The Valley of Flowers is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located in the western Himalayan ranges (in the state of Uttarakhand), it’s famous for its flower meadows that have 300 varieties of alpine flowers (rare, exotic and some endangered) and different kinds of flora.
The area lies between Zanskar and the Himalayas. The valley is situated in the middle of tall mountains and is filled with picturesque flower meadows, pure streams and high altitude waterfalls. It lies in the upper regions of Bhyundar Ganga, close to Joshimath in Garhwal region. The trek is highly sought after by trekkers, botanists, photographers, foreign tourists and adventure enthusiasts.
- Location: Near Joshimath in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand
- Altitude: Approximately 3600 metres
- Trek Time: 5 to 6 days including travel and trek time
- Trekking hours to Valley of Flowers: 8 to 10 hours
- Difficulty Level: Easy
Best Time For Valley of Flowers Trek
July to early September is the best time to go on a trek to Valley of Flowers so that you can see the maximum numbers of flowers. June is a good month for a monsoon trek and to see glaciers. The temperature will range from 7 to 28 degrees Celsius.
How To Get There
You will first have to reach Joshimath and then proceed to Govindghat.
- Road: From Dehradun, it takes 10 hours to reach Joshimath, and another hour to reach Govindghat. There is a direct bus. Leave via Uttarakhand Transport from Dehradun at around 17.15 and reach Joshimath early in the morning at around 6 and proceed to Govindghat. Alternatively, you can reach Joshimath from Haridwar or Rishikesh too.
- Rail: Dehradun and Haridwar are well-connected to major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata by train. Book tickets onboard Mumbai LTT-Haridwar, or Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi Express. Upon reaching Haridwar or Dehradun, take a cab or bus to Joshimath.
- Flight: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun from where you can hire a taxi to reach Govindghat. From Govindghat, you can even take a helicopter (depending on availability) to reach the base camp at Ghangaria, from where the trek starts.
Your trek starts from Govindghat. It takes around 7 to 8 hours across 16 kilometres from Govindghat to reach Ghangaria. Mule, helicopter, ponies can take you to Ghangaria too, but trekking is an experience to savour.
On this gradual ascent, you will see snow clad mountains in full mist, high altitude waterfalls, and the gorgeous Kagbhusandi Lake, and the gorgeous streams of Pushpawati river.
Ghangaria is a small settlement that is around 3 kilometres away from the Valley of Flowers which should take you around 2 hours to trek.
Inside Valley of Flowers, you will cover around 5 to 10 kilometres, exploring the area and seeing the flowers and the sights. The entire trek will take around 8 to 10 hours, or longer if you are slow- trekking and be taking many stops.
On your trek, you will come across sweet scented wildflowers, occasional wild animals, pure white gushing streams, and plenty of colourful butterflies and birds. Flowers species found here are orchids, poppies, yellow violets, geraniums, Himalayan indigo, marigold, rhododendron, primrose, to name just a few. You can descent and camp overnight in Ghangaria.
From Ghangaria it takes 7 hours to reach Hemkund Sahib, the highest gurudwara in India.
This is a moderately steep ascent with a stone-paved path to climb on. Enroute you can enjoy beautiful blue poppies and vajradanti flowers. The Hemkund Lake is a serene lake in the heart of the mountains. Have lunch at the langar and make your descent.
Return through the same route to Govindghat and proceed to Joshimath and stay there overnight before leaving for Dehradun, Delhi, Rishikesh or Haridwar. Plenty of shared cabs and taxis are available from Govindghat to Joshimath.
- Travel: Bus ticket fare from Dehradun to Joshimath is Rs 600. Cab fare from Dehradun to Joshimath can be between Rs 5000 to Rs 6000. Joshimath to Govindghat shared taxis are as low as Rs. 100. Valley of Flowers entry fee for Indians is Rs. 150. Mule ride to Ghangaria costs Rs. 800
- Accommodation: At lodges, camps or hotels in Ghangaria can cost anywhere from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000. One cannot stay inside Valley of Flowers
- Food: Anywhere from Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 per day
- Valley of Flowers packages: Start at Rs. 9000 onwards
Places To Stay
Hotel Kuber and Blue Poppy Swiss Cottage camps, Sarovar Portico Ghangaria Camp near Valley of Flowers, Ganga Resort in Govindghat, The Tattva in Joshimath, Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Hotel in Joshimath are some places where you can find a comfortable stay. Do book online in advance, they may be sold out during peak seasons.
Make sure you have a full breakfast at Govindghat before leaving for Ghangaria. Pack snacks for the trek. Enroute you will find a few tea stalls selling snacks and water.
In Ghangaria, you will find several restaurants and hotels where you can eat – eat breakfast and lunch here. Food won’t be available inside the valley, but there is plenty of sparkling stream water.
Places of Interest
Treks near Valley of Flowers that you can explore are a 15 kilometres trek from Kunthkal to Hanuman Chatti and another 13 kilometres trek in Dronagiri mountains.
Nanda Devi National Park
A lush biodiversity forest reserve, Nanda Devi National Park is about an hour away from Govindghat. You can immerse in the natural beauty of the forest and spot Himalayan musk deer, snow leopards and black and brown bears.
About 2 hours away from Joshimath, you can visit the Hindu spiritual town of Badrinath, one of India’s Char Dham pilgrimage sites.
Safety & Travel Tips
- The Valley of Flower opens at 7 am and last entry is allowed at 2 pm. Make sure you reach at the right time.
- Always start your treks early in the morning after a good breakfast.
- You must carry snacks or pack a light lunch to eat during the trek.
- Drink lots of water on the trek and also carry lots of water.
- Carry a raincoat if travelling in monsoons.
- Wear strong trekking shoes.
- Hire a porter to carry your bags to make your trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria lighter.
- Absolutely do not litter.
- Hemkund Lake is filled with Sikh pilgrim trekkers, maintain silence and discipline.
- Book hotels online way in advance.
- If you have a heart condition or blood pressure problems, do not undertake the trek or make sure you ride a mule for a good distance and while trekking, stop a lot along the way to take breaks.
The Valley of Flowers is one of the most surreal places on earth and has been described as paradise on earth by anyone who has been there. Do plan a visit there. Leave comments and suggestions below.