Total Expenses: 2500 INR
Duration: 8 Days
Delhi – Rishikesh – Govindghat – Ghangaria – Valley of Flowers – Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib – Ghangaria – Govindghat – Badrinath – Mana – Rishikesh – Delhi
Valley of Flowers trek has been on my bucket list for the past 3 years which is why I decided to check it off my list this year. When I started planning for it in July, I was a little apprehensive at doing it solo. I had heard so many times before that solo trekking is dangerous on the hill stations, so I figured why to take the risk.
I even asked a few people and while there was a tentative plan formed, I had decided that even if everyone backed out, I am certainly going forth this year. And that’s exactly what happened. Slowly, everyone backed out and I decided to go ahead anyway. I was scared till the time I reached Govindghat but once I was there, I knew I could do this. Plus, I had met a few other solo travelers on the way too so it wasn’t intimidating anymore.
The best part about this route is that you would meet so many travelers and pilgrims on the way that there is never a chance of being left alone. There is always going to be someone half a km behind or in front of you so, if you are in trouble you just need to holler out.
Once I was there, I decided to go to Hemkund Sahib, Badrination, and Mana village too. After all, it would have been foolish to have come so close to the locations and not visited these equally amazing places.
Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Itinerary
Here is my detailed itinerary from Delhi to Valley Of Flowers which also includes Hemkund Sahib, Badrinath, and Mana village. This itinerary will help you plan your own trip better to these magnificent places.
Day 1: Delhi to Rishikesh
I started my journey for Valley of Flowers from Delhi on 27th July. I had planned to take a 15.20 train from Delhi to Haridwar. A friend was joining me for this journey but unfortunately, we couldn’t make it in time for the train (You have to reach 30 minutes before the departure to get the reservation at the ticket counter).
So, we headed to ISBT Kashmere Gate via Metro and there, boarded a 4 p.m. bus to Rishikesh which cost us 275 INR per person. Due to the ongoing rainfall and clogged roads, it took us 9 hours to reach the Rishikesh bus stand.
So, around 12.30 – 1.00 a.m. of 28th July we were sitting at the bus stand, waiting for the morning bus to Joshimath. At this time, my friend started feeling unwell so she decided to stay the day at Rishikesh and see if she feels better.
Where to Stay in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a popular tourist and traveler spot so, it is quite easy to find a place to stay at. There are many amazing hostels here which will cost you 100 – 300 INR for a night. But, if you arrive late at night with no prior booking then you might have to check in at a nearby hotel which could easily cost you anywhere between 300 – 800 INR.
Where to Eat in Rishikesh
There are a lot of cafes that you can try here but they would be a little costly, charging you about 300 – 500 INR for a meal. But, you would get a great ambience and might also meet some amazing people on the way.
However, the cafes are not your only option here. There are many local restaurants and food shops where you can easily get a meal for 150 – 200 INR.
ATM and Network Availability in Rishikesh
You don’t have to worry about ATMs in Rishikesh, there are many available both in the market area and a few around the bus stand as well. However, it would be wise to carry sufficient cash when you are traveling to the Valley of Flowers.
As for the Network, you shouldn’t find difficulty in getting Internet or Call network in Rishikesh. At least in the bus stand area or the market area.
Day 2: Rishikesh to Chamoli to Joshimath to Govindghat
Rishikesh to Chamoli
At about 3.30 a.m. on the 28th of July, I started asking about direct buses to Joshimath. A few people said there are no direct buses and a few said that the direct buses leave at about 4 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., etc.
Since I was feeling sleepy, I went ahead and took a seat in a minibus to Chamoli Gopeshwar and slept off. The bus started at 4 a.m. and took about 10 hours to reach because of multiple stops and landslides on the way. It cost me 300 INR and dropped me off at about 2 p.m. in the afternoon at Chamoli.
Chamoli to Joshimath
After I reached Chamoli, I got a Shared Jeep to Joshimath which took around 1-1.5 hours to reach and cost me another 100 INR. I am not kidding when I say but this was certainly the most beautiful stretch of this journey. There were some really amazing mountain landscapes on the way which totally took my breath away.
Finally, around 3.30 p.m. I reached Joshimath and then waited here for an hour for the Badrinath bus. There are 3-4 buses from Rishikesh that leave for Badrinath every morning. You can take this bus and get down at the Govindhat stop, it will take around 10-11 hours and cost you about 450 INR.
Note: If you have some time with you then you can also stop at Rudraprayag or Karnaprayag on the way. While there is not a lot to do here, you can certainly enjoy some cool fresh mountain air along with some outstanding views.
Another Option: A lot of people tend to stay at Joshimath and then start their journey from here early morning next day. If you don’t want to rush to Govindghat in the same day, then you can choose this option as well.
Where to Stay in Joshimath
In Joshimath, you will find a lot of hotels and guest houses which will charge you anywhere between 150 – 1000 INR. So, you can find according to your budget.
Also, you might need to haggle a lot to get the prices reduced so be prepared.
Where to Eat in Joshimath
You won’t find it difficult to find decent food facilities in Joshimath. There are several restaurants and cheap local food joints here that you can check out.
If you are on a budget, then you can easily manage a one-time meal here in 50-100 INR.
ATM and Network Availability in Joshimath
You will get complete network access in Joshimath, both for Internet and calls. But once you leave Joshimath, the network will be intermittently available.
Joshimath to Govindghat
I took a shared taxi from Joshimath to Govindghat at about 5 p.m. We couldn’t take a Badrinath bus to Govindghat because the bus was late and wouldn’t go further because of possible landslides.
The shared taxi cost me 50 INR and took another 1 hour to reach Govindghat. Finally, at 6-6.30 p.m. I reached Govindghat and then headed to the Hemkund Gurudwara here to spend a night and refresh myself.
Once I was all bathed and ready, I had a delicious meal at the Gurudwara Langar and then retired for the night. I had an early day the next day so I wanted to be fresh and properly rested for it.
Where to Stay in Govindghat
In Govindghat, you will easily get an accommodation in a hotel or guest house for 100 – 200 INR. But, if you want to further reduce the cost and want a different experience then try to stay in the Gurudwara.
They accept all kinds of residents and you just need to provide an identification proof to check yourself in. Plus, it is safer than other staying options as well, especially if you are solo traveling.
Where to Eat in Govindghat
If you don’t mind simple yet delicious food then Langar would be the best way to fill your tummy. However, you can also check out the local food shops for a cheap and decent meal here. But, please don’t expect anything fancy.
ATM and Network Availability in Govindghat
There aren’t many ATM options in Govindghat but you would find one just next to the Gurudwara, Punjab and Sind Bank.
Once you reach Govindghat, you can say goodbye to your Network, especially if you own a Vodafone or Jio sim. Airtel Network might be intermittently available but don’t expect any Internet connection here. If you have a BSNL or Idea sim, then you can still make calls at home.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a network on your mobile though. There are many STD shops here which let you make a call for 5 INR/minute.
Day 3: Govindghat to Ghangaria
On the 29th of July, at 6 a.m. I started my way towards Ghangaria. First, I walked near the bridge where you need to check in your details and get a token to visit Hemkund Sahib. This was just a 5-minute walk from the Gurudwara.
From here, we got a Shared Jeep to take us to the Pulna village, from where the actual trek for Ghangaria starts. It takes barely 20-30 minutes to reach the village via Jeep and then you can start the 10-km trek to the Ghangaria village.
Note: It would be good to get a walking stick for support which you get near the bridge. It will cost you just 10 INR.
It took me around 7 – 8 hours to actually reach Ghangaria since we stopped several times on the way to rest and click pictures. There are many food and tea stalls on the way and you will find a lot of trekkers on your path.
You will also come across a few waterfalls and mountain views on the way which will be completely stunning. Also, you will see many milestones on the way to keep you updated about the distance.
If you don’t wish to stop on the way and are good at trekking then you can easily cover this path in 4-5 hours.
Personally, I wasn’t in a hurry so I took my time and reached Ghangaria at 2 p.m. After reaching Ghangaria, I walked to the Gurudwara to check in and then rested for a while.
In the evening, I headed out to the Ghangaria Helipad area to click some pictures and enjoy a quiet evening stroll. I had met another solo female traveler so we both came here together. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Ghangaria village as you can see some amazing surrounding mountains and a few waterfalls too.
After some time, we headed back to the Gurudwara and enjoyed a delicious meal at the Langar. Then, we retired around 10 p.m. for bed since we were heading next day early morning for Valley of Flowers.
Where to Stay in Ghangaria
In Ghangaria, there are many cheap hotels and guesthouses to stay at for 150 – 300 INR per night. If you feel like spending a bit then you can also stay at the luxurious tents here which will cost somewhere about 500 – 1500 INR.
But, if you are on a budget-friendly trip like me, then staying at the Hemkund Gurudwara of Ghangaria would be the best option. You will get a room or a bed in the hall, depending on the availability.
Also, keep in mind that you have to check in every day. So, when you leave for Valley of Flowers or Hemkund Sahib, leave your luggage in the Gurudwara’s cloakroom.
Where to Eat in Ghangaria
There are many food shops and restaurants in Ghangaria too where you can get decent food for 200 – 300 INR. However, avoid eating any fried item here as you never know when they would have prepared that stuff.
I actually spent most of my time eating the Langar because it was free and delicious. The Gurudwara serves 1 vegetable curry/pulses along with chapatis which are quite filling and yummy.
ATM and Network Availability in Ghangaria
In Ghangaria, you won’t find any ATM or Network connection. So, make sure you have sufficient cash with you.
If you want to make calls then you can go to an STD shop which will charge you 10 INR/minute for a call.
Day 4: Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers to Ghangaria
On 30th July, we got up early at 5.30 a.m. in the morning to start for the Valley of Flowers trek. The water is really cold at Ghangaria so your hand freezes when you are getting ready. It took us barely 15 minutes to get ready and then we started for the Valley of Flowers trek.
From Ghangaria, it takes about 1 km to reach the Valley of Flowers Gate. Here, you can purchase the Entry ticket to this UNESCO Heritage park for 150 INR which allows you to enter 3 days into the valley. We reached the gate at 6.40 a.m. so we were quite early and didn’t see many people on the way.
After purchasing the ticket, we trekked for 4 km before we actually entered the Valley of Flowers enclosure. The valley would look quite plain from far away but once you enter, you will see different varieties of flowers blooming. You will see all kinds of flower colors: blue, purple, red, maroon, yellow, etc. and there will also be several waterfalls on your way.
It was raining intermittently on the day we trekked to Valley of flowers, so we could enjoy it thoroughly. The entire trek takes about 2-3 hours as some parts are quite steep. Once you reach the valley, you can walk another 5-6 km to look around and encounter different flower varieties.
We reached the Valley of flowers enclosure at 9 a.m. and then we spent the next 3-4 hours, just strolling around the flowers. We also visited the grave of Joan Legge, who had died in the valley while trekking to this place. If you have time with you, then make sure that you walk further to the Riverbed which is about 4-5 km from the starting of the Valley of Flowers enclosure.
We hadn’t taken lunch with us so we were starving by 2 p.m. Thankfully, I had some snacks and biscuits so I had them to satisfy my hunger a bit. At around 3 p.m., we started back for Ghangaria and reached the Gurudwara at 5 p.m.
The trek back to the village was quicker and easier since we didn’t stop for clicking photographs or rests too much. After reaching back, I just spent the day in the village. Again, I ate a delicious meal at the Langar before retiring for the bed.
Day 5: Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib to Ghangaria
Again, the next day I got up at about 6.30 a.m. in the morning for the Hemkund Sahib Trek. Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara is situated at a height of 14,100 ft. which is why it is extremely cold. Plus, it was raining constantly on this day so I had to wear my raincoat and trek while getting drenched.
Hemkund Sahib is about 6 km from Ghangaria and took me around 5 hours to reach, with several stops for food and photographs on the way. I started around 7 a.m. in the morning and reached the top at 12 p.m. in the afternoon. This trek is slightly difficult during the ascent because it is a constant uphill walk. Plus, the cold and the rain can further drain your energy and make it difficult to speed up.
On the way, I stopped around 6-7 times to take a breather or to have a plate of hot Maggi (50-60 INR). After some time, I figured that walking slowly but steadily is a better way to complete the trek.
On this route too, you come across a few waterfalls and some amazing mountain landscapes. And if you are lucky, you could observe these views once the mist clears.
Once I reached the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, I had a glass of hot tea which was amazing (Disclaimer: I am not a tea fanatic). They were also serving Khichdi in the Langar here at this time. After warming myself up for 20-30 minutes, I headed to the gorgeous Hemkund lake.
Initially, it was covered with mist but slowly it cleared and I could see the entire mountain view. Trust me, this is one of the most beautiful sights ever and you would be a fool to miss out on it. I clicked a lot of pictures here and then at 1.30 p.m., I started back for Ghangaria.
Again, the descent was easier and I got down in just 2 hours (half of the time for ascent). I met several other solo trekkers and trek leaders on the way who gave me a lot of information.
Hemkund Sahib is also famous for the pristine flower, Brahma Kamal, which is found only at this altitude. It resembles a cauliflower but it is said to be really great for your health. Also, unlike other flowers, it can stay fresh for almost 2 months after being plucked.
So, after looking at the beautiful flowers, I headed to Ghangaria and reached at 3 p.m. in the village. Then, I spent the day just chatting up with other travelers and learning more about the places.
Day 6: Ghangaria to Govindghat to Badrinath
Finally, on 31st of July, I started my descent for Govindghat. We started at around 7 a.m. in the morning and reached Pulna Village at 11.30 p.m. From here, we took another Shared Taxi for Govindghat which cost 35 INR and reached Govindghat at 12 p.m.
From here, we made a few wrong choices which led us to more money being spent and it took us longer to reach back home. We decided to check in to the Gurudwara and go for an evening tour of Badrinath and Mana village. This was a big mistake because there weren’t many transport options between Govindghat and Badrinath due to constant rainfall.
We checked in to the Gurudwara at 1 p.m. and got ready, then we headed for the Langar. At about 2 p.m., we checked our luggage into the cloakroom and headed for the Govindghat junction. We waited for an hour before we got a bus heading towards Badrinath. It cost us 30 INR and took us an hour to reach the place.
The road to Badrinath is treacherous which made the journey even more exciting. Finally, around 4.15 p.m., we reached Badrinath. From here, we started walking towards the temple which was around 1 km from the bus stand.
Badrinath temple is really amazing both from the inside and the outside and is situated right next to Saraswati river. You also have hot water lagoon here to take a dip and the market is quite lively and colorful. By the time we were done with the Badrinath temple, it was already 5.30 p.m.
So, we decided to go ahead to Mana. Unfortunately, Mana requires 2-hour for a proper visitation so we decided to come the next day instead. We headed back to the bus stand to get a shared jeep or bus to Govindghat but found nothing.
In the end, we decided to stay in Badrinath itself and got a hotel room opposite the temple for 100 INR per person. We had a meal in the restaurant just next to our hotel which served plain and non-spicy food and cost us 100 INR per person.
Alternative Option: A better option would be to stay in Govindghat for the night and then head to Badrinath, next day early morning. This way you won’t get stranded or have to stay unnecessarily for too long.
Day 7: Badrinath to Mana to Govindghat to Chamoli
This was basically a day of disasters for us.
Badrinath to Mana
We started at 6.30 a.m. in the morning for Mana village. We got a Jeep from the Badrinath Chowk for 100 INR per person. The Jeep took us to the Mana village and dropped us off at the gate at 8 a.m.
From here, we had to walk and tour the village ourselves. We explored the Ganesh Gufa, Last tea stall of India, Bheem Pul, etc. It took us around 2 hours to cover the entire village while clicking pictures before we could head back to our transport.
The villagers were quite friendly here but tired of getting their photographs clicked so, they told us not to click their pictures. :p
At around 10.30 a.m., we left the village and reached back the chowk in 15 minutes. Then, we walked to the bus stand and waited for a bus or shared jeep to start towards Govindghat.
Badrinath to Joshimath
We waited for almost an hour before we finally got an Alto driver to agree to take us back to Govindghat.
The return journey cost us 100 INR per person and took another 1 hour. We reached Govindghat at about 1 p.m. and then walked back to the Gurudwara. We got fresh, had lunch at the langar before checking out our luggage. Then, we finally headed to the junction again to get a bus or jeep to Joshimath.
Sadly, there weren’t many jeeps going in that direction because of the rain so we had to wait another hour here. Finally, the Alto driver who brought us to Govindghat agreed to take us to Joshimath for 400 INR. So, we 5 people shared the fare and reached Joshimath at 2.30 – 3 p.m.
Joshimath to Chamoli
After reaching Joshimath, we immediately got a shared jeep to Chamoli for 100 INR per person. It took us another 1.5 – 2 hours to reach and then we were stumped. There were no buses or jeeps going towards Rishikesh at 6 p.m. in the evening.
We had no option but to stay the night in Chamoli and then catch a bus the next morning for Rishikesh.
Where to Stay in Chamoli
There are a few hotels in Chamoli which cost 150 – 200 INR per person for a night. They are decent and just in the market so you can easily catch a bus in the morning too.
Where to Eat in Chamoli
There aren’t many food shops or restaurants in Chamoli. A decent meal here would cost you about 50 – 100 INR per person.
Day 8: Chamoli to Rishikesh to Delhi
Finally, the next morning we got a local bus to Rishikesh for 300 INR which took 7-8 hours to reach. We started at 7 a.m. and were in Rishikesh by 3.15 p.m.
From here, I took a bus to Delhi for 375 INR. The bus took a long route due to the Kawad Mela and also broke down in the middle. As a result, I reached at 1 a.m. in the night and had to take an Uber to reach my place.
While the trip was unexpectedly long and we had to face several obstacles along the way, I would truly cherish this trip. Because I not only got one item off my bucket list but also made some amazing friends on the way. I completed the entire trip in 2500 INR but you can further reduce the cost if you have your own vehicle.
So, do visit this place and let us know if you were as blown away by the landscapes as I was!