FABULOUS FLOWERS, MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAINS
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
- Valley of flowers – a UNESCO World’s Heritage site
- Hemkund Sahib – a magnificent Sikh shrine set by the beautiful Hemkund Lake
- Mountain meadows or Bugyals – for breathtaking views
- Temple towns of Rishikesh and Joshimath – sacred centers for Hindus
Day 2Delhi – Rishikesh
Delhi - Rishikesh
In the morning, we drive to Rishikesh, situated on the banks of the Ganges. Rishikesh is said to be the birth place of yoga and known as the gateway of the four major Dhams (pilgrimage sites) of Hindus – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Upon arrival, we are transferred to the hotel. In the evening, we visit the Ghats of river Ganga to see the evening Aarti (worship)- spectacle of sights, sounds and chanting. Flanked by the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is well known for its scenic beauty and the spiritual experience
Day 3Rishikesh - Joshimath
Rishikesh - Joshimath
Today we leave for Joshimath. En-route, we stop at Devprayag to witness the confluence of river Alaknanda and Bhagirathi forming the holy river Ganges. We reach Joshimath by late-afternoon and check-in to the campground. Rest of the day is free to relax.
Day 4Joshimath – Govindghat (1828m) – Ghangaria (3000m)
Joshimath - Govindghat
In the morning, we leave for Govindghat by road situated around 20Kms from Joshimath.
Govindghat - Ghangaria
From Govindghat, we trek to Ghangaria - the base camp for the Valley of Flowers. We reach Ghangaria late afternoon. Rest of the day is free to relax and to explore the area.
Duration of Trek: 4 Hrs
Distance: 13 Kms
Day 5Ghangaria – Valley of Flowers – Ghangaria
After the breakfast, we leave for valley of flowers (3 kms one side trek). A beautiful meadow covered with a carpet of flowers of myriad colors and surrounded by the dazzling snow-clad Himalayas. Almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here unhindered by mankind. We enjoy and explore the beauty of rare Himalayan flora and fauna here. In the afternoon, we take the same route to return to Ghangaria.
Day 6Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib – Ghangaria
After the breakfast, we start our trek to Hemkund Sahib – a revered Sikh Shrine on the banks of Hemkund Lake, a bluish green lake flanked by snow-covered peaks as tall as 4632 mts. The 6-kms trek to Hemkund Sahib is a steep climb along with the Laxman Ganga River which emanates from Hemkund. After visiting Hemkund Lake, we return to Ghangaria by evening.
Day 7Trek from Ghangaria to Govindghat (1828m) and drive to Joshimath
Ghangaria - Govindghat
After delicious breakfast, we trek down to Govindghat.
Duration of Trek: 4 Hrs
Distance: 13 Kms
Govindghat - Joshimath
Upon arrival, we go for a short excursion to Mana Village, situated in the district of Chamoli. Located at an altitude of 3,200 meters, Mana is the last village before the Mana Pass and is 24 kms from the border of India and China. The village is at a distance of about 3 km from the Hindu Pilgrimage town of Badrinath and its scenic beauty is only to be seen to be believed. From Govindghat, we drive to Joshimath for overnight stay.
Day 8Joshimath to Rishikesh
Joshimath - Rishikesh
Today, we head back to Rishikesh, a prominent meditation centre and pilgrim destination for Hindus. On arrival, check-in at hotel. In the evening, we visit the holy ghats and watch the evening aarti – a spectacle of sights, sounds and chanting. We may wish to visit the local bazaar.
Day 10Departure from Delhi
In the afternoon we visit the walled city of Old Delhi; crowded, full of activity and still influenced by the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort Delhi. Here we visit Jama Masjid Delhi - the largest 17th century mosque in India; Chandni Chowk - the typical Indian market always abuzz with activities; and Rajghat - the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi (also called the 'Father of the Nation’). We also visit New Delhi where we drive past the Presidential Palace, Secretariat Buildings and down the impressive Rajpath to India Gate .
Check-out from the hotel and transfer to the International airport or any point of convenience for onward journey to respective countries.