.   

Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Haridwar. It is about 5½ – 6 hrs journey to Delhi. From Rishikesh add another hour to the journey. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 3.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 10 pm will reach Delhi around 4.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey. 

From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.

| Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun:

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 8. Most metro cities are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.


4. Planning your hotel/stay

While booking hotels on your return, always book your rooms assuming the buffer day is not being used. Assume the trek is going to run without any hiccups. So what happens if you use your buffer day on the trek? Unfortunately, then you’ll probably lose your hotel booking. So book hotels where you may not have to transfer money in advance. Even if you do, consider it better than missing out on the trek. In Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking if in case the buffer day is used.

Hotel options in Rishikesh

Zostel

Zostel is a modern backpackers hostel, excellent for women travelling alone. It has basic amenities such as bunk beds, towels, good bathroom. Entire premises is quite hygienic. Bathrooms are shared. Average cost Rs 400 – 800 per bed. Rooms start at about Rs 1,200.
Website: https://www.zostel.com/
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


SK International

SK International which is next to Zostel is another good option. It has clean rooms with good amenities. Charges are about Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,200 per night.
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
013-524-42943


Hotel Shiv Shakti

Shiv Shakti Hostel is another good, decent option at similar price range to Zostel. This is a hostel like Zostel. They also have rooms.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.


Hotel options in Haridwar

Bedhubs

Bedhubs is a good bunk bed stay in Haridwar — which is rare amongst the Dharamshalas and Ashrams of Haridwar. It is quite close to the heart of the action at Haridwar, approximately 500 m from Har Ki Pauri, Ram Ghat. Charges are around Rs 800 -1,000
Contact number: 01334 224 567
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


 Hotel Radiant

Hotel Radiant near the Haridwar railway station has decent spacious rooms. Room rates are around Rs 750 for a non AC room and Rs 1,050 for an AC room
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
9557155557 (Nitin Sharma)


Hotel Rahi

Hotel Rahi, a government owned GMVN property is fairly decent. Spacious but old building. Almost opposite the Haridwar railway station, just past the bus stop. Prices start at around Rs 700 for a room.
Contact number: +91-135-2431793
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.


Hotel options in Dehradun

Hotel Drona

Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750.
Contact number: +91-135-2746847
Book online: http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


 Nomads House

Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House.
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
9760596464


MyRoom252

MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there.
Contact number: 086308 81083
Website: http://www.myroom252.com/
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.


5. What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Govindghat on your own

If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Haridwar or Rishikesh. Here is how you can get to Govindghat base camp on your own.

If you are at Haridwar or Rishikesh take a bus to Joshimath or Badrinath from the bus stand as quickly as you can. Buses leave between 6.00 am to 7.00 am. 

Govindghat is about 10-11 hours by bus from Rishikesh/Haridwar. On the way the bus passes Devprayag and Srinagar (the Uttarakhand Srinagar, not the Kashmir one). The bus charges are between Rs. 440 – 480.

At Joshimath, from the main market shared taxis leave for Govindghat every half an hour. The last shared taxi leaves by 5:00 pm. The taxi charges Rs. 50.

It takes about 1 hour to get to Govindghat. Govindghat is 20 km away from Joshimath. So it is almost there.

If you have taken a bus for Badrinath then get down at Govindghat which lies on the way.

| Tip: While this bus-hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!    

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.

Valley of Flowers is a four days trek along with Hemkund Sahib from Govindghat to Govindghat. It’s a moderate grade trek. You are starting from Govindghat (6,300 ft), you have to reach Ghangria (9,500ft) by covering a distance of 9 km on the first day itself.

On the 2nd Day, you can visit Valley of Flowers (11,500 ft) from Ghangria and come back to Ghangria by covering 4+4=8 km distance.

On the 3rd day, go to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara (14,100ft) by covering a distance of 6 km & come back to Ghangria by trekking the same distance. As this trek takes you from 6,300 ft to 14,100ft only in 3 days by covering only 19km (one-sided).

It’s not going to be very easy. You need a basic level of fitness and endurance.

Cardiovascular endurance

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.’

Things to get for the Valley Of Flowers Trek

Valley of Flowers is a high altitude trek and is done in monsoon. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is different from regular treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.

First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes:

Valley of Flowers requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle rain. This is monsoon trek and wearing trekking shoes are very important to handle slippery sections and wet weather. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.    

| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Valley Of Flowers you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.

| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.

| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.

3. Clothes:

Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required. 

Base layer:

3 T-shirts:

Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)

| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them. 

3 Insulation layers:

The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 14,400 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.

You will need 2 light fleece layers, 1 full-sleeve light sweater. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.

1 Outer layer:

A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.

Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.

| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.

2 trek pants:

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two  just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings / rain.

| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek. 

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Valley of Flowers without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first. 

1. Sunglasses:

Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows).

| Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.

Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.

| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.

| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens.   

 2. Suncap:

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.

| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.

| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way. 

  3. Synthetic hand gloves:

On a trek like Valley Of Flowers, it is likely you are going to be trekking in rain.  Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.  

4. Woollen cap or Balaclava:

Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap. 

Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head.

5. Socks (3 pairs):

Apart from 2 sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.

6. Headlamp:

On the Valley Of flowers trek although you stay at lodges which have electricity, power cuts are common. So carry a headlamp or torch is useful. Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Valley Of Flowers  trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes and hold your trek poles. 

| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you. 

7. Trekking pole (a pair):

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Valley Of Flowers  trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.  

8. Rainwear:

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Being a monsoon trek carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing. 

Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.

| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.

9. Rain cover for your backpack:

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.

| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional):

Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a porter on the Valley Of Flowers trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.

| Note: On the Valley of Flowers trek you have 2 day treks to Hemkund Sahib and to the  Valley. You stay at Ghangaria for 3 nights in the same lodge. So a day pack is very useful as you can unload a few items at the lodge and carry on the day essentials.

A day pack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not day packs. Do not get them.

Other mandatory requirement

1. A toilet kit:

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Valley Of Flowers.

| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery:

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.

| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

3. Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack:

Valley of Flowers  has long walking days. You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.

| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store

4. Plastic covers:

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Personal medical kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader

  1. Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Govind Ghat. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Valley of Flowers trek.    
  2. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
  3. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
  4. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol. 
  5. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS. 
  6. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
  7. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.

| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.   

Mandatory Documents to carry

These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.

  1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.  
  2. Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
  3. Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF

| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.  

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

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

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

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

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.

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.

Closest hospital

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.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

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, unexpected global health issues, 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. 

  1. Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link
  2. Find your upcoming trek on your home page. 
  3. Click on “Cancel Trek” 
  4. Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
  5. Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable). 
  6. 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 –

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Trekking permits – All trekking permits and forest entry charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – We provide ice axes, ropes, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
  6. Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
  7. 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 –

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Stay at Rishikesh on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusion
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

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

Fitness

Fitness

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.

Backpack Offloading

Backpack Offloading

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.

Transport

Transport

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.

Accommodation

Accommodation

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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

Vijay Malkani

Batch of
September 2018

Our Trek conducted by Karan and his team ( Deboo, Manaoj, Ashish and later by Ashok) was great. Entire team deserves great appreciation. Ashish was so passionate and sincere about the Green and clean environment by picking up every plastic wrap (small or big) that came in contact to the eye. This is and will always remain an heartfelt efforts by Ashish. Manoj is a real asset to the team. Soft, pleasant and  his excellent skills in communicating stories is mesmerizing. Deboo is a professional Trekker having a great stamina and knowledge of the Local people and mountains is indeed gratifying.

The food was just too good and made us feel at home with simple but clean and tasty food. Moreover they ensured that the food served was hot. My sincere appreciation to each and everyone behind this show. We were served with Hot Ginger Tea after Dinner. This was like an icing with cherry on the cake. 

Such efforts makes us feel how genuine Indiahikes is towards it's trekkers welfare.

Kudos to all including Prathima. Her regular emails making me feel the importance of fitness did pay out. I quit smoking and was regular with my everyday walk of 4 to 6 kms daily with an average of 9.44 mts. per Kms.

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Suresh Kumar Goel

Batch of
July 2018

My trek and also whole team as per their sharing was wonderful, though I personally could not go to Hemkund Sahib. Trek guides both Manoj and Yash Pal were wonderful fellows and all helpful. We whole team was appreciating them. Canteen staff at Govind dham were also wonderful and helping. Trek leader Dham managed the trek very efficiently and professional.

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Gagan Juneja Setia

Batch of
July 2018

Being my first trek, the experience was great and no words can describe, what experiences I have brought back home. Despite of spraining my foot, the punctuality, care, coordination of India Hikes that it provides to the group is commendable. 

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Purushotham V R

Batch of
July 2018

This was my first Himalayan trek and with IH. And it was really a Beautiful journey for me. I didn't just enjoyed the serene nature and trek but I also got to meet 20 different souls and could interact with them all and could make friends.

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Tanu Rana

Batch of
July 2018

I did the Valley of flowers trek (22-27 July) with India hikes and I absolutely loved it. This was my first solo trek, it kicked off with conflicting nervousness and excitement and ended with a bit of despair of having to leave that place and its wonderful people behind. 
It was really amazing to witness this journey unwind, to watch a group of complete strangers turn into friends and pour their hearts out to each other about their deepest concerns in just a matter of few days. I completely credit this to all the efforts made by the India hikes team be it the trek leader or the local staff, they kept uniting everyone and persistently instilled the importance of "team spirit" in us, following which many of us while on the trek were actually looking out and waiting for others to catch up and trek together as a team. This was one of the best things about our trek, and was one of the top factors which truly distinguished the India hikes team from the other dispersed teams along the trails (whom I rarely found trekking as a "team"). 
To state an instance many times we found ourselves so indulged in our profound conversations (with the fellow trekkers and the trek leader) during our trek that it actually diverted our minds from the tiresome trek and we actually paced up without even realizing or feeling it, this was one hell of a trick that I feel every trekker should exploit.

Furthermore, the trek leader and other staff members seemed really passionate about the Green Trails program and were educating others about it which was truly inspiring and the zeal was quite contagious (I felt like joining the green trails program hearing them, and am hoping to do so in the near future!). We tried to pick as much waste along the trails as we could find and I certainly feel that we left the mountains in a better condition than we found them in (but I do realize that there's still a long way to go, considering the amount of people trailing the mountains each day).
I greatly admire India Hikes for this initiative and wish you guys all the best for your future endeavors.

So in my experience India hikes (through their trek leaders and staff) doesn't just assist us in our treks but also helps every trekker be a better person by teaching them about caring for their environment as well as the people around them. These are really some great values that I learnt from my trek and will hope that I trek with India hikes soon again and learn many more worthy life lessons :)
Thanks for an unforgettable experience.

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Susheela Menon

Batch of
July 2018

It was great! Appreciate India hikes for giving thought to every small detail and taking care of our safety through out the trek. The food was great too! The organisers even arranged hot water for some of us to take a bath after a tiring trek which was so refreshing (especially since we thought we will never be able to take a bath during the trek).

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Ankur Handa

Batch of
July 2018

It went off very well... as always this trek was also organised very nicely... right from the pick up to drop it was smoothly organised....Gautam, our trek leader was very professional and followed all disciplinary protocols every day like medical readings, hydration, etc..... he managed the batch very well and handled everything with care and concern... special mention of our guides Krishna and Deepu for their effort in making freshers complete the trek... 

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Vidya G

Batch of
July 2018

My first trek with Indiahikes was the most memorable experience of my life ! i am very thankful to the entire team for making this so wonderful, enjoyable and most unforgettable. 

1. Trek prep- i felt guided constantly by the emails from indiahikes. Mails, youtube videos with information about fitness and what to pack, how to pack etc was very helpful. It kept us motivated throughout in preparing for the trek. i downloaded the Nike run app and started my daily runs. It gave me a lot of information about my body, my fitness. i could feel the lack of stamina initially and with each week, i began to feel better...though there were also initial struggles with my calf muscles going sore and my knees hurting due to a fall etc. Overall, i could manage with it because i was happy and looking forward.

2. The trek - Arriving at Govind ghat and meeting the Indiahikes team and co- trekkers set our enthusiastic spirits soaring ! Rooms at Govind ghat were clean and satisfactory !

First day - Govind ghat to Ghangria - 10 kms - seemed wonderful and fun !
Second day - Ghangria to the valley of flowers - super fun !
Third day - Ghangria to hemkund - scenic, serene and overwhelming !
Last day - Ghangria to Govind Ghat- tiring but good. My toes were killing due to shoe bite so the last 2 kms i made it on bare foot. 

The whole trek experience with all the co- trekkers and indiahikes team made us feel like a family. Our trek leader Abhishek Negi was amazing. His constant motivation and inspiration with a splash of humor and  talent was admirable. Dhan Singh ji's support in helping us climb a big steep rock and letting us have our taste of adventure at valley of flowers is unforgettable.  Pratap ji's patience to wait for the slow trekkers is indeed very moving. i am grateful to all of them for making this experience so wholesome and unforgettable !

Post trek experience:  i have never felt this sad returning home after a trek. I sincerely hope to trek more in future with India hikes. Thank you

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best time to visit valley of flowers

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund – A flowery paradise

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.

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Valley Of Flowers & Hemkund Trek

The Valley of Flowers Trek is a legendary trail the world wants to trek in. Read more to see what Srijita learnt on this one of a kind trek.

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A Solo Trekker Who Spent His Birthday Picking Up Litter At Valley Of Flowers

Here is someone who spent his birthday cleaning up the Valley of Flowers trail, all the way to Hemkund Sahib.

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Valley of Flowers – When the Mountains Spoke in Volumes

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.

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Valley-of-Flowers-Indiahikes

Valley of Flowers: Where I Learnt That Fitness is Key to Enjoying a Trek

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.

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7 year old Samyak treks to the Valley of Flowers

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.

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What To (And Not To) Expect From The Valley of Flowers Trek

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!

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My trek to Valley of Flowers

Shankaran Bharatan, who visited the Valley of Flowers writes about the best of times and the worst of times on the trek.

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best time to do the valley of flowers trek

Essential Trekking Tips For Doing The Valley Of Flowers Trek

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.

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Available dates

No cancellation charges for trek bookings from July 1st until Dec 31st

(choose a trek any time in future)

In light of COVID-19, since travel and treks are uncertain, Indiahikes has waived off all cancellation charges if you register for a trek before Dec 31. Which means, for all registrations before Dec 31, even if the trek is in December or later, apart from the basic 4% transaction charges, there are no cancellation charges from Indiahikes.

This helps you to register for a trek with peace of mind, knowing you can cancel your trek even until the last moment. Trekkers have started registering for treks, and we'd like you to do so with full confidence. We don't want you to worry about losing out through cancellations.

We will open up dates shortly. Click here to see other similar treks that might have dates.

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8 thoughts on “Valley Of Flowers Trek

    1. The best time to do the Valley of Flowers trek is between mid-July and mid-September. This is when you see the flowers at their best. It’s monsoon season in India, it also rains a bit on the trek. But the rain is what makes the flowers bloom. So time your trek in these months to see the best of the flowers. 🙂

    1. Hi Dinesh, the Valley of Flowers trek is open only in July, August and September. The flowers are not yet blooming in June. As for the stay, you stay in lodges and not tents. Hope this helps!

  1. As per the government rules considering the current situation, we have to take the Corona Negative report, not older than 3 days.
    So my question is, will your organisation arrange the test of corona for us ??

    1. Hi Nikhil, we will not be able to do that. You will have to get it from a hospital in your city, where they are doing COVID tests. The test results will have to be shown at the arrival airport as well as to our team at the base camp.