Frank Smythe discovered this trekker’s delight in 1931, which is now, designated a UNESCO world Heritage site: The valley of flowers turns into a riot of colours in August and September each year, with over a thousand verities of flowers, shrubs, orchids and plants carpeting the valley in the myriad hues and differing textures. To reach the Garhwal Himalayas, we drive north from Delhi to Rishikesh, a yoga centre and pilgrim town by the sacred Ganges, and once the hangout of the Beatles. The road north ascends through resplendent foothills to reach Joshimath, gateway to the Valley of Flowers.
Our trek starts from the nearby trail-head at Govindghat: we hike down to remote Ghangaria, the base camp for all excursions into the valley. The next day, we climb up to the fabled valley for a wonderful afternoon amidst wildflower-filled meadows and featuring fabulous mountain views. Next, a steep 6 km ascent takes us to Hemkund Lake (4,329m), rewarding beyond measure. The lake is absolutely stunning, its blue-green waters reflecting the seven encircling snow-clad peaks and adjoining glaciers. Hemkund Sahib is a famous pilgrimage site for Sikhs, set in a truly spectacular natural setting. After a gentle descent to Govind Ghat, we retrace our steps to Delhi for a final day’s sightseeing