The Valley of
Flowers ! The name itself arouses an enthusiasm in everyone ! I
have read many articles on Valley of Flowers. There is one Valley
of flowers in Versey in Sikkim. I have visited that too. But, by
Valley of Flowers, what most people understand is the famous
valley, full of flowers, in Uttaranchal .
At last, I got a
sudden opportunity to visit that beautiful valley in the month of
August, 2007. One day, suddenly, our friend, the famous
birdwatcher of Uttaranchal, Mr. Yashpal Negi called and told if we
are interested to visit the Valley of Flowers as he had got a
small group of three people, from Kolkata going there. Without any
hesitation, we gave our approval. We started arrangement and got
our tickets in Upasana Express on 10th August, Friday, 2007. In
our group was I, my sister and brother-in-law and a friend,
Subhankar. We reached Haridwar on 11th and next day, with the
other group of three, two elderly ladies and a gentleman, started
for Gobindaghat, about 20 km from Joshimath. I have visited
Himalayas in summer, in winter but never in rainy season. Himalaya
is gorgeous in rainy reason. Wherever you see, its green, green
and green. The rivers are carrying huge volumes of muddy water.
But, the only thing whose poses a threat always is the chance of
landslides and we faced a lot of dangerous landslides in this
On 12th August, at
around 7pm, amidst darkness and rain, we arrived at Gobindaghat.
Mr. Negi was there to welcome us. He already reserved rooms in a
hotel. From Gobindabhat , trek starts for Valley of Flowers and
Hemkund Sahib, the famous Sikh Pilgrimage. Its on the bank of
Alakananda. The place was bustling with lot of pilgrims, mostly
Sikhs, who will visit Hemkund Sahib. Our destination was both
Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers.
Our first days trek
started on 7am on 13th August. We have to reach Ghanghoria, 10 km
away. Ghagoria is at 10,000 ft and the trek is a steep trek. The
Laksman Ganga or Bhuinder Ganga was our guide all through. Due to
rains of past few days, the huge volume of water is flowing with a
tremendous sound. The weather was cloudy and light to medium
drizzle was going on. At around, 4pm we reached Ghagoria.
The next day, our
destination was Hemkund Sahib, about 15,000 ft. The trek was very
steep. The weather was cloudy with heavy drizzle and sometimes
showers. Visibility was almost nil, sometimes. There was water
falls in many places and the glaciers were till there. The biggest
falls is where Laxman Ganga is originating from the Lokpal Lake in
Hemkund Sahib. About 1 km before Hemkund Sahib was the famous
Brahmakamals and blue poppies. They only grow at a height of
almost 15,000 ft. Finally, I reached Hemkund Sahib. The Lokpal
Lake was covered with clouds. After few moments, all clouds were
gone. The lake is fed with water from numerous waters falls from
the mountains surrounding it. Staying overnight is not allowed, so
we again started almost 6.5km journey downwards to Ghagoria.
August, we started for Valley of flowers, almost 6 km from
Ghagoria. In the entry point, a board showed the map of the
valley. It showed there are 80 species of flowers named till date.
According to local people, there are almost 700 varieties, and I
think they are correct.
landslides, glaciers, rivulets and finally entered the valley.
Flowers were there all through the way, before entering the main
valley. The Pushpabati River was our guide all through the path.
Once in the valley, we are lost amongst flowers. The valley
appears bedecked with pink, while yellow among the lush green
canvas of the meadows.
There was violet,
red, variety of pink flowers. We have to walk through the flowers.
I donít know all the names. Some names were given but most are
lost amongst flowers.
There are numerous
streams coming down the mountains, watering the valley. Gradually,
we reached the grave of Joan Margaret Legge, lying amongst the
flowers. She loved flowers and died amongst the flowers.
It would have been
fine, if we can camp there. But itís not allowed. So we have to
return. One day is very small time; I felt I will not be able to
explore the whole valley even in my whole life!
The visit to the
valley reminded me of the famous quote by Henry Ward Beecher:
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made
and forgot to put a soul into.