25 March 2014

Gangharia: Base Point Towards the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib

Gangharia, as viewed on the way to the Valley of Flowers. To reach here, one has to trek 13 kilometers from Govindghat. This is the base point towards Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. There are transports available like a porter to carry you in his basket-like carriage; if you're too fat to walk, there is a 2 or 4-person carrier to carry you all the way; if you're in a hurry there are helicopters, too -may cost you 3 - 4 thousand for one way (going down, I heard, is cheaper); if you're too lazy walk with your feet there are ponies too for 600 -1500 per person; and of course, your two feet to carry you everywhere you want. I recommend the latter, unless you lost them.

I can't convince myself to photograph the inside of the place but to give you a description -it's horrible! As usual the hotels and shops are right next to each other. The road is very narrow and it is occupied by thousands of people and horses/ponies. All kinds of garbage are all around, on the street itself and on the sides. Pretty disgusting for a "holy" place. The prices of hotels, food and other goods are higher than the Himalayas. No kidding here. A banana that is supposed to be rs. 2 is sold here for rs. 5.  The place, like any religious destination, is kind of a business hub, if you agree.

For most people, they trek in the morning from Govindghat, spend the night in Gangharia then move at 5:30 or 6 in the morning towards Valley of Flowers or Hemkund Sahib.

Note: This photo was taken in 2011, when the businesses were still at their peak. I heard it will be open this year after the great flood of June 2013. Be ready to be looted...if you let yourself!

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