Gusts of Winds at Uttrakhand

Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devbhumi (literally “Land of the Gods”) due to many Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas the Bhabahar and the Terai .On 9 November 2000, Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India being created from the Himalayan and adjoining north-western districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders Tibet to the north, Nepal to the east and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south, Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana on its south-western corner. The state is divided into two divisions – Garhwal and Kumaon with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun the largest city of the state, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is located in Nainital. Two of the most important rivers in India originate in the region – the Ganges at Gangotri and the Yamuna at Yamunotri. These two places along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Char Dham a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. The state hosts the Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park – the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent. The Valley of Flowers a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Garhwal region, is known for the variety and rarity of its flowers and plants.

Valley of Flowers

I had a very strong desire to trek to the Valley of Flowers so when I saw an advertisement of Women on Wanderlust(WOW – a travel group only for women) created and operated by The Trave Square, I immediately booked myself a place. I prepared well for the trip according to the tips given by The Travel Square. Soon the D-day arrived and I was excited as well a bit apprehensive as I was going solo for a long trip with women I have never met before. My flight was via Delhi. On reaching Dehradun Airport I could easily identify the group of enthusiastic & chirpy ladies to whom I introduced myself.It was a pleasure to meet women from different parts of the country – Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad & Pune.

We were met by our buddy Kumud outside the Airport and were introduced to Natasha- the photographer for our trip. After the customary introductions, we hopped into the Traveller waiting for us and soon reached Padmini Palace – the restaurant where we had a sumptuous lunch. After lunch, we drove down to Haridwar which is an hour’s drive from Dehradun. I had a nagging thought regarding my roomie but was lucky and delighted to have a caring and a simple lady from Hyderabad as my roomie with whom I got along very well and were inseparable throughout the trip. After freshening up, we went down to join others for the Ganga Aarti at Har Ki PaudiWe left at 5 PM and reached the ghat early to book our places. At Rs 100 per person you can book a comfortable place for yourself. By this time,It was only 5.45 pm and the Arti would start at 6.45 pm.We set out to the chaat gali where we relished mouth watering Gol-Gappas(paani-puris) and Aloo Tikkis(Potato patties deep fried in Ghee/Oil) – the taste of which I will not forget for a long time( reminded me of the chaat of Civil Lines in Allahabad near Palace cinema).Not to forget the plate of Rabdi which was perfect – not too sweet. After relishing the chat and Rabdi

We were all ready to start at 7.30 am after a light breakfast of porridge and toast but got delayed as some ladies were not ready and we finally left at 8.15 am.The distance to Ghangaria is 13 kms.The group was divided into three lead by kuldeep with Kumud in the middle and Abhimanyu bringing up the rear.After our bags were loaded on the mules we set out with excitement as we had come all the way to see the valley of Flowers.Ghangaria is the base for both VOF and Hemkund Sahib.We trekked for about 700 m and reached Pulna where the jeeps were waiting for us to the point from where the trek starts.The jeep charges Rs 35 per person. For those who cannot walk the entire distance, ponies, pitthus/porter( a basket in which you sit and the person carries you on his back) or helicopter(Rs 3500 per person) can be hired.The Helicopter services are available depending on the Weather and number of passengers. The rates vary for the mule or the porter/pitthu and you have to negotiate and depends from where you hire. In case required, I would recommend hiring from the start point since as you climb higher, you would meet horsemen returning with their ponies but will demand a higher rate for a short distance as your desperation would be visible and there being fewer ponies available.

The trip was amazing and all this was made possible by The Travel Square I think you should go to the site and checkout their options for your travel needs.