A backpacker’s paradise and a photographer’s delight, the Valley of Flowers is a place you must visit before you die. If you are looking for a place where you can experience nature in its most pristine form and stay away from the so called “civilization”, the Valley of Flowers National Park offers an excellent option. A part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the valley comes into life for a brief period of four months from June to September every year when the entire valley gets covered with flowers of varied colours and shapes. However, it is not easily accessible and needs a bit of prior planning. However, it is a must see destination in the Indian Himalayas for true nature lovers as well as photographers. Based on personal experience of the author, a few quick tips are being provided below for future travellers.
How many days does it take?
– 6-7 days from and to New Delhi to Valley of Flowers but it must be planned well.
What is the best time to visit?
What are the modes of transport?
– From Delhi trains and buses are available to Haridwar. After that buses or rented cars are the only option. They move very slowly due to the difficult terrain and it takes time to cover small distances. But the good thing is that they are not costly at all. The usual route is, Haridwar-Rishikesh-Rudraprayag-Chamoli-Joshimath-Govindghat. At Govindghat the real trek starts. One can hire mules or horses up to Ghangaria if the trekking becomes too difficult. Ghangaria is the last place offering accommodation and food en route. After that one must trust their feet to reach the Valley of Flowers. Camping at the Valley is now allowed and the visitors must come back to Ghangaria by the evening.
What kind of Food is available?
– It is mostly vegetarian considering there are a lot of pilgrims in this route. After Govindghat, a plate of Maggi noodles is the best option at any point of time.
– The entire route to Valley of Flowers is a backpacker’s delight. The costliest thing will be the mule ride from Govindghat to Ghagaria with costs INR 500. A single person should wrap up the entire trip to and from Delhi within INR 5000-7000.
What about accommodation?
– Budget accommodation is available till Ghangaria and it should not be a problem for anyone. But if you are looking for luxury resorts, you might be disappointed.
Should I hire a guide?
– Basically there is only one road and a normal traveller cannot possibly get lost and hence a guide is avoidable as well. Still if you are feeling insecure you can hire one at Joshimath.