To go to the Valley of flowers is one of the short treks possible,
specially for trekkers who want to check their physical condition
and their adaptation to the high altitude (between 1875 m. and 4329 m.)
– from Joshimath, 25 km drive to Govindghat,
and 14km trek to Ghangharia, night over there.
– 4 km trek to the Valley of flowers, back to Ghangharia, night in camp.
– Possible 3 km trek to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangharia in camp.
– 14 km trek to Govindghat, further 22 km drive to Badrinath, night over there.
– Sightseeing at Badrinath, Mana, and back to Joshimath in the evening.
The Valley of flowers
The valley was ‘discovered’ by the british mountaineer Frank Smythe in 1931 after a successful climb on Kamet peak. The team crossed the Bhyundar Pass in the lashing rain and mist, intent on forging a new route through the mountains back to Joshimath. As they descended into the shelter of the valley, the clouds lifted and revealed alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers. They were greeted with the sight of primula, saxifrage, red potentillas, geraniums, asters, gentians, anemones, delphiniums, blue corydalis and wild roses. The many hundreds of flowering species lead Smythe to refer to the Bhyundar Valley as the ‘valley of flowers’.
Reprints of Frank Smythe’s book The Valley of Flowers can be found in Dehli.
The valley is 10 km long and 2 km wide, and is divided by the Pushpawati stream, into wich several tiny streams and waterfalls merge.
From Ghangaria, it is possible to follow the Laxma Ganga to the lake at Hemkund (4329m). In the Sikh holy book Dasam Granth, the Sikh guru Gobind Singh recounts that in a previous life he meditated on the shores of a lake surrounded by seven snowcapped mountains. In 1930, a teacher from a Sikh religious center recognised this lake as Hemkund.
As the valley of flowers has been an attraction for botanists worldwide since 1930’s, Hemkund has become a main pilgrimage for Sikhs. Most pilgrims wash themselves in the icy waters of the lake before visiting the gurdwara, built around 20 years ago next to the lake.
Badrinath and Mana
Badrinath is a hindu holy center (dham) as Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath in the area,
lying beneath the snow-capped peak of Nilkantha (6957m).
About 3 km north of the village is the small Bhotia settlement of Mana, the last village before the Tibetan border,
just over 30 km away. It was before an important trading village between India and Tibet.
During winter, the villagers retreat from the heavy snows to Joshimath and Chamoli.