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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ghangaria

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There is not much info available on the net about Ghangaria. I had added some info on Ghangaria and Govindghat in wikipedia. Thus I am putting this up as a separate post.

Located at an altitude of 10000 feet on the banks of Laxman Ganga River, this small village is the base camp for travelers to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund sahib. The river Pushpawati flowing from the Valley of Flowers side meets the river Laxman Ganga flowing from the Hemkund side, meets on the other side of the village. The village is settled along the trek. The settlement area is roughly half a kilometer. On the other side of the village, the trek bifurcates into two – one goes to the Valley of Flowers and the other to Hemkund sahib.

The 13 km from Govindghat to Ghangaria can be covered in following 3 ways :

1) Walk or trek for 7 hours
2) Ride a pony for 4 hours
3) Ride a helicopter for 20 minutes

The helicopter service started by Prabhtam Aviation runs upto Kajila helipad which is roughly 2 km from the village towards Govindgaht. I hope I am right with the name Kajila. Thus even if you shell out a hefty amount for helicopter fare, you will still require to hire a pony to climb the final 2 km, which was really steep. However, I had observed that the helicopter service was not operational in September, may be because of bad weathers or peak yatra season is over.

Accommodation:

Every building in the village doubles up as a hotel. Room rates vary depending on season and your time of arrival. The earlier you arrive, the costlier will be rooms, but you will have better options of finding a decent accommodation. Anyway, a decent double room will cost you at least 350 bucks.

The GMVN guest house is probably the best accommodation as it has a clean complex and provided clean bed sheets, which I feel a must for a good night’s sleep. It is a six room plus a dormitory facility. The dormitory has about 12 double decker beds. However, the conditions of rooms are not that good. The damp surroundings also mean various crawlers creeping into your rooms and toilets. One needs to appreciate the difficulty in maintaining these facilities. The tourist season runs about 4 months a year. We paid Rs.825 per room for economy class room at GMVN. The room was uncarpeted but the toilet had tiles fittings. No geyser, but hot water is available for Rs.20 a bucket at the guest house. Such high room rates undoubtedly make GMVN the costliest facility. But it also is the only accommodation which can be booked online or through many of their offices spread across India. Rooms normally gets booked at least 45 days in advance.

The Gurudwara is the most important and also the biggest building at Ghangaria. When we visited the Gurudwara we saw people sleeping everywhere in the Gurudwara, including the sanctum santorum. Probably more than 50% of people arriving at Ghangaria stay at the Gurudwara.

We did not have any problem with foods. We had food at the hotel cum restaurant located across the road of GMVN guest house. But everything is sold at a hefty premium. Bottled or canned items cost at least 3 times its MRP. A bucket of hot water costs 20 to 30 rupees. You will require hot water not only for bathing, but also after each trip up to sooth the sore muscles.

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posted by Rupankar Mahanta at 4:34 PM

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