Can a Senior Citizen visit Valley of Flowers?
How should senior citizens manage their trip to Valley of Flowers?
Recently I have been called up by many senior citizens who are willing to go to Valley of Flowers. Generally they have maintained good health and doing some physical exercises daily. They asked me whether they can do this trip of not. The answer is yes. But there are some important things to be taken care of and I will discuss it in following paragraph.
First thing is they should get themselves check from a doctor as they need to trek almost 12-14 kilometers everyday for a minimum of 4 days (although ponies are available for 3 days except the day to Valley of Flowers). Valley of Flowers is at a height of 11000 feet approximately and Hemkund Sahib is at a height of 13500 feet. You should not have had altitude sickness in past.
Following paragraphs tells different ways to skip trekking during Valley of Flowers trip:
Use porters/ponies/helicopter from Govindghat to Ghangaria. From Govindghat to Ghangaria a Senior Citizen should not trek as he should conserve his energy for Valley of Flowers day. There are other options from Govindghat to Ghangaria like porters, ponies or helicopter. Porters can carry a person in a Doli or Palki (Palanquin). (Pic Palki). If a single porter carries as seen in the picture it cost approximately Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000. But if four porters are carraying the cost may be Rs. 6000 to Rs. 8000 for a day. A single pony costs Rs. 600 to Rs. 800 per day. Helicopter costs Rs. 3500 between Govindghat and Ghangaria one way. These prices are of 2012 you may add 10% for every year as inflation.
On the day to Valley of Flowers you do not have option of ponies or helicopter and you need to be dependent on porters. Porters will take only up to 3 kilometers inside the Valley of Flowers. Out of these 3 kilometers approximately 2 kilometers is a steep but beautiful ascent. Depending upon your strength you may trek or take a porter up to 3 kilometers and trek beyond 3 kilometers for about 2 kilometers. You porter may wait at 3 kilometer for you and bring you back to Ghangaria. You may also come back of your own by trekking as coming back will not be difficult being gradual decent.
On the day when you go to Hemkund Sahib you should take ponies or porters as this is very difficult trek. You may also skip to go to Hemkund Sahib as some of you may be tired after trekking to Valley of Flowers.
One of our Senior Citizen customers in 2012 has written a Valley of Flowers trek travelogue. You can read his experience with us. This is original unedited version of travelogue by Dr. Tapan Chakarborti (Check name spelling)
This is very important question as life can become hell if you are not carrying right type of shoes on your trek to Valley of Flowers. There are various options for shoes like sports shoes, leather shoes or floaters. I have seen some crazy people even trekking bare foots into the Valley of Flowers. When I asked about it the answer was that they lost their shoes near Hemkund Shahib Gurudwara. Those Sikh people even walked bare foot over glaciers. But everybody of us can not be so rough and tough. Already we will be working very hard while trekking and right type of gears are very important specially shoes.
Type of shoes that should be avoided.
- Sports Shoes: Sports shoes should be avoided for trekking as they are not so rough and tough and they are made up of cloth. Once they get wet it is very hard to dry them in cold and humid weather of Valley of Flowers and Ghangaria region.
Old Shoes: Old shoes should be avoided because they may get broken on the way itself as the trek is full of rocks and lot of pressure is exerted on shoes.
Characteristics of a good shoe for trekking to Valley of Flowers:
- Shoes should be new but you should wear them for at least fifteen days before coming for the trek as new shoes can bite and cause blisters. Old shoes can be comfortable but may break any time on your trek. This has happened with one of my client during September 2012 visit to Valley of Flowers. You can read his travelogue here. I have seen lot of shoe soles laying on the trek explaining that old shoes can leave you anytime in the middle of the trek.
- Shoes should have nice grip: If you are coming before 25th July you will have to walk over glaciers on your trek. For this your shoes should have a nice grip under its sole.
- Ankle Support: Prefer the shoes which have some ankle support to protect you from tissue raptures in case you bend your ankle by mistake due to rocky trek.
- Water Proof: It almost impossible to get full water proof shoes. But you should avoid sports shoes for the reason that they are made up of cloths and foam. Once they get wet it is very difficult to dry them. You need to cross 3-6 shallow streams on your trek inside the Valley of Flowers depending upon how deep you go. (See the pictures below) Actually no shoes can resist water and you will have to take them off before crossing the stream. I recommend to not being lazy in taking off your shoes or in 9 out of 10 times you will end up wetting up your shoes and after that you can imagine how you will trek with wet shoes. I personally believe even floaters are better choice sometime as you need not take them off but not recommended for people who feel colder. The risk with floaters is that they are not recommended to walk over glaciers and you will be prone to ankle twist.
Heavy built Woodland shoes with nice grip on its sole and with ankle support are recommended for the trek with a backup of a pair of floaters in your bag.
Whether kids can be taken on trip to Valley of Flowers.
This is a common question coming across for couples having kids and wants to visit valley of flowers. The answer is ‘Yes’ they can be taken along but not infants. The minimum age should be such that the kid should at least enjoy. There is no problem as far as the trekking part is concerned as porters are available throughout the trek at a very reasonable cost of Rs. 700-1000 per day (Rates of year 2012) depending upon demand and supply.
You can see the picture and kids actually enjoy the ride some of them even fall asleep during the journey. I feel the minimum age for a kid to visit valley of flowers is 4 years. But there are many other things that are to be taken care of when you are travelling along with kids like clothing, basic medicines and other accessories for kids as it will be hard to find these things at Ghangaria being very remote place. Temperatures in Ghangaria are very low especially during night times and it is highly recommended to take clothing accordingly for your kid.
|I have seen kids of age 10-15 years does trek more efficiently then elder ones as they have more energy. I will recommend you to not to take your younger kids to Hemkund Sahib by trekking as it is a tough trek and situated at an altitude of 13500 feet.
So if you have kids below 4 years we recommend you to not to take him along for the Valley of Flowers trek. However I have seen Sikh people taking even infants to Hemkund Sahib for religious purpose. The decision is purely yours.
We also organize trekking tours to Valley of Flowers from Haridwar. To book a seat kindly fill form at our contact us page or on a form on right side bar. To know the fixed departures of 2013 kindly click here.
While going for Valley of Flowers trip one may also cover Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath. Generally most of the people doing Valley of Flowers trip have only one day for the valley. The total trip of Valley of Flowers takes a minimum of 6 days from Haridwar and for the people coming from far areas of the globe the trip becomes 8-12 days. It is an irony that people spent so much time in reaching Valley of Flowers and still spend only one day in it. By no means can one see its real beauty in a day especially between 21st July to 10th August. This is the time when you will find maximum number of flowers in the valley. By maximum I mean total quantity of flowers in quantity and in variety.
What happens when you enter Valley of Flowers for the first time?
As soon as one enters Valley of Flowers entry gate he is welcomed by colonies of flowers and dense forest. Since most of us have never been to such a majestic place we tend to spend lot of time in clicking pictures and we move slowly. By the time we realize that we are slow we would have already been late by 3-4 hours. As one need to come back to Ghangaria by evening and get out of Valley of Flowers entry gate by 5.00 p.m. he has limited time to cover the valley.
I recommend having an extra day for Valley of Flowers so that you can finish first 4-5 kilometers on first day. You may click macro photographs of flowers, bees and landscape pictures. Actually clicking of these macro photographs makes you late. On next day you can enter the valley at 7.00 a.m. and move fast without clicking many photographs and try to penetrate as deep as possible. The thumb rule is start back by 2.00 p.m.
We also organize trekking tours to Valley of Flowers. I personally accompany all my groups on the trip at least during the trekking part of it. This year we have three fix departures during 21st July to 10th August. Out of these three departures two have an extra day for Valley of Flowers. To know the fixed departures of 2013 kindly visit our fixed departures page.
Last year one of my groups started on 29th July and was an extended one. We went 11 kilometer deep inside the Valley of Flowers. We did see many beautiful waterfalls, flowers and untouched natural beauty. You may check this post.
Check out below gallery to see some of the pictures taken beyond 5 kilometers inside The Valley of Flowers
Fixed departures to Valley of flowers for the year 2013 are announced. We will have our fixed departures from Haridwar on following dates.
- Sunday, June 30, 2013
- Sunday, July 07, 2013
- Sunday, July 14, 2013
- Sunday, July 21, 2013
- Sunday, August 04, 2013
- Sunday, August 11, 2013
- Sunday, August 25, 2013
- Sunday, September 01, 2013
- Sunday, September 15, 2013
- Sunday, September 22, 2013
All the trips will be for six days and five nights except for 5th departure on July 21. This will be of seven days and six nights. This will be an extended tour by a day. We will be going to valley of flowers for two days instead of just one day. Last year also we had an extended tour and that was a great one. I have been going to Valley of Flowers since 20o4. I personally accompany all my groups at least on the day we trek to Valley of Flowers from Ghangaria.
Last year we organized trips to Valley of Flowers and following were the dates when we started our trip from Haridwar.
Following were the tours to Valley of Flowers conducted in 2012.
First :- 9th July to 14th July 2012
Second :- 29th July to 3rd August.
Third :- 10th August to 15th August.
Fourth :- 19th August to 24th August.
Fifth :- 2nd September to 7th September.
Sixth :- 16th September to 21st September.