Arrival Delhi Railway Station, Meet & Assist further drive to Haridwar. Later drive to Haridwar transfer to your Hotel. Visit Har-ki-Pauri for Ganga Aarti in evening.
Haridwar: Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva's hills, i.e., Shivaliks, in the Haridwar district of Uttaranchal Pradesh, is a doorway. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth forms Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder.
Drive to Hanuman Chatti, from here you have to take local jeeps for Janki chatti (It helps to reduce the trek upto 8 kms), trek start from here to Yamunotri (6kms). Either by walk or by horse or by Doli at own cost. Arr. Yamunotri, One can cook rice by packing it in a cloth and dipping it in the hot water of the hot Kund. Pilgrims take this cooked rice home as "Prasad".
Drive to Uttarkashi via Barkot. Check in Hotel, Later visit Vishwanath Temple.
Uttarkashi: Situated at the bank of river Bhagirathi. The temple of Lord Vishwanath is located here where a massive iron trident is erected. The other important temples situated here are Ekadash Rudra, Bhairav, Gyaneshwar and Goddess Kuteti Devi.
Day 07: Rudra Prayag - Kedarnath (75kms by road & 14kms Trek)
Morning drive to Gaurikund, Trek start from Gaurikund to Kedarnath (3584 mts) on foot or on by pony / Doli. Tour members should carry personal medicines, heavy woolen, toiletries and clothes for an overnight halt at Kedarnath. Check in Hotel. Later visit Kedarnath Temple.
Gaurikund: At a distance of 5kms from Sonprayag and at an altitude of 1982 meters. One can take bath in the hot water pond here and visit the Gauri Temple. This is the place where Goddess Parvathi meditated to attain Lord Shiva. It is the base for a trek to Kedarnath.
Kedarnath: The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a scenic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kaurava in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above-mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.
Badrinath one of the 'Four Dhams' is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage spots of the country and is situated at an elevation of 3,133 meters, guarded on either side by the two mountain ranges known as Nar & Narayan with the towering Neelkanth Peak providing a splendid backdrop. This revered spot was once carpeted with wild berries. Thus the place got the name "Badri van", meaning "forest of berries".
Early morning departure at 0600 hrs in the morning proceeds towards Ghangria. On arrival at Ghangria for night stay.
Now comes the most difficult part, the 14 km trek from Govindghat to Ghangria. But first we have to reach Govindghat, which is a 21 km drive from Joshimath. It is raining in the morning - we haven't still got used to the mountain ways where rain doesn't affect one's routine. We take a Sumo to drive through the most dangerous road in our lives. The road is narrow, sometimes just makeshift after a landslide, and we can see river Alaknanda thundering along down below. Reaching Govindghat, one has to walk about a km to reach the bustling small town, which serves mostly as a starting point of the trek to Hemkund Sahib, the beautiful lake, considered holy by the Sikhs. We see Sikhs, Sikhs, and more Sikhs. In fact, there are so many of them that we start wondering if there is anybody at all going to the Valley of Flowers. We enter one of the numerous dhaabas there and catch a cup of hot tea. Standing in the back window of the dhaba, we can see the pilgrims moving slowly along the steep track on the mountain, wearing shiny colorful raincoats. That makes us wonder if we should buy a raincoat too. Thought of investing money in a raincoat, just for this trek, makes us hesitant. But an enquiry reveals that these are temporary raincoats, just plastic sheets in the appropriate shape, which one can pull over one's head, and it cost a ridiculous Rs 15. As it turned out later, we haven't ever invested Rs 15 better! Those raincoats turned out to be the most useful thing we carried.
When we started out from Ghangria, if we had taken the right side path, it would lead us to a difficult and steep climb which goes on for 5 km. And it takes one to an altitude of 4,329 meters! Hemkund is a beautiful lake at this altitude, surrounded by snow peaks. There is a Gurudwara, Hemkund Sahib, and a Lakshman temple on the banks of this lake. At an altitude of 4,329 meters, these are the highest places of worship in India. Hemkund literally means 'lake of ice' - and true to its name, for eight months of the year this lake is frozen and inaccessible. When the weather warms up, the ice and snow melt, and meadows of ferns and moss and wildflowers sprout on its banks. Then, in their thousands, Sikhs climb the steep stone path to the lake and bathe in its chilled waters. They come in the belief that Guru Govind Singh meditated here in a previous birth. For the non-religious, the place holds its charm with its aquamarine lake surrounded by beautiful peaks. And this is the right altitude for many rare flowers. The famed Brahmakamal grows in abundance amidst the rocks on the banks of the lake.
The Valley of Flowers is a 3 km climb from Ghangria. We walk out of Ghangria, from the side opposite to the one from which we entered the previous day. We cross a bridge across Lakshman Ganga, which we see falling down from the rocky mountain far away. It originates from the Hemkund Lake. After the bridge, the path bifurcates - the right one goes to Hemkund, and the left one leads to the Valley of Flowers. No mules are allowed into the Valley, although you can ride one right upto Hemkund. And the difference is noticed soon - the smell of mule-dung which had gotten to our heads, is replaced by pleasant smell of vegetation. We cross the check post after entering our names in the register, and paying a nominal fee. There is a stream coming down from the left, and one has to cross it over a makeshift bridge. The path goes down, and there is an iron bridge over Pushpawati River which hurtles down with great fury, and meets Lakshman Ganga at Ghangria. Exotic flowers start right from here. Blue poppies are here on the rocks beside the bridge, but most visitors walk past without noticing them. Interestingly, there are only a few who keenly look for flowers - most have either yoga or meditation on their mind, or are just trekkers looking for a beautiful place.