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Back                          Visit to Valley of Flowers by Saswati Ghosh                                       Back

The Valley of Flowers ! The name itself arouses an enthusiasm in everyone ! I have read many articles on Valley of Flowers. There is one Valley of flowers in Versey in Sikkim. I have visited that too. But, by Valley of Flowers, what most people understand is the famous valley, full of flowers, in Uttaranchal .

 At last, I got a sudden opportunity to visit that beautiful valley in the month of August, 2007. One day, suddenly, our friend, the famous birdwatcher of Uttaranchal, Mr. Yashpal Negi called and told if we are interested to visit the Valley of Flowers as he had got a small group of three people, from Kolkata going there. Without any hesitation, we gave our approval. We started arrangement and got our tickets in Upasana Express on 10th August, Friday, 2007. In our group was I, my sister and brother-in-law and a friend, Subhankar. We reached Haridwar on 11th and next day, with the other group of three, two elderly ladies and a gentleman, started for Gobindaghat, about 20 km from Joshimath. I have visited Himalayas in summer, in winter but never in rainy season. Himalaya is gorgeous in rainy reason. Wherever you see, its green, green and green. The rivers are carrying huge volumes of muddy water. But, the only thing whose poses a threat always is the chance of landslides and we faced a lot of dangerous landslides in this journey.

 On 12th August, at around 7pm, amidst darkness and rain, we arrived at Gobindaghat. Mr. Negi was there to welcome us. He already reserved rooms in a hotel. From Gobindabhat , trek starts for Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib, the famous Sikh Pilgrimage. Its on the bank of Alakananda. The place was bustling with lot of pilgrims, mostly Sikhs, who will visit Hemkund Sahib. Our destination was both Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers.

 Our first days trek started on 7am on 13th August. We have to reach Ghanghoria, 10 km away.  Ghagoria is at 10,000 ft and the trek is a steep trek. The Laksman Ganga or Bhuinder Ganga was our guide all through. Due to rains of past few days, the huge volume of water is flowing with a tremendous sound. The weather was cloudy and light to medium drizzle was going on. At around, 4pm we reached Ghagoria.

 The next day, our destination was Hemkund Sahib, about 15,000 ft. The trek was very steep. The weather was cloudy with heavy drizzle and sometimes showers. Visibility was almost nil, sometimes. There was water falls in many places and the glaciers were till there. The biggest falls is where Laxman Ganga is originating from the Lokpal Lake in Hemkund Sahib. About 1 km before Hemkund Sahib was the famous Brahmakamals and blue poppies. They only grow at a height of almost 15,000 ft. Finally, I reached Hemkund Sahib. The Lokpal Lake was covered with clouds. After few moments, all clouds were gone. The lake is fed with water from numerous waters falls from the mountains surrounding it. Staying overnight is not allowed, so we again started almost 6.5km journey downwards to Ghagoria.

 On 15th August, we started for Valley of flowers, almost 6 km from Ghagoria. In the entry point, a board showed the map of the valley. It showed there are 80 species of flowers named till date. According to local people, there are almost 700 varieties, and I think they are correct.

We crossed landslides, glaciers, rivulets and finally entered the valley. Flowers were there all through the way, before entering the main valley.  The Pushpabati River was our guide all through the path. Once in the valley, we are lost amongst flowers. The valley appears bedecked with pink, while yellow among the lush green canvas of the meadows.

 There was violet, red, variety of pink flowers. We have to walk through the flowers. I donít know all the names. Some names were given but most are lost amongst flowers.

 There are numerous streams coming down the mountains, watering the valley. Gradually, we reached the grave of Joan Margaret Legge, lying amongst the flowers. She loved flowers and died amongst the flowers.

 It would have been fine, if we can camp there. But itís not allowed. So we have to return. One day is very small time; I felt I will not be able to explore the whole valley even in my whole life!

 The visit to the valley reminded me of the famous quote by Henry Ward Beecher:

                 Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made

                           and forgot to put a soul into.