Hello travelers ,
I completed the trek to VOF/Hemkund saahib in August 2014 with three friends. Actually we planned this trek in 2013, but due to flood disaster we did it in 2014. Its one of the best trek i ever had.
Day 1 – We took last flight from mumbai to delhi and next day then early morning shatabdi express from new delhi railway station to haridwar and reached haridwar at 11:30 am. Checked in hotel and after a short nap we left hotel to visit the famous har-ki-paudi and to attend evening ganga aarti. We stayed at clark inn, which is in bhupatwala.
Day 2 – We started at 5am from haridwar to reach govindghat till evening. We took two small break for meals (breakfast at rishikesh and lunch at karnaprayag) and due to landslides everywhere, we reached govindghat little late , at 8pm. Altitude gain from 825 ft to 6000 ft. We stayed a night in bhagat ki kothi.
There are many options available to go to joshimath/govindghat/badrinath from haridwar – one can take early morning state transport bus or can take shared jeeps. The best mode is prebooked taxi. All depends on the budget.
Landslides are unpredictable in monsoon. So its always better to start early to reach till dusk. Plenty of hotels/restaurants/shops en route.
Day 3 – We started trek to Ghangaria from govindghat at 8am. Altitude gain of 6000 ft to 10500 ft. Completed 17 km trek in 8 hrs with 2 breaks. En route one can easily find restaurants and shops. Hot maggie noodles with a glass of tea will refresh you. We reached ghangaria at 4 pm and checked into hotel. Evening was chilly so we put on out thermals and jackets. We stayed 3 nights in Hotel New Kuber. (Easy-moderate trek)
One can easily book porter- they are available in 800 INR for one way. They accepts approx 40 kgs load or two baggages. They are really poor people and came straight from nepal to earn some money in season. So better don’t negotiate. 🙂
Pony are available, if needed.
Its a 17 kms trek – moderate till 11 kms and last 6 kms are but difficult. Rest and trek to restore energy. Many times you can see empty ponywala are coming from ghangaria. So if one can wish , they can hire pony in midway also. ( yes, if lucky, not necessary always).
There are some eatery shops in intervals. Can buy water, biscuits, can eat noodles.
Day 4 – We headed towards Valley of flower, which was officially closed at that time because of landslides happened in 2013 and yet not restored completely.
Then also we enjoyed a nice waterfall near to ghangaria, then we trek upto the access point of VOF and evening we strolled at the river near helipad of ghangaria.
There is no network in ghangaria except BSNL and no tv in most of the hotel.
Unluckily during our trek VOF was closed. We already knew that its officially closed till 2015 season. We saw that road building is in progress, authority started making road from vof and coming towards the connecting bridge, which is called as pushpavati bridge. There is no practical road beyond bridge now. But as per forest official, it will reopen till may 2015.
You wont find any shops or eatery there – so better pack lunch and other high energy food from ghangaria.
River near helipad – Ghangaria
Day 5 – we woke up early to start trekking of Henkund Sahib from 5:30 am. Altitude gain from 10500 ft to 15000 ft. We reached in 4 and half hrs (difficult trek of 6 kms). Fog at henkund sahib restricted the view. Gurudwara along with lake paid off the difficult trek. Sewa members of gurudwara provided us the hot tea along with sweet kheer and that was so refreshing. We stayed there for approx 1 n half hour, took our packed lunch and the came back. Divine experience.
Its a difficult trek – gaining 4500 ft altitude in 4 hrs can become little dangerous. Also the trek is of difficult level. Better be loaded and prepared for this trek.
One can easily get round trip pony from ghangaria. There are limited numbers of pony available – approx 35-38. So better prebook one day prior. Round trip is possible with pony. Ponywala waits for their customers for 2 hrs. and practically 2 hrs is good for hemkund saahib visit.
Day 6 – We returned back to the base govindghat – started early 6am from ghangaria to reach early at govindghat. We reached at 11am and moved to badrinath before 12 noon. We did mana and badrinath together and spent our night in joshimath. We stayed in Himalayan abode Homestay.
We pre-planned to do both things in a day. Its possible easily. You can easily get porter and pony from ghangaria for govindghat. Its a easy trek , descending almost. So doable without any issue.
Due to rain, a huge landslide happened at Lambagad. We were lucky to come back by crossing the hill from lambagad to pandukeshwar and then moved to joshimath, as we got the news that due to rain that night – chances of some more fresh landslides on the way to govindghat and joshimath are more.
Day 7 – We did a day trip to auli and moved back till pipalkothi – stayed a night in GMVN rest house.
Day 8 – We started early from pipalkothi and when reached at nandprayag, we came to know that there were a huge landslide happened at devprayag – so we took diversion and moved via srinagar-tihri-chamba-narendranagar-rishikesh to haridwar.
We check in hotel in haridwar at 9 pm and on next day took early morning janashatabdi for delhi and then flight to mumbai.