Valley of Flowers after floods in Uttrakhand

An account of real pictures of the Valley of Flowers after floods in Uttrakhand

I went personally to the Valley of Flowers after floods and the pictures in this post are all real and taken by me.

2013 is the worst year in the known history of Uttrakhand. In the month of June there were huge floods and countless people lost their life in Kedarnath. Valley of Flowers and nearby area was also affected by the floods.

But fortunately the flowering area of the Valley of Flowers is totally intact. This post is totally an authenticated document as I went personally to the Valley of Flowers after the floods (I went in first week of October, 2013) and the pictures in this post are proof of the same.

Watch following video of the Valley of Flowers after the floods. You can see that the flowering area is totally intact.

I went up to Govindghat earlier also after the floods so the pictures of Govindghat were already put in my earlier posts. As I started my trekking with Mr. Raghuveer Chauhan I saw this shop at Govindghat. Life has started to normalize for some locals.

Tea Shop at Govindghat.

Tea Shop at Govindghat.

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat side view

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat side view

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat - Front view

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat – Front view

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat

Govindghat bridge at Alaknanda.

Govindghat bridge at Alaknanda.Old Iron bridge at Alaknanda can be seen in the river. This was washed off by the river during the floods.

Soon I crossed over this bridge over Alaknanda. And we started our trek to Ghangaria. The trek was intact in the starting and we could see few pilgrims going to Hemkund Sahib. The number was really very less. After trekking for about three kilometers I was keen to see Village Pulna as I have seen its pictures after the floods. I was very shocked the village. Mr. Raghuveer Chauhan is a local guy and I saw me his house also. His house was full of boulders up to first floor. Some of the locals have cleared their homes and started living in them.

Between Pulna and Bhyuandar the trek was broken at 4-5 places and a new diverted trek was built. But after seeing the site of Bhyuandar village I was totally shocked as now there was not a single house at all. All of the houses were washed off by floods in June. The old trek right from Village Bhyuandar and the point of crossing river Pushpawati was totally washed off (3 Kilometers). So the authorities made a bridge at Bhyuandar Village itself and the trek now is from the other side of the river and it meets the old trek after 3 kilometers. New trek is nicely made and safe but unfortunately people started putting plastic bottles before authorities could put dustbins. I was very sad seeing this.

Pulna village after the floods in Uttrakhand

Pulna village after the floods in Uttrakhand. At least one floor of most of the houses in under stones.

Govindghat to Ghangraria. Apples on the way.

Govindghat to Ghangraria. Apples on the way.

Pilgrims using ponies between Govindghat to Ghangraria.

Pilgrims using ponies between Govindghat to Ghangraria.

Govindghat to Ghangraria trek, Having lunch on the way

Govindghat to Ghangraria trek, Having lunch on the way

Govindghat to Ghangraria, shops on the way.

Govindghat to Ghangraria, shops on the way.

New trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria

New trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria

New trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria

New trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria

Bhyuandar village after the floods in Uttrakhand

Bhyuandar village after the floods in Uttrakhand

Valley of Flowers after floods newly constructed bridge at Bhyuandar village on Pushpawati river

Valley of Flowers after floods newly constructed bridge at Bhyuandar village on Pushpawati river

By evening I reached Ghangaria Village, I realized that the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is now increased by at least 2 kilometers. So you can safely assume the distance between Govindghat and Ghangaria is 16 kilometers instead of 14 kilometers earlier.

Trek near Ghangaria

Trek near Ghangaria. Starting of trek towards Govindghat near Ghangaria

Next day morning I was keen to visit Valley of Flowers and see the amount of damage done to Valley of Flowers after the floods. I and Mr. Raghuveer Chauhan started early and there was no one else except us in the valley. I was shocked to see the power of water as a huge Iron bridge is missing on Pushpawati River and not only the bridge the river has widened its bed but now it was a small stream.

We crossed over the Pushpawati river using a temporary wooden bridge. The old trek of some 300 meters was also not accessible so there was a new raw trek after the bridge, which met the old trek soon. The temporary trek was made after that. The damage to the Valley of Flowers in floods is limited to the damage to trek to Valley of Flowers only. The trek was damaged for next 1.5 kilometers and a very raw trek was made after that.

Following are some of the pictures of Valley of Flowers after the floods in Uttrakhand, taken by us. These pictures clearly show that the flowering area is totally intact in the Valley of Flowers after the floods. Seeing this we were very happy.

Forest office at Ghangaria, Entry gate of Valley of Flowers

Forest office at Ghangaria, Entry gate of Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers after floods, Pushpawati river near the entry gate.

Valley of Flowers after floods, Pushpawati river near the entry gate.

Valley of Flowers after floods, New Bridge on Pushpawati river near the entry gate.

Valley of Flowers after floods, New Bridge on Pushpawati river near the entry gate.

Valley of Flowers after floods - New trek from forest

Valley of Flowers after floods – New trek from forest

Valley of Flowers after floods - Trek is damaged, this is newly constructed make shift trek. Next year the trek would be good one.

Valley of Flowers after floods – Trek is damaged, this is newly constructed make shift trek. Next year the trek would be good one.

Valley of Flowers after floods - Near the official starting point.

Valley of Flowers after floods – Near the official starting point.

Valley of Flowers after floods - Shallow stream, No damage to the flowering area is seen

Valley of Flowers after floods – Shallow stream, No damage to the flowering area is seen

Valley of Flowers after floods - Beautiful shade of October, No damage to flowering area

Valley of Flowers after floods – Beautiful shade of October, No damage to flowering area

Valley of Flowers after floods - overall view, No damage to the flowering area is seen

Valley of Flowers after floods – overall view, No damage to the flowering area is seen

Valley of Flowers after floods - No damage to the flowering area is seen.

Valley of Flowers after floods – No damage to the flowering area is seen.

Valley of Flowers after floods - Glacier point, Here used to be a huge glacier up month of July.

Valley of Flowers after floods – Glacier point, Here used to be a huge glacier up month of July.

Bridge over Pushpawati river near Ghangaria

Bridge over Pushpawati river near Ghangaria

I went to Hemkund Sahib also next day. There was no damage to the trek to Hemkund Sahib. As the season for the flowers was already over, I could see very less flowers. But I saw Neelkanth Peak from Hemkund Sahib. I also saw a tailless rat at Hemkund Sahib.

Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib.

Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib.

Tailless rat at Hemkund Sahib

Tailless rat at Hemkund Sahib

After seeing the damage by floods I thought the reason for the damage. I think if the same amount of rain would have come in July or any later date the damage would have been less. The reason behind this is that in the month of June the higher peaks have lot of snow and huge glaciers. This snow melts gradually and gives water to the river Ganges. But on 16th June, 2013 the heavy rainfall caused sudden melting of the snow and Glaciers causing exponential growth in the amount of water in the rivers. For example you can see glacier in the below image. This glacier would have melted in few hours to cause the flood.

So good news is that the Valley of Flowers is intact and we can visit this true wonder of nature next year.

Best time to visit Valley of Flowers

Posted in Valley of flowers Tagged with: ,

Hemkund Sahib opening date 2013

Hemkund Sahib will open on 21st September, 2013.

Just returned back from Govindghat and a good news that Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara will officially open on 21st September, 2013 and will close on 10th October, 2013. I went to Govindghat in second week of September and just returned few days back. The bridge over Alaknanda at Govindghat is already construed and ponies are crossing it comfortably.

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat.

Newly constructed Bridge at Govindghat.

At Govindghat the scene was full of destruction the river bed which increased at the time of flood also went to its normal height and now the river is flowing like a small stream. The construction work of trek was in full swing. Now the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is constructed since there was no damage to the trek between Ghangaria and Hemkund Sahib the trek between Govindghat and Hemkund Sahib is open now.

View of Govindghat in September 2013. The river shrunk to its original size.

View of Govindghat in September 2013. The river shrunk to its original size.


Construction work of trek going on at Govindghat. This trek joins motorable road to river bed and you need to trek through river to have an access to the bridge over Alaknanda.

Construction work of trek going on at Govindghat. This trek joins motorable road to river bed and you need to trek through river to have an access to the bridge over Alaknanda.

There were some vehicles which were parked at Govindghat but fortunately they didn’t washed off in the flood. There is no hope of getting constructed a road to these vehicles. So people are coming getting their vehicles disassembled into parts and taking those parts to the motorable road and getting them assembled again to save their vehicle.

Stranded vehicles at Govindghat parking. These vehicles are being disassembled and taken to the road. They are assembled again.

Stranded vehicles at Govindghat parking. These vehicles are being disassembled and taken to the road. They are assembled again.


A porter carrying part of a car to the motorable road, where it will be assembled with other parts.

A porter carrying part of a car to the motorable road, where it will be assembled with other parts.

While coming back from Govindghat we stopped at Vishnuprayag where Dhauliganga River meets Alaknanda River. I was with my wife and Mr. Raghuvir Chauhan, fortunately Mr. Raghuvir Chauchan saw some beautiful Deer on the Hathi Parvat. We were really festinated and saw them for a while.

Deer near Vishnuprayag at Hathi Parvat.

Deer near Vishnuprayag at Hathi Parvat.

We also saw some beautiful birds also on our trip.

A beautiful Bulbul at Joshimath

A beautiful Bulbul at Joshimath


A bird at Joshimath

A bird at Joshimath


Common sparrow at Joshimath

Common sparrow at Joshimath

So finally a good news has come that the trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria is OK and soon the bridge over Pushpawati River near Ghangaria will also be built and we can have access to Valley of Flowers. But it sure that this year we will not be able to enter the Valley of Flowers. It is also true that next year we will definitely go to Valley of Flowers. I will go to Hemkund Sahib in first week of October if anyone is interested to come along with me can contact me.

Posted in Valley of flowers

Way to Ghangaria from Govindghat made.

Trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is cleared.

After a long time I am happy to announce a good news that the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is officially cleared for human beings. But ponies can not cross River Alaknanda at Govindghat using present bridge. Moreover, there is no road/trek from NH-58 to the bridge. Officials hope that everything will be done by 10th September, 2013. The present bridge at Govindghat also needs to be enhanced so that ponies can also cross over. It is very important that ponies cross over because almost all the supplies to Ghangaria are taken over ponies. I have returned from Ghagaria recently and some of the pictures taken enroot are presented below.

The Bridge over Alaknanda at Govindghat.

The Bridge over Alaknanda at Govindghat.


The Bridge over Alaknanda at Govindghat.  It is not possible for ponies to reach at the starting point of this bridge in the background you can see crushed buildings of Gurudwara at Govindghat.

The Bridge over Alaknanda at Govindghat. It is not possible for ponies to reach at the starting point of this bridge in the background you can see crushed buildings of Gurudwara at Govindghat.


Govindghat after the flood. Vehicle parking and some of the hotels are washed away.

Govindghat after the flood. Vehicle parking and some of the hotels are washed away.


Govindghat before the flood, you can see  lot of vehicles parked near the Alaknanda River. Is not we human beings entered in the territory of the river.

Govindghat before the flood, you can see lot of vehicles parked near the Alaknanda River. Is not we human beings entered in the territory of the river.

The trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is washed off at many places and I need to trek through the river bed or from forest at some places. I went to Ghangaria 13th August, 2013. Now I have learnt from a local that trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is fully operational. It means we can easily go up to Hemkund Sahib at any time.

Bhyundar village is completely washed off.

Bhyundar village is completely washed off.


New constructed trek near Bhyundar village.

New constructed trek near Bhyundar village.


Bridge being constructed at Bhyundar.

Bridge being constructed at Bhyundar.

Trip to Valley of Flowers may be possible in 2013

There is high possibility of accessing Valley of Flowers in September 2013. The trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria is constructed.

Earlier we used to cross River Pushpawati somewhere 3 kilometers after crossing Bhyundar Village but now the trek after Bhyundar village is almost washed off so now a new trek is made from the other side of the River Pushpawati right from Bhyundar Village itself and a bridge is constructed on Pushpawati River at Bhyundar Village.

Ghangaria is completely deserted as you can see in the picture below.

Ghangaria Village – only few cows are witnessed at Ghangaria. In this time of the year Ghangaria has never witnessed such dryness of human beings in the history.

Ghangaria Village – only few cows are witnessed at Ghangaria. In this time of the year Ghangaria has never witnessed such dryness of human beings in the history.

While coming back from Ghangaria I saw a bear on the other side of River Pushpawati.

Bear at Ghangaria.

Bear at Ghangaria.

Following is the video of this Bear.

After considering all the news and reports of Valley of Flowers, Ghangaria, Govindghat we can make out that the trek to Valley of Flowers may open by 15th September, the trek to Hemkund Sahib will open by 10th September. There is no official announcement by Gurudwara Committee to reopen Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. But for nature lovers there are many flowers at Hemkund Sahib Lake and nearby areas. A local has recently come back from Hemkund Sahib and told me that he saw lots of beautiful Blue Poppies, Braham Kamal, Bistorta Affinis and many more. In the second half of September the number of flowers at Hemkund Sahib is much more than the number of flowers in Valley of Flowers. So now we can plan for Valley of Flowers trip in September and if we are lucky we can enter valley, otherwise we can definitely go up to Hemkund Sahib and witness the beauty of nature.

Posted in Valley of flowers

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal

After floods and disaster in Uttrakhand in June 2013 this was my first trip to Uttrakhand. All of our tours to Valley of Flowers got cancelled. A family of four from Paris showed interest in going for a trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal. We were to start on 4th August but since 5th August was Shivratri and Haridwar was too much crowded. Moreover the National Highway – 58 was closed between Delhi and Haridwar due to Kawarias. Kawarias are people who take water from Ganges at Haridwar and bring it to their native places by foot. They occupy full National Highway for about a week. We postponed our trip from 4th August to 6th August.

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal – Day 1

We started at 6.00 am on August 6, 2013 from Haridwar. Today our aim was to reach village Sari by evening. Sari is the base point for trek to Deoria Tal. By 11.30 am we reached Srinagar. We saw some evidence of the flood. There were houses full of mud. You can see in following pictures.

Hanging bridge on Ganges, between Rishikesh and Devprayag.

Hanging bridge on Ganges, between Rishikesh and Devprayag.


Government Industrial Training Institute building at Srinagar. First floor is almost full of mud.

Government Industrial Training Institute building at Srinagar. First floor is almost full of mud.

We encountered with a land slide at 2.00 pm but it was soon cleared.

Traffic Jam due to Landslide. We were lucky that it got cleared soon.

Traffic Jam due to Landslide. We were lucky that it got cleared soon.

In the evening we reached at Nandprayag where a massive boulder blocked the road and it was declared by BRO (Border Road Organization) Officials that the road will be cleared by tomorrow only as a blast is needed to clear the road.

Huge boulder blocking the road near Nandprayag.

Huge boulder blocking the road near Nandprayag.


Our group members at the land slide site at Nandprayag.

Our group members at the land slide site at Nandprayag.

Nandprayag is the confluence of Alaknanda and Nandakani. We decided to stay at Nandprayag and in the evening we went up to the confluence.

Me and my wife at Nandprayag.

Me and my wife at Nandprayag.

At around 9.00 pm we heard a huge sound of blast and the road was clear.

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal – Day 2

Next day we started at 7.00 am after breakfast from Nandprayag. From Chamoli a road separates to Ukhimath. Village Sari and Chopta are on the way. This road is generally used by pilgrims for going from Badrinath to Kedarnath.

After the disaster we did not see a single tourist apart from our group during our whole trip.

We had tea at a small teashop somewhere 15 kilometers from Chamoli. After taking tea we again started our journey to Sari village. Following are some of the pictures taken on the way.

Our group having tea on the way to Chopta.

Our group having tea on the way to Chopta.


A small halt near a beautiful river on the way to Chopta.

A small halt near a beautiful river on the way to Chopta.


A beautiful waterfall on the way to Chopta. You will see many such waterfalls in last 20 kilometers before Chopta.

A beautiful waterfall on the way to Chopta. You will see many such waterfalls in last 20 kilometers before Chopta.


Our group at Chopta. There is no other tourist in the area.

Our group at Chopta. There is no other tourist in the area.

By 3.00 pm we reached village Sari and had lunch in local house. After lunch we started our trek to Deoria Tal.

Our group having lunch at Sari village.

Our group having lunch at Sari village.


Mrs. Jerome and her children playing with a very lovely dog named Jimmy. This dog also accompanied us to Deoria Tal. It was our guard for the whole night and he scared away foxes.

Mrs. Jerome and her children playing with a very lovely dog named Jimmy. This dog also accompanied us to Deoria Tal. It was our guard for the whole night and he scared away foxes.


Trekking towards Deoria Tal.

Trekking towards Deoria Tal.

We reached Deoria Tal in the evening and erected our tents near the lake (Tal). Soon our dinner was ready and after dinner we straight way went to sleep.

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal – Day 3

Next day we went for local trekking in the nearby forest. We saw some foxes near our tents.

My camp at Deoria Tal.

My camp at Deoria Tal.

Our camps at Deoria Tal.

Our camps at Deoria Tal.


A beautiful view of Deoria Tal.

A beautiful view of Deoria Tal.

Beautiful view of Deoria Tal from my camp. I shifted my camps location to have a beautiful view right from my sleeping mattress.

Beautiful view of Deoria Tal from my camp. I shifted my camps location to have a beautiful view right from my sleeping mattress.

Myself at Deoria Tal.

Myself at Deoria Tal.

Group member having lunch at Deoria Tal.

Group member having lunch at Deoria Tal.

A fox near our tents at Deoria Tal.

A fox near our tents at Deoria Tal.

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal – Day 4

Next day we started for Chopta. We had breakfast at Deoria Tal and lunch in home at village Sari. At Chopta we stayed in swiss tents it was very beautiful location.

Groups members having breakfast near Swiss Tents at Chopta.

Groups members having breakfast near Swiss Tents at Chopta.

View of our tents near Chopta.

View of our tents near Chopta.

Groups members having breakfast near Swiss Tents at Chopta.

Groups members having breakfast near Swiss Tents at Chopta.

Next day after breakfast we started Tungnath Temple. The trek to Tungnath starts from Chopta it is a very beautiful trek following are some of the pictures taken on the way.

Group members at a Bugyal (Alpine meadows) on Chopta to Tungnath trek.

Group members at a Bugyal (Alpine meadows) on Chopta to Tungnath trek.

A beautiful view on our trek to Tungnath Temple.

A beautiful view on our trek to Tungnath Temple.

A beautiful Bugyal (Alpine meadows) on our trek to Tungnath Temple. We can also camp here.

A beautiful Bugyal (Alpine meadows) on our trek to Tungnath Temple. We can also camp here.

The trek between Chopta and Tungnath Temple.

The trek between Chopta and Tungnath Temple.

Tungnath Temple.

Tungnath Temple.

Trek to Chopta, Tungnath and Deoria Tal – Day 5 and 6

By 3.00 pm we came back to Chopta and after lunch we started our journey backward by road. We had night halt in a hotel somewhere 15 kilometers before Chamoli. Next day early morning we started and reached Haridwar by evening.

After the June disaster this was my first visit to Uttrakhand. There were almost no tourists in Uttrakhand. Almost everyone is scared of going to Uttrakhand, but I did not find anything of which one should be scared of. Moreover, all of my trek members, myself and my wife all reach back safely without any harm. The disastrous event like this happen very rarely at I do not hope it to happen again in my life time. The Television Channels show only the negative part. I accept that the road in Kedarnath Valley is damaged badly but the road for Chopta, Valley of Flowers is OK. The natural beauty is intact at these places.

In September I will be going to Kuari Pass If you are interested you can come with me.

I will be posting another post soon as I have been to Ghangaria recently.

Posted in Valley of flowers

Valley of Flowers 2013, an update

Bridge at Govindghat constructed

After bad news at last there is good news that a bridge has been constructed over Alaknanda at Govindghat by the authorities. About 1000 ponies were evacuated for the other side of the river. The repairing and construction of trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria has also been started. A small make shift bridge is also constructed between Govindghat and Ghangaria over Pushpawati River 3 kilometers before Ghangaria.

Iron Bridge at Govindghat which was washed out by floods in Alaknanda.

Iron Bridge at Govindghat which was washed out by floods in Alaknanda.


Newly constructed bridge at Govindghat

Newly constructed bridge at Govindghat


Front view of newly constructed bridge at Govindghat

Front view of newly constructed bridge at Govindghat

Authorities believe that the trek between Govindghat and Ghangaria can be reopened for public by September first week. There is no damage at Ghangaria and between Ghangaria and Hemkund Sahib. It means Hemkund Sahib can be reopened by 15th September, 15 days before official closing date. However opening Valley of Flowers can be done only after construction of another bridge over Pushpawati River 500 meters inside the entry gate. All these washed away bridges are explained in my earlier blog post. There is high probability that the trek to Valley of Flowers from Ghangaria is also damaged at some points. That also has to be repaired, but that can be done only after Ghangaria is accessible and a bridge over Pushpawati is constructed.

Bridge over Pushpawati River between Govindghat and Ghangaria. You can see the trek so near to river. It is washed off now. There are many places where the trek is so near to river.

Bridge over Pushpawati River between Govindghat and Ghangaria. You can see the trek so near to river. It is washed off now. There are many places where the trek is so near to river.


Some golden moments at the bridge in 2010. I used to sit near this bridge for hours together. You can see beautiful scenes from here. Even Auli grounds are visible from here.

Some golden moments at the bridge in 2010. I used to sit near this bridge for hours together. You can see beautiful scenes from here. Even Auli grounds are visible from here.


A bridge being constructed between Govindghat and Ghangaria over Pushpawati River just 3 kilometers before Ghangaria.

A bridge being constructed between Govindghat and Ghangaria over Pushpawati River just 3 kilometers before Ghangaria.

After considering the above facts it seems possible that Valley of Flowers may be reopened by 15th September, 2013. We have cancelled most of our trips this season but we have opened booking for 15th September and 22nd September departure.

Posted in Valley of flowers