Govindghat to Ghangaria- Day 1, Valley of Flowers and Hemkunt Sahib Trek

by Mridula on July 31, 2012

in Canon D550,Photography,rivers,Travel,Uttarakhand

I have already discussed my reaching Joshimath and my rest day at Joshimath. About time I started writing the trek account. To start the trek I needed to reach Govindghat fromJoshimath. Sohan Singh ji (my guide on this trek as well as Kuari Pass Trek) recommended the start time of 7.00 am. He said it takes one hour by jeep to reach Govind Ghat. There are two jeep stands at Joshimath. If you start walking towards Govind Ghat the jeeps go from the second one which is about a kilometer away from Kamet Hotel. We started without breakfast, the plan was to have it at Govindghat.

Fresh from my Everest Base Camp Trek I decided that I was going to carry my light rucksack. Till the jeep station it felt good. When I put it down to have parathas at a shop at Govindghat I readily picked it up again. When I got out in the sun after the break fast (the flies in July at Govindghat are seen to be believed) it was still fine. After 1 km it felt like 50 kilos. At about two kilometers I told Sohan Singh ji to give it to a porter or a horseman, I could not carry it anymore! He asked me to carry it a little further and then he said we would redistribute the load. I was left wondering what his plans were? Then came a barsati wali chai ki dukan (a tea shop largely made with polythene) and he redistributed the load. Which meant he took my bag, took out stuff from his and gave me an almost empty bag. He also took my camera and I gladly gave it to him and this is one exceptional trek where there are many pictures of mine!

That is Me Clicking Away, On the Way to Ghangaria

That is Me Clicking Away, On the Way to Ghangaria

The good bit on this trek is that there are markers. That means you know you have walked 2 kilometers and you need to walk 11 more. The bad bit is that there are markers. Now if they were not there I could think I walked 8 kilometers when I really walked only 2. No such luck here.

The path winds around the River Lakshman Ganga for most of the way. It is a good path, that in my dictionary means it does not go uphill all the way. There are short sections that are flat and some even downhill. Most of the way is uphill but gradually uphill. A lot of palkis, pitthus and horses ply on the way.

Lakshman Ganga River, Govindghat to Ghangaria, Valley of Flowers Trek

Lakshman Ganga River, Govindghat to Ghangaria, Valley of Flowers Trek

This is a trek where a lot of people are pilgrims to Hemkunt Sahib rather than trekkers and it makes for an interesting mix. As I walk at a certain pace (OK slow pace) throughout I belong to the group roughly doing the same pace. It was interesting to see that a little later, say 4-5 km into the trek, some of them decided to take horses. The horsemen who are without a passenger or load would keep asking you all the time if you need a horse.

One group of young guys asked Sohan Sing ji if he was Chinese and he played along saying yes, talking all the while in Hindi! The good bit about the small tea shops on the way is that we frequently stopped for tea and had parathas for lunch.

Gradually trudging for 7 hours we arrived at Ghangaria. The tents you see in the picture belongs to Sarovar properties but I didn’t stay there.

Ghangaria

Ghangaria

Sohan Singh ji’s logic was that we should stay in the middle of Ghangaria as the horses stay at the either ends and that stinks. We stayed at Hotel Kuber right in front of the Gurudwara and it was a decent place. The food was good too.

It took me 7 hours to complete the stretch from Govindghat to Ghangaria along with a few stops for tea and food.

There is a helicopter service from Govindghat to Ghangaria which operates when the weather permits. During my stay it was operational. I was tempted to take it on my way back but I didn’t. It surprisingly still bears the name of Air Deccan.

Ghangaria is at the height of 3049 meters (10000 or 10003 feet to be precise feet) and I was fine, I didn’t feel any discomfort. Next day we were heading to the Valley of Flowers. The story continues …

You can check out the entire trip account day wise from the following links-

Traveling to Rishikesh and Joshimath (Day 1 &2 of the trip)

Rest Day at Joshimath (Day 3 of the trip)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers (Day 5 of the trip, Day 2 of the trek)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Hemkunt Sahib (Day 6 of the trip, day 3 of trekking)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Govindghat (Day 7 of the trip, day 4 of trekking)

P.S. Check out my Antarctica Dream page too.

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Related posts:

  1. The Journey to Joshimath via Haridwari and Rishikesh- The Start of the VOF and Hemkunt Trek
  2. And I am Back from Valley of Flowers
  3. Skywatch Friday- Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India
  4. Doing Nothing at Joshimath
  5. Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh, India

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Devkant Sangwan June 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Nicely written and well informed post. Valley of flowers is my love. You have put it nicely the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria.

Reply

Zohaib June 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Hi Mridula,

I believe its Ghangaria is at the height of 3049 meters (1000 or 1003 feet to be precise feet) . There is an Typo error it should be 10.003 feet.

Nice pics.

Thank You

Reply

Mridula June 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Thank you for pointing it out Zohaib it has been fixed now. Many thanks.

Reply

amit August 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm

thanks for that piece of info!! i’m sure it’ll be helpful.

Reply

Mridula June 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

You are welcome Amit.

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Amit August 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hi! Good to read your account of travel to vof the style in which you write is quite pleasant and easy to read.. However I need some info, as I am heading there in 3 days time. What kind of shoes do u recommend? I am confused, some say sports shoes while other say trekking shoe – which are heavy. Even in sports shoe there are many different type of shoes. What is you take on this.
What do u recommend in packing for clothes! Will it rain all the while during this time?
And btw, some people are discouraging saying rains are less this year what’s the fun of travelling now?
Looking to hear from you!

Reply

Mridula August 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Hi Amit, when I was there it didn’t rain a single drop during the trek but it rained mildly at night. My guide says since then it has rained a bit more and the path has become a but slushy. It is for this I hesitate in recommending shoes. If it was life what I saw sports shoes would pose no problems, many do Hemkunt in flip flops and many barefoot! But I will leave that call to you.

No one can predict when it will rains, least of all me :D But past trend as far as I know, I have mentioned. Hopefully you will go, have a great trek.

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amit August 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

hi mridula!

just came back from the trip. the rip was excellent.while gng up it didnt rain at all. but on the day@vof, the weather was cloudy and had to make a comeback early caz weather was getting bad, so could not explore the entire valley esp flowers along the river in the valley. but trip was excellent.

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Mridula August 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Thanks Rama. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Niranjan.

Janit thank you.

Meena what do you really mean by that :D

Tushar I am sure you will head there soon.

Tes with your interest in trekking I am sure you will.

I agree Jaishvats.

Sabyasachi thank you :D I am sure you will be there soon.

Reply

induchhibber August 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

Mridula i envy you from the bottom of my heart-watching such beautiful scenes at close quarters,your pictures inflame my jealousy.I wish i had the stamina or the will to go there.THAAAANKS for showing the places to me!!!!!!!!

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Sabyasachi Patra August 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm

You have written well. During treks after a point it is all about will power. The camera appears heavy as well. :) And if you are carrying a tripod, then that is double trouble. Too often, the photographer is not photographed. Atleast you got a few images of yours clicked. :)
Cheers,
Sabyasachi

Reply

sabyasachi August 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Lovely images. Surely need to visit this part soon. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Jaishvats August 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

There is nothing like a hot tea and steaming parathas during a trek high up on the mountains rt? Nice pics :)

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Tes August 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

We are yearning to trek like that some day. Your trip is very inspiring :)

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Tushar August 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

All these lovely images remind again and again why I am not there :(

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Meena Menon August 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

A trademark-mridula post(read as true to elements with hardly any exxageration!)

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Janit August 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

Beautiful captures…and really well described too.
Looking forward to the next post.

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Niranjan July 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Nice narrattion and lovely captures.

http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

Reply

R.Ramakrishnan July 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Excellent account of your trek. You really write well with all interesting details and trivia. Nice pics too.

Reply

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