The Valley of Flowers Indian Spiritual Journey
The path to Hemkund Sahib
The Valley of the Flowers
This Valley of Flowers Trek is an incredible journey of nature and spirituality in the beating heart of Hindu culture in the Indian Himalayas. These locations are little known or visited by tourists from western countries giving us the ideal opportunity to explore a relatively unknown part of the world.
On the Valley of Flowers Trek we visit the little known and incredibly beautiful Valley of Flowers where we can witness a carpet of wildflowers in this mountain valley each summer. Also covered in flowers is Hemkund Sahib, a holy Sikh shrine and Hindu temple on the banks of a glacial lake where we can find some rare flowers such as the blue poppy and sacred lotus.
To follow on from this we visit some of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the Indian Himalayas, our first stop is Badrinath following on with a pilgrimage to Kedarnath. Set high in the Himalayas with incredible mountain vista’s and filled with shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.
We end our journey with a stay in Rishikesh on the holy river Ganges and the home of yoga and have the opportunity to witness the Ganga Aarti ceremony where candles are floated down the river at dusk.
The Valley of Flowers Trek is perfect for nature lovers, anyone interested in spirituality or perhaps those that just want to experience the wonders of nature in a deeply spiritual atmosphere.
- The Valley of Flowers – An incredible valley filled with a panorama of flowers with a backdrop of Himalayan peaks.
- Blue Poppies and Sacred Lotus – these rare flowers are not often seen but common in this region.
- Hemkund Sahib – A beautiful holy shrine located on the banks of a glacial lake in the Himalayas.
- Badrinath Temple – one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in India.
- Kedarnath – an important Hindu pilgrimage site set in the most incredible location in the Himalayas, filled with sadhu’s (holy men) and with over 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Rishikesh – the home of yoga located on the river Ganges.
- Ganga Aarti at Haridwar – the ceremony performed on the Ganges where small candles and flowers are floated down the river at dusk.
Day 1 – Delhi – Haridwar (4 hrs)
It’s arrival day today and a representative will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the train station where the first leg of our journey begins. It’s a 4 hour train journey to Haridwar in the late evening and we arrive by morning.
Day 2 – Haridwar – Govind Ghat (1828m)
Our train arrives in Haridwar in the early hours of the morning. Today we have a full day of driving to reach Govind Ghat which is the starting point for our trekking. It’s a beautiful drive as we weave along winding roads through and up into the mountains. We will stop at some sights and landmarks along the way. Overnight in Govind Ghat. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 3 – Govind Ghat – Ghangaria (3049m)
It’s the first day of our trekking today and we start with a pony trek to Ghangaria. It’s a fairly steep altitude gain today (1200m) so we opt to ride in on pony instead of the exhausting walk. It’s a beautiful trip on nice paved paths that wind along the valley gorge through dense forest lined with flowers before ascending to arrive at Ghangaria which will be our base camp for the next few days. Overnight in Ghangaria. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 4 – Ghangaria – Valley of the Flowers day trip (3858m)
We start our first day of exploration in the Valley of the Flowers today. It’s a 2-3 hour hike to get to the valley with an ascent of around 800m. If you require a porter to carry your bag or camera one can be arranged for you. We leave after an early breakfast to ensure we arrive well before midday to make the most of the clear weather in the morning. It’s such a beautiful walk with flowers lining the paths and the mist drifting through the mountain valleys that you will be wanting to stop constantly to photograph the scene and flowers. The Valley of the Flowers opens up for us when we reach the top of the path to the valley. Here we can see colorful flowers in every direction with a backdrop of beautiful peaks and lush green valleys. We head back down the mountain by early – mid afternoon as the weather is quite often becoming drizzly by this time and the mist gathers momentum. Overnight in Ghangaria. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 5 – Ghangaria – Valley of the Flowers
We have a second day to enjoy the Valley of the Flowers today. Overnight in Ghangaria. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 6 – Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib (4633m)
This morning we will be heading to Hemkund Sahib by pony. Hemkund is located 1600m above Ghangaria and it’s a very steep track (but in very good paved condition). It’s a fast journey by pony and gives us a chance to enjoy this beautiful place without the arduous climb. Hemkund Sahib is the location of a Sikh Shrine and Hihndu Temple located on the banks of a glacial lake at 4500m. It is a very sacred pilgrimage place for Sikhs who come here to bathe in the waters of the lake and pray at the shrine. At this altitude we find different flowers growing here. This is the place for blue poppies (Meconopsis) and the sacred lotus (Saussurea / Brahhmakamal) which grow at this altitude. We have some time to explore the lakeside area before walking back to Ghangaria. Along the way we have opportunity to see and photograph the flowers and scenery. Overnight in Ghangaria. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 7 – Ghangaria – Govind Ghat – Badrinath
After breakfast we walk back to Govind Ghat – it’s a fairly easy journey as it’s all down hill but you can take a pony trek if you wish. Along the way you can enjoy the lush forest scenery as well as the stark river bank that was damaged by severe flooding a few years ago. We arrive in Ghovind Ghat for lunch where we are collected by our vehicle for the 1 hour drive to Badrinath. Badrinath is a very holy town for Hindu’s with the main site being the Badrinath Temple that attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. Overnight in Badrinath. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 8 – Badrinath – Sitapur
Today we travel to Sitapur which is the road link to Kedarnath. It’s a 10 hour drive through stunning mountain country with winding roads. On the way we will visit Omkareshwar Temple which is the winter seat of Kedarnath and is over 100 years old. Overnight in Sitapur. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 9 – Sitapur – Kedarnath
Today we travel by vehicle for 8km to Gaurikund then by pony to Kedarnath which is another sacred pilgrimage place with over 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. We visit the Kedarnath Temple, participate in pooja and Darshan, marvel at the sadhu’s that reside here and explore the area. The Kedarnath temple is over 1000 years old with an intricately carved exterior. This spot has great significance in the legendary Mahabharata epic. Inside the main sanctum is one of 12 naturally formed “Jotrilingas” of India. The temple has the carved shapes of the Pandavas and Lord Shiva. Overnight in Kedarnath. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 10 – Kedarnath – Sitapur
Today we will be leaving Kedarnath and walking back to Gaurikund. It will be a fairly easy walk as it’s all downhill. From here we will travel by vehicle to Sitapur. Overnight in Sitapur. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 11 –Sitapur – Rishikesh
It is another long day of driving but we can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery and views as we travel and stop at some sights along the way. Overnight in Rishikesh. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 12 – Rishikesh free day – Haridwar – departure
Rishikesh, located on the Ganges river where it comes down from the Himalayas is the yoga capital of the world. Full of Ashram’s and retreats it’s a thriving hub of spirituality. There are many options today including a pamper session at one of the many spa’s here, yoga session or just some relaxing and sightseeing. In the afternoon we will be driving to Haridwar where we will be watching the Ganga Aarti performed at dusk. It’s a powerful and uplifting spiritual ritual where small candles and flowers are floated down the Ganges river. The offering is made to the Goddess Ganga, the most holy river in India. Our evening train from Haridwar after this ceremony takes us back to New Delhi for an early morning arrival. Included meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 13 – Arrival in New Delhi
Our tour ends today on arrival in New Delhi this morning.
- This itinerary may differ slightly during your tour. Occasionally itineraries need to change to allow for weather conditions, transportation , travellers desires etc. As this tour is conducted during the monsoon season it is likely that we may experience some delays due to frequent landslides in the area. We have however factored in plenty of time to allow for this. It is recommended that you allow an additional 1-2 days before your international flight to allow for delays and other unforeseen circumstances.
- This region is a sacred spiritual destination and you will find that the food is completely vegetarian. Local laws prevent the cooking of meat in guesthouses and the serving of alcohol. If you cannot go without meat of alcohol it is wise that you do not book onto this trip.
Tour cost includes:
- Andrea Robinson – Photography guide for the duration of the trip
- All accommodation as specified in the itinerary
- All domestic transportation as stated in the itinerary
- Trekking fees and permits
- Meals as specified in the itinerary.
- Porters to carry luggage, pony where specified and local mountain guide for your group.
- Insurances for porters and guides
Not included in tour cost:
- International flights to India
- Visa costs
- Meals other than those listed in inclusions (this includes additional tea or coffee, soft drinks, beverages and water)
- Laundry, towels, hot showers where optional, internet access, recharging of batteries and other items of a personal nature
- Donations to enter monasteries, museums etc
- Tips for porters and guides