I am going to the valley..

I always crib about 'monotony' in life. But looks like I was wrong all this time, monotony does not necessarily mean 'bad'. I looked up the meaning of the word and the dictionary says - "Monotony is continuation without variation; but not necessarily the extreme of complete stagnation and constancy. The notion of monotony has therefore not exclusively negative connotations, but has also received appreciation...". I should be more respectful when I use the word and hence will start the next paragraph with 'Uneventful' instead of 'monotonous'.

Like rain in the desert, my 'uneventful' life has been blessed with an opportunity; one I have been wishing for quite a few years now. The very first time I read about the Valley of Flowers in Utharanchal, I decided I will go there someday. That was some 4 years ago. This is also the "secret" location for my honeymoon with the woman I love. I am sure if you come across the beautiful pictures of this paradise on earth you will quite understand my decision. Looks like finally I am going to make it this August!!

VoF is this 85 Sq.Km. of protected landscape on the Zanskar range of Himalayas which decorates itself with rare blooms every year during June - August. Frank S. Smythe, the person who first discovered it wrote in his diary "It is impossible to walk even an inch without crushing some beautiful flowers". Locals and even shepherds used to avoid this valley in ancient times; for them this was the playground of fairies and nymphs. Difficulty in accessing this place at 10,000 feet and recognition by UNESCO as an ecologically sensitive area, has helped in maintaining the pristine environment intact here. It is accessible only for five months from June to October once the snow melts and clears out. It takes a 17 km trek from Govinddham to reach valley. We are planning to trek to Hemkund as well, a holy place for the Sikhs and Hindus alike. It is a beautiful glacier lake at an altitude of 14,200 feet. You can also find the flower 'Brahmakamal' in abundance here, which grows only at such high altitudes.

We will go to Rishikesh from Delhi and from there to Joshimath and then to Govinddham. From Govinddham starts the actual trek along the Alakananda river to Ghangaria, our base camp. So the plan is to spend 2 days at the Valley of Flowers and one day at Hemkund. After Hemkund, reach Badrinath and trek to Vasudhara falls, passing through the last Indian village before Chinese border called Mana. It is going to be an 8 day trip off Delhi. Though I have seen the Himalayas once before, I was too young to retain any memories of the experience. So you can imagine the excitement. I even dream of snow and flowers these days, a welcome change from the usual nightmares.

A month's time left to gain some physical fitness and do all the planning. It's the anticipation that is far more exciting at times than the event itself..!!

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