A Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Heavy downpours kept us indoors for the most of the previous evening and night. The next morning we decided to explore the Valley of Flowers, but were met with more downpours and the skies showed no signs of clearing up.

Here is a very long photo story on a trip I (Lovell) made way back in 2011, during the months of August and September, to the Valley of Flowers, along with a bunch of friends — Rebyl, Tulsi, Danny, Johnny, Josh, Rahul, Mukesh and Mohith.

Unwanted technical nonsense: This post contains 94 photos, which are auto resized based on your browser size, lazyloaded and pushed via a CDN, so chill.

We left Ghangaria, a village in Uttarakhand (India), located at an altitude of above 3000 meters, sometime just before noon and started our trek to the Valley of Flowers, a National Park and a World Heritage Site, part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. It is situated around 4 to 5 kilometers from the Ghangaria village and is home to more than 500 species of wild flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We leave the village of Ghangaria and head towards the Valley of Flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Pristine Himalayan water, from the Pushpawati kept gushing around us, along the entire trail.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati river.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

A cemented trail filled with mule droppings, at the start, right outside the village of Ghangaria.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati river, along with the paved trail at the beginning.

Once past the checkpost, where the forest officials did some Q&A with us, we were on track, hoping to see some great landscapes, if not flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Start of the dirt/stone trail to the Valley of Flowers, right after the checkpost.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Thank to the landslides, some crossings had to be done over temporary bridges constructed with stone, wood and metal.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

No landslide can stop the river.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Moving higher and further into the national park.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

A stone paved trail welcomed us at times.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The rains played hide and seek, but luckily there were no heavy downpours, like the previous night, else we would’ve surely been drenched, considering that we only had rain jackets on, and no other rain-proof clothing to keep us dry.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati river, along the mighty Himalayas.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

A much safer crossing option.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Tulsi makes her way across the bridge.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Time for some climbing!

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati river.

Good guy Mohith Rao was our timekeeper. We were told to time the trek properly, making sure we head back early, as it tends to get dark really fast, high up here in the mountains. Hence, the power of shooing people around was bestowed on this young man.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Timekeeper Mohith was not impressed. Or maybe he was just awestruck.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati river again.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The thick green cover along our trail.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The bridge across the Pushpawati river.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Himalayas! So high that they block the path of the clouds.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Tulsi (front), and another traveler make their way up.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Clouds were all around us.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The river cut its way under some frozen ice.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

While clouds tried to engulf the place.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

What a beautiful sight.

The clouds kept sweeping in and out, but we were not ready for the thick cover, which brought the visibility almost to zero. Suddenly the massive mountains around us just disappeared.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Rahul takes some time off to appreciate the beauty, while a huge cloud makes its way towards us.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

A few folks employed local porters, who carried them up and down the mountains. I think this is one of the toughest job out there.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers
Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Another beautiful sight.

Trekking high up in the Himalayas is no joke. Especially if you are not fit. Plus we had trekked uphill, for most part of the previous day, covering some 16-odd kilometers from Govindghat to Ghangaria. Energy levels were a bit low, but our spirits were high. Which meant that we took our own sweet time walking through the valley, stopping whenever we wished to appreciate the landscape around us.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Thanks to the landslides, we had no defined path to follow. Johnny and Mukesh took on the role of lead explorers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

In the distance, you can find Tulsi and a bunch of (I’m assuming) locals.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

These amazing scenes kept unfolding as we made our way further.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Josh and Mukesh add to the beauty.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The big block of frozen river.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And more beautiful landscapes.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Tulsi balances herself.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Even more eye candy!

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Timekeeper Mohith and Danny stop to catch their breath and admire the beauty.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And finally we were in the thick of things.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

No clue what this flower is.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And there we were, right in the middle of the Valley of Flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Johnny dwarfed by the tall plants.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We kept moving up the trail.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Crossed over stone paths.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And found a lot of make shift bridges along the way.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Johnny documenting what could have been Tulsi’s final crossing.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati gushes down the Himalayas.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Some kind souls, I guess the locals or forest rangers, made provision for people to refill their bottles.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And what a sight it was!

And finally, we were in the midst of it all. The clouds, the flowers, the streams, all coming together to paint this breathtaking picture.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We continued our trek.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And made our way through the massive valley.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

With sights like these along the way.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Photographs were clicked everywhere and anywhere.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

What amazing sights!

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

With gushing water all around us.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And more amazing landscapes!

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We kept moving.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Through landscapes like these.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers.

While a bunch of us decided to make a pit stop, Rebyl and I decided to head further and see what we could find. We were told that there was a glacier ahead. The only problem was that we did not have time to head further. Plus we were warned that there were bears which come out once it gets dark. Although I wasn’t sure how true this statement was, but chose to trust the locals on this one.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Rebyl and I decide to explore further.

We pulled back after a while, met up with the boys and had a quick lunch. It was already half past three in the afternoon and we needed to start heading back soon, before the bears got to us.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Lunch break, with a view.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Our lunch view.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We caught up with the rest of the gang.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We found a bench!

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Clouds, mountains, river, lush green valley. What more can one want.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The magnificent valley, with a standard Mukesh, Rebyl and Danny to scale.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Some flowers in bloom.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

A contemplative Mukesh contemplates.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We actually were just taking rest.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Another view of the valley.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And time for more rest.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We bumped into some tourists who were on their way back.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The descent.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And even more stops for rest.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The unsung hero. Which did not get used a lot that day.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Danny secures Rebyl’s shoe.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The view on our way back.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

By now we were quite exhausted.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And the mysterious ice block was still there.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

We relaxed a bit while we waited for the others.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Pit stop by the mysterious ice block.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And we made our way back.

It was already past five in the evening and we needed to head back quickly. Forest officials patrolling the area urged us to move faster, before the bears came out. But that did not stop us from taking our breaks.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

I’m not sure what we discussed, but we surely spoke about the view.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

An exhausted Rebyl catches her breath.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Another photo of the Pushpawati river.

And here is a photo of the gang. From left to right — Mukesh, Joshua, Tulsi, Mohith, John Paul, Rahul, Daniel & Rebyl.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

And that’s us. Minus me.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Pushpawati.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

The Himalayas – Such beauties.

Luckily we made it back in time, and avoided being mauled to death by the mountain bears.

Trek to the Valley of Flowers

Finally, Ghangaria! Just before sunset.