The Garhwal Himalayas in the northern and north-eastern side of India is a treasure house for every thrill seeking wanderer who finds his/her true calling in roaming the mountainous terrains of snowy peaks and lush green valleys.
The abundance of mountain peaks of all ranges and intermediate valleys sliced through by fast mountainous streams means that there is a vast number of trails around the region which allows it to have a huge number of trek routes all around the region. The entire region is a trekker’s paradise as it has something to offer for all kinds of trekkers, be it advanced or beginner.
And due to this huge diversity of trekking options available, wandering souls often get confused about which trek to pursue. And the worst part about it is not one of the treks available here are ‘bad’. Each of them being good in their own way and offering their unique platter for trekkers it really is a hard decision to make. Well the best we can do is detail the various delicacies on offer from some of the treks so that anybody can make an educated choice.
Just like the name suggests, the valley of flower trek is a riot of flowers from beginning to end. The ideal time to go on a trek to this magical land is from mid-July to mid-August when all the variety of flowers growing in the region are at full bloom after the monsoon season. The usual length of the trek is 6 days and is of moderate difficulty. The trek begins from Govind Ghat, from where the meandering trail goes on for about 12 km to Ghangria. The holy pilgrimage site of Sikhs and Hindus alike, Hemkund Sahib, is a serene lake that arrives after a steep hike of 5 km from Ghangaria. This serene lake is house to some of the most beautiful flowers in creation like the Brahma Kamal, Himalayan blue poppy, etc. From here you return to Ghangaria for the night before setting out for the much-coveted valley of flower the next day.
There is a legend about the valley about trekkers being rendered unconscious due to the sheer density of the aroma of the numerous flowers in full bloom. At its best, the valley floor is rendered invisible due to the high density of flowers. Snake foil, meadow geranium, Himalayan rose are some of the exquisite varieties on display here. The vibrant palette of nature is sure to mesmerize even the staunchest of hearts. The return trip to Ghangria is going to be spent in the hangover of the floral beauty of the valley. The next day one can go to Badrinath if the area isn’t affected by the landslide. Else you have to skip this end your trek by going to Joshimath.
Situated on the western part of the Garhwal Himalayas, the Har ki Doon trek is famous for its cradle shaped valley which nestles the Har ki Doon peak. The valley is known for its sleepy hamlets and quaint local life which is one of the major attractions of the place. The trek is accessed through the Govind National Park and is noted for its diverse array of flora and fauna. If you are interested in topography or geology, the trail for this trek is going to leave you mesmerized as is passes through magnificent alpine forests, picturesque river glaciers, quaint local villages, moraine ridges and above all one can experience the slow-paced pure lifestyle of this region. The history behind this valley has led it to be dubbed as ‘the Valley of Gods’ and for justified reasons.
The trail that you would trek through is supposedly the one through which the Pandavas ascended heaven atop the Swargarohini mountain which is the dominant peak of this valley. The other prominent peaks which would grace the scenery along the trek route are Swargarohini I, II and III, Ruinsara, Black peak, and Bhandarpoonch. The close proximity to the local life is the most cherishing reward of this trip as one gets to know of the peculiar culture of worshipping Duryodhana, due to the warrior Bogh Dat, who hailed from this region and supported the Kauravas. This 8-day trek starts from Sankhri which is easily accessible through Dehradun. The sheer beauty of the Har ki Doon valley is the reason for this trek being so high on almost every trekker’s bucket list.
This 7-8 day trek would take you to the base of Gangotri glacier, to the Goumukh cave from which the Bhagirathi River starts flowing. The trek starts from Gangotri and then goes through Chirbasa and Bhojbasa to Gaumukh while touching Tapovan on the way. The entire trek is through the gravelly course terrains of the foothills of Himalayas.
The trek brings one up close to the peaks of Bhagirath and Shivling. The Shivling peak is one of the most beautiful peaks in the entire world. One of the most beautiful sights of this trek is the twin sisters of Bhagirathi flowing down from the Gaumukh cave at night from Bhojbasa. This trek is of averagely moderate difficulty with some steep hikes. It’s inadvisable to embark on this trip without prior experience of trekking.
One of the easiest and most popular trek routes of the region, the Roopkund trek route is one of the most readily available and picturesque routes. The trek leads to the glacial lake of Roopkund where one can find over 500 skeletal remains of human beings and in addition horses and other animals which led historians to theorize of a seemingly thriving colony being wiped out due to epidemic or blizzards or some other natural calamity. The trek route has a part of it along the Pinder River which offers a caressing, refreshing breeze throughout to egg on trekkers.
The meadow of Bedni Bugyal is also a sight to withhold as one could easily lose themselves in the sheer magnanimity of the view. The Roopkund trek takes around 3-4 days at max and can be accessed from Kathgodam and Nainital.
Shrouded in mythology and mystery the Dronagiri is a hidden trek route which not many people are aware of. The mountain is the same one that Hanuman had chopped of the peak off and taken the entirety off to Lanka to save Laxman from Ravana’s Shaktishel. The top of the mountain looks the part as it appears to be chopped off from the peak.
The abundance of medicinal herbs makes it a great place for the manufacturing and raw material acquisition for ayurvedic medicines. The trek takes one through Dhaar, Changa Banga, Nandi Kund, Hardeol, Trishul, etc. This trek was named trek of the year in 2017 and is one which you would definitely try.
There is no best, each one of them are unique and beautiful in their own ways. So get going, get your gear ready and set out soon. You have a lot of treks to cover. Good luck!
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