Saturday, September 1, 2012

Information on Valley of Flowers

 DSC_0106 DSC_0108 DSC_0110
What is it: Apart from what the name suggests, it’s a beautiful place to relax, enjoy and trek to. If you google search, you’ll come to know more bout its UNESCO heritage status etc. I hope you landed on this page to gather some info about VoF and you’ve already researched a bit.
Location: Landslide
Geo Location: 30.7281, 79.6052
State: Uttarakhand
Nearest Major Town: Joshimath Nearest Railway station: Rishikesh Nearest Airport: JollyGrant Dehradun. Gochar airstrip is under construction.
Best Time to Visit: Late July to early August
Most Dangerous time to Visit: Early August- During heavy rains (Due to excessive landslides)  
Closed : Mid October to May
Dhaba Enroute
  Timeline: Rishikesh to Joshimath – 10 Hours
Joshimth to Govindght – 40 Minutes
Govindghat to Ghangaria – 4-7 hours trek / 3-4 hours by mule/horse (I took 3 Hours 50 minutes on foot/trek)
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant, dehradun. Gochar Airport still under construction.
Ideal Itinerary: Day1: Rishikesh to Govindghat
Day2: Govindghat to Ghangaria
Day3: Ghangaria to VoF to Ghangaria
Day4: Hemkund (optional if u aim was VoF)
Day5: Ghangaria to Govindghat to Badrinath(Optional) to Joshimath (you may stay at Badrinath or  return to Joshimath)

Day6: Badrinath/Joshimath to Rishikesh
Ghangria to Govindghat
Crash Itinerary: Day 1: Rishikesh to Ghangaria (yes this is possible, I have done it. Started the trek at 4PM, reached by 7:50)
Day 2: Ghangaria to VoF and Back
3: GhangAria to Joshimath (Badrinath optional)
Day 4: Joshimath to Rishikesh

How to reach:
Leave Rishikesh early morning. Reach Joshimath by 1PM. Leave for Govindghat. Either stay at GovindGhat, or start the trek to GhangAria. GhangAria is a small village that comes to life only during may-september. You can consider it your base camp. Reach GhangAria. Next Day leave for VoF early morning.
Morina longifolia
DSC_0143 DSC_0147
Useful information:
1. ATM: Name : Parassia cabulica<br />Family :Primulaceae 
a. Do not rely on ATMs beyond Srinagar
i.Srinagar has two ATMs at Taxi stand – PNB and HDFC.
ii.PNB is bit up hill but takes less time as its not crowded
b. Joshimath has ATM but not reliable during landslide season
2. Taxi:
a. Rishikesh: You need to reach bus stand if you are planning shared taxi.
Codonopsis  virdis
Codonopsis virdis - Bonnet Bellflowerb. Sumo/Trex/Savari(MnM) load ten passengersc. You can break your journey in the following format if you do not get a direct taxi: Rishikesh>Sringar>Karnprayag>Chamoli>Joshimath (I did it. Started at 4:30AM and reached Joshimath at 3PM including taxi changes at 3 Landslides and one hour of landslide clearing + Photo sessions enroute) d. Mini Buses are NOT a slow means of conveyance
3. Horses/Mules
a. Govindghat to Ghangaria: Last mule at 4PM
b. Mules/Horses cause Butt Ache
c. They can drop(fall) you and cause spinal/back problem. (yes I was thrown off by horse)

d. You need to negotiate the price and then get a receipt/token from the counter. Keep the receipt with you. Receipt will of a nominal amount and not full. Pay the rest amount of completion of journey.
e. Weight over 70 are charged 10% extra
f. At Ghangaria, you get mules to Hemkund. They(mules well as their operators) keep shouting, so finding one won’t be an issue. Their base is at the end of the Ghangaria Street. (both ends)
4. Helicopter    Aster stracheyiDSC_0278
a. Service by Deccan. b. From Ghangaria to Govindghat and vice versa c. Drops you 1Km before Ghangria
5. Govindghat to Ghangaria Route 14 KM
DSC04792a. You may deposit part of your luggage at the cloakroom at Gurudwara at Govindghat.
b. First place to eat on the route is after 2.5km from base.

c. Buy a walking stick if you think your knees can give in. I didn’t use one on my way up. But did use one while descending.

d. Rain-plastic(read raincoat) is available all along the route. Please do not throw used raincoats on the way. Use the dustbins or dispose them at govindghat on your return journey. e. First 2.5 Km ascend is tough 
f. 10th -13th km ascend is really tough

g. No place to eat between 10-12th KM

h. KM marking around Bhyundar village is wrong. Km mark is repeated- means even after walking a Km, distance remaining remains the same

i. After crossing the river bridge, the ascend becomes steep.

j. There are numerous Short-cuts, but its difficult of use them
6. At Ghangria

a. Mobile network of IDEA and BSNL present. Both erratic. Idea more reliable. Carry a phone which has strong network catching ability.
b. Telephone booths present but costly.

c. The village is only on both side of one street.

d. Lots of places to stay. You even have camps at helipad and in village
e. Lots of places to eat, but none worth except the first one.
f. The Govt Guest house is on the left side.

g. Forest guest house is around 300m inside, on the left side. Do not get confused with forest office used to show/sell informative video on VOF.

h. There are a lots of places to stay in Ghangria.
i. The Gurudwara at Ghangria is near the other end.
j. Only Two medicine shops.
k. Saw electric wires and meters. But didn’t get electricity as long as I was there. Generators are turned on at 7Pm – 9:30/10PM and 3AM-4:30 AM
l. TEL-MALISH (Oil Massage) is quite prevalent. They claim that the oil is of herbs, but actually its mustard oil with garlic.
m. Ghangria is vegetarian village

n. Eat Punjabi food as its mostly visited by Punjabi ppl, so food there is as per their need.
7. Valley of Flowers
a. Try to watch the documentary shown by Forest Dept people at 6PM in ghangria.  
Map at the Ticket counter
b. Opens at 7 AM. Go as early as possible. It will help you to go to maximum depth into the valley.
c. You have to return by 5PM (relaxation 30 Mins). Night stay not allowed.
d. Fine 10000Rs
e. Entry fee is Rs.150 for three days. 
f. Read the map at the ticket counter

g. There’s nothing to eat(Dhaba) after the ticket gate.

The Glacier on way to VoF from Ghangria
Did u notice the Jig-sawh. Carry your own garbage bag and do not throw any thing in the valley area.
i. Try carrying extra battery of your camera. You are likely to exhaust one. 
j. Click less pics till you reach the Valley Starting point- which is around 4Km from the ticket counter. Else you would end up wasting time/battery/energy. 
k. 4km is uphill trek. Inside the valley, ascend is comparatively very less.
l. The glacier(so called glacier) was walk-able in early august. I did walk. Walk at your own risk. Do not blame me for any mishap.  m. Always remember that every stream you cross, its water level and force will be higher when you return. So estimate the water level before you cross else you won’t be able to return.
n. Waters of the streams are almost 0 degree C. So you’ll endup throwing your socks. Carry 3-4 extra socks.
o. Start clicking lots of pics after you cross the first TIN/Wood Bridge.  
p. The Road to the grave takes you to the river below. I didn’t go. You must try. q. Do visit the wild rose section.
8. Cost.
All cost below is of August 2012
Taxi rates below are per person (unless mentioned)in shared jeep/sumo/trex/savari.
a. Rishikesh to Sringar: 150 (In scorpio)
Hacklia                                    <br />             uncinata
b. Srinagar to Karnprayag: 100
c. Karnprayag to Chamoli: 60

d. Chamoli to 1st landslide: 10

e. 1st Landslide to 2nd landslide: 30
Morina longifoliaf. 2nd landslide to Joshimath: 65 g. Joshimath to Govindghat: 40
h. Mule to Ghangria: 800
i. Mule to Govindghat: 600

j. Govindghat to Badrinath: 350 (Full Sumo)
k. Badrinath to Joshimath: 800 (Full Sumo) l. Joshimath to New Landslide: 20
m. Helang to Chamoli: 40
n. Chamoli to Rishikesh: 300 DSC_0162
a. Rishikesh: Ganga Guest House(lodge): 400 
b. Ghangria: 600

Joshimath: 450
DSC_0164a) Rishikesh: 220 (3 ppl) DSC_0180
b) Enroute Joshimath: 200 fruits+chips
c) Joshimth: 320 (non-veg, 3 ppl)
d) On the trek route, the price increases as the distance from Govindghat increases.
i.Parle-G: 10-15
ii.Maggi: 30-45
iii.Water: 30-55  DSC_0197iv.Tea: 10-20

e) Food in Ghangria is on the costly side.
i.Rice: 60
ii.Dal fry: 70

iii.Matar Paneer: 80 

iv.Roti: 40

f) Food at Chamoli

i. Thali @ 35
9. Things to Carry (If going during heavy rains) 
DSC_0206a. Shoes x 2
b. Socks x 4

c. Rain coat
d. Pain killers
e. Creams like Moov or Volini
f. Tee shirt x 4
g. Shorts x 3
h. Torch
i. Extra battery for camera
j. MONEY ;-)
10. Other Important Info:
a. From Ghangria, the road bifurcates. The left one goes to VoF and straight goes to Hemkund. Its clearly marked.
b. Mules don’t take you to VoF

c. You may hire a porter to carry your luggage
d. Professional cameras are charged extra. DSLR without a tripod is free.
e. Carry glucose water. Acute Mountain sickness cannot be ruled out.
f. City sleeps by 9:30 so have your dinner before that.

g. Phone calls are charged @10/min by telephone booth operators. Almost every third shop has a wireless Phone(FWT)

h. Hotel checkout time is usually 10:30 AM

i. Hot water comes in buckets at an extra cost
Hotel staff would wake you up at 4 AM thinking that you’ve come to visit Hemkund. So warn him not to disturb you.    For any questions about visiting The Valley Of Flowers, you can contact me on my e-mail id.