Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek

Hemkund Sahib

Hem Kund or Hemkunt is one of the holiest Sikh pilgrim place in Uttrakhand, it has a mention in the Bachitter Natak authored by the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh Ji that he meditated in his previous birth at a lake of ice  surrounded by Sapt Spring mountains and where the King Pandu ancestor of Pandavas of Mahabharata ,  practiced yoga.

Until nineteenth century the geographical location of this place was not known, it was the efforts of Pandit Tara Singh Narottam, Sikh scholar Bhai Vir Singh, Sohan Singh, a retired Granthi and soldier Havildar Modan Singh from Indian Army, located this place and laid foundation of this pilgrimage site, at a height of 15,200 feet , it  opens during the summers from May till September, rest of the year it is covered under the snow and becomes inaccessible.

Lokpal Lake

Lokpal Lake

 

Starting point to this pilgrimage is Hardiwar/Rishikesh about 275 km drive to Gobind Ghat, it is advised to stay at Joshimath where there are good hotels, camps and rest houses which are easily available, next morning travel by bus or car 22 km up to Gobind Ghat situated at the confluence of River Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga, a gurudwara is situated at the right bank of Laxman Ganga,  a small market with restaurants, guest houses, shops for trekking equipment, one can get porters and mules,  vehicles can be parked here  till their return from the trek, there is a helipad and  Helicopter service is also available up to Ghangharia.

First stop on this trek is Ghangaria also known as Gobind Dham it is 13 km rocky path and unclear road, a base camp for two treks at a height of 3050 meters, one trek leads to Hemkunt Sahib and the other leads to Valley of Flowers. There are no arrangements for overnight stay at Hemkunt Sahib therefore pilgrims have to leave early to return the same day, there are open ground tents with mattresses, gurdwara, guest houses and dhabas(small restaurants) to take care of basic needs, it is here the river Pushpavati coming from Valley of Flowers and Laxman Ganga from Hemkund Lake meets. Pilgrims leave early morning on a 6 kms rocky trek which takes about 5-6 hours crossing the glacier to reach the Hemkund Lake, it is also known as Lokpal lake, there is a, Lord Ram‘s younger brother’s, Laxman temple on the banks of lake, it is believed that after the battle with Meghnad when Laxman got wounded, came here to take rest and regain his health.

Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib and Lokpal Temple

A star shaped Gurudwara which is designed and  constructed under the supervision of Major General Harkirat Singh and Architect Siali from 1960AD onwards. Situated at the height of 4240 meters on the banks of lake surrounded by seven snow capped mountains. One has to return to Ghangaria as there are no arrangements for night stay at Hemkund Sahib .

The Valley of Flowers

Next day one can take a trek to Valley of Flowers which is 3 km from Ghangaria after crossing the bridge over River Pushpawati, which takes about 2-3 hrs, no mules are allowed, at check post one is to make entry in register and a nominal fee is charged, one can feel the exotic scent in the atmosphere from here as trek to Hemkund is full of smell of Mules dung, this valley is 5 km. long, it was known as Bhyunder Valley, In 1931 mountaineer Mr. Frank S. Smithe, lost his way after successful expedition of Kamet, by chance reached here, he was so impressed he authored a book “The Valley of Flowers” and wrote about the beauty and flora, thus giving its present name,  until then this valley was not on a tourist map, legend has it, that Lord Hanuman came in search of Sanjivani Buti (herb) after Laxman got injured in battle with Meghnaad. This valley has mostly the orchids, poppy, marigold, daisies and anemone looking like a carpet on the ground and many medicinal plants, besides flowers there is a variety of wild life and commonly found animals are Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Fox, Langur, Himalayan Black Bear and Brown Bear over 100 types of Butterflies are found here, among the birds are Snow Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Golden Eagle, Snow PigeonGriffin Vulture, Sparrow Hawk etc. there are no tall plants, everywhere there is some grass, berries, shrubs, flowers, what to see and what to leave one gets so exited about the beauty. Rain is quite unpredictable and one is not allowed to stay in the valley at night and just one day is not sufficient if one is really interested in plants will like to come again and again.

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers

 

Flowers in Wild

Flowers in Wild

 The return journey starts from Ghangaria/Gobind Dham to Gobind Ghat and then to Joshimath, one can stay for one day to explore the Ski slopes of Auli and views of Himalayan mountains or trek to lakes and meadows above Auli .

For more information and trek arrangements contact +91 9810506646

Office Contact 011 45725562, 45725563, 45725564

Callers from Outside India contact +44 7700093414

Website : http://promarktravels.com

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

Blog: promarktravels.com/blog

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput is well known in the travel trade since 1980. Worked in India and abroad. A boxer, Rifle Shooter and Para Jumper. As a Boy Scout and NCC Cadet, attended Adventure camps, trek in Himalayas which developed  interest in traveling and to explore new places, loves driving to adventurous places and photography. (promarktravels.com)  Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
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Shiv Khori near Katra, Jammu & Kashmir Pilgrimage

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Shiv Khori is situated in Jammu & Kashmir state and one can combine it with Mata Vaisno Devi Pilgrimage, it is located about 80 Kms from Katra, 140 kms from Jammu and 120 kms from Udhampur upto Ransoo village and then 3 Kms trek to the holy cave. Regular buses and taxis are available at rates approved by the J&K Tourism Department, from Katra, Jammu and Udhampur. Pilgrims may also travel from Jammu on Akhnoor-Bhambla Road, Ransoo is 6 kms from Kanda More (turn) on Reasi- Rajouri Road.

The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek
The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek

The Cave

This cave which was discovered about 100 years ago by the local shepherds is more than a kilometer long but pilgrims are allowed upto 150 meters, it has two chambers, outer chamber is little large and after crossing a narrow and low passage, one enters the inner chamber which is comparably smaller, the cave is illuminated and pilgrims take help of ropes to walk and even at places one has to crawl to move ahead in the chamber, there  is four feet tall natural Syambhu Shiva Lingam which bathes in a milky water dripping from the ceiling of the cave,  just above the Lingam is a structure which gives impression of Kamdhenu Cow, one can even recognize the structure near the Lingam Goddess Parvati, the other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeyen, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita even one can recognize Sheshnag here, in the center there is a hollow structure giving impression of Lord Shiva’s Jattas, all these are sourrounded by self made Shaligrams in the cave, pilgrims call it a Home of GODS, it is a miracle.

The Shiv Khori Cave
[quote]The Shiv Khori Cave[/quote]

The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave
The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave

Legend

The demon Bhasmasur meditated and pleased Lord Shiva,  received the blessings that “If he put his hand palm on any ones head, that person will die“, to test this Bhasmasur wanted to put his palm on Lord Shiva’s head, and had a battle, Lord Shiva to save himself  threw his Trident ( Trishul) which created this cave, along with Devi Parvati and Nandi Bull entered , leaving behind Bhasmasur,  Lord Vishnu who visualized the ill designs came here, disguised as Apsra, lured Bhasmasur to dance to her steps, each step and move was so planed that finally Apsra (Lord Vishnu) made him to put his palm on his own head thus killing the Bhasmasur of his own powers, after this dance and killing, Lord Vishnu entered the cave along with other Devtas, it is said that 330 million Devtas are in this cave lying as Shaligrams and Pindis.

Around Shivkhori

Around Shivkhori one can visit the shrine, Dera Baba Banda Bahadur, the army commander of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji about 20 kms from here on the banks of River Chenab.

Nau Pindian, this is about 9 kms from Katra on same road to Reasi, there is a natural formation dedicated to the Nine incarnations (Avatars) of Maa Shakti in the form of Pindi.

Dhansar Baba, this place is about 10 kms from Katra , 17 kms before Reasi , off the main road trek for 1 km, it is a natural formation of Shiva Lingam and natural dropping of water on the lingam.

River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village
[quote]River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village[/quote]

Other Places

Siar Baba situated on the banks of River Chenab near Talwara about 6 kms from Reasi, famous for its beautiful waterfall.

Kalka mandir is just near the bus stand of Reasi.

Bhimgarh Fort, it is also known as Reasi Fort, originally constructed of clay but later it was reconstructed using stone, the main entry gate is having Rajasthani carvings, there is a statue of Goddess Maha Kali and Lord Hanuman Ji, there is a water pond and a temple in the fort and rooms. This fort though small in size was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1817 when he was the commander of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh under the supervision of General Zoravar Singh who was responsible for driving the Chinese out of Ladakh.

For more details contact 09810506646 or email at  promark@promarktravels.com

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director Promark Travel , is in the travel trade since 1980, has worked in India and abroad. A boxer, a Rifle Shooter and a Para Jumper in his college days, as a Boy Scout and NCC cadet, attended camps at many places which developed his interest in traveling and to explore new places, trekking and photography, loves driving to adventurous places , owns a business (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

Some Shots on The Way

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