It’s a July morning when I find my escape route from the heat in the Indian capital in my sudden travel plans to the Valley of Flowers. A paradise for trekkers and a stunning floral spread await me at the valley in Uttarakhand, Western Himalayas. As I drive along the hills towards Joshimath I am greeted with postcard views of the mountain ranges. The roads cut through the mountains in a way that I can catch a glimpse of the flowing Pushpawati river, a small tributary from the Tipra glacier. Driving uphill (Joshimath is at an altitude of 6,000 feet) is quite a task. I make a stopover to enjoy a cup of pahari (hill) chai (tea).
I lie down on a bed of flowers and pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. I am at the valley of flowers, Uttarakhand, and living a colourful and gorgeous dream.
The Valley of Flowers was declared a National Park in the year 1982 and is today a World Heritage Site. The locals like to believe (and you’d be tempted to, too) that the valley was inhabited by fairies hence the seeds sown here bloom to create a charismatic spread of lovelies. I reach Joshimath, which is home to one of the four cardinal pithas established by Adi Shankara. You can pay a visit to the Shankaracharya Math. The hotels (cheap and comfortable) are many so you don’t have to worry about accommodation.
Next day (early morning) I hit the road again to reach Govind Ghat, 20 km away from Joshimath, in a shared taxi. You can deposit your extra luggage at the Gurudwara at Govind Ghat. A 13 km trek from Govind Ghat to Ghangria (along the river) took me around six-seven hours. At the beginning of the trek I cross the bridge and am mesmerised with crystal clear waters. The cleanliness of the trail and the warmth of the locals take me by surprise.
I buy my entrance ticket (`150) to the rainbow. I feel happy knowing that starting my day early is now going to give me a chance to romance the greens and flowers in the valley for the whole day. July and August are the best months to arrive at the valley for this is full bloom time! Myriad hues from pleasant purple to sunshine yellow and pure white to ravishing red weave a floral carpet of a kind. I couldn’t get my eyes off the Cobra Lilies and Blue Poppies. Slowly, I walk. I stop to smell the flowers, literally. I stop to click picture. I stop to breathe, fresh air. I stop to soak in the beauty. Just then it begins to drizzle, the valley gets rain without any notice and makes for a lovely surprise. And just before I leave I dip my feet in the icy cold water of the glacier as I watch smaller valleys and the glacier streams.
Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the nearest airport to the Valley of Flowers. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh. By road, you can drive up to Govind Ghat. (The views expressed by the writer are hers/his & don’t reflect that of the editor or the publication.) Editor’s note: We offer our prayers to the people of Uttarakhand & salute the brave hearts taking care of them.
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