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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the popular places to explore around Joshimath?

Anupriya Bedi DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Joshimath is a quaint hill-station set amidst lush flora with the backdrop of the Himalayas. You will definitely appreciate the raw beauty of nature that lies everywhere. The exquisite scenery of the mountains slopes and the Rivers Dhauliganga, Alaknanda and the other tributaries of the Ganges flowing along the narrow mountain roads is bound to keep you spellbound. What makes this place even better are the places to explore around Joshimath. Just take a look at them.  

  • Auli

    Located at a distance of 16 kilometres from Joshimath, this place is an important and most popular ski destination in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand. Situated in Chamoli district of Garhwal region, Auli is also known as ‘Bugyal’, which means meadow in the regional language.

    Often compared with best ski resorts of the world by foreigners, slopes of Auli provide enough thrills to professional skier and novice as well. You can visit Auli anytime of the year barring the monsoon season, but if you want to enjoy the eternal bliss of snow then visit Auli from
    December end to March. This place has attractions like the highest man-made lake, views of the beautiful Mt. Nanda Devi and the other mighty peaks of the Himalayas.

    If you come to Joshimath, you have to try skiing in Auli, its truly mesmerizing. Facilities for skiing are available from
    GMVNL with certificate courses available, ranging from 4 days to 14 days that include food, ski gear charges, stay and guide.
  • Badrinath Temple

    Around 43 kilometres away from Joshimath, this temple is located in a small plain area surrounded by snow-capped hills at an altitude of 3133 meter. Popularly known as ‘Jai Badri Vishal’, there is no entry fee to the main temple and there is a queue arrangement to handle the devotees during peak seasons. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the four Dhams of Hindu religion. Considered to be one of the holiest Hindu temples, It is also regarded as of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites. Since the temple is in deep Himalayan region, due to extreme weather conditions it is open for only 6 months every year (April to November).

    The main deity of the temple is
    Lord Badrinarayan, sitting in meditative posture, whose idol is made of black Saligram stone, around 1 metre in height. The statue is believed to be one of eight swayam vyakta kshetras, or self-manifested statues of Vishnu. There are other several idols worshipped in the temple. In November, when the town of Badrinath is closed, the idol of Lord Vishnu is moved to the Narsingh Temple in the town of Joshimath till April, every year.

    Timings for vehicles to start from Joshimath to Badrinath is 6.30 am, 9.30 am, 11.00 am, 2 pm and the last batch at 4 pm.
  • Valley of Flowers

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valley of flowers is also the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Located at a distance of 42 kilometres from Joshimath, this place is truly heaven on earth (26 kilometres from Joshimath to Govind Dham and the rest on foot). Enjoy the vast expanse of flowers in the valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, the valley of flowers is rich in varied flora including orchids, marigold, poppies, primulas, daisies and anemones carpeting the ground, while the Sub-alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover parts of the park's area. This place is known for its rich collection of fauns as well, like tahr, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, common langur, musk deer, red fox, bharal, serow and Himalayan brown bear along with many varieties of birds, butterflies and peasants.

    The best time to visit this place is July to September. No vehicle goes to the valley, so, the only option to get here is to trek. You can take a taxi or a bus till
    Govindghat. From there, start trekking uphill to Govind Dham, which is 13 kilometres away. From Govind Dham or Ghangaria, Valley of Flowers is around 3 to 4 kilometres. The sight of the colourful valley filled with blooming flowers surrounded by snow-capped peaks is truly mesmerizing.
  • Hemkund Sahib

    A Sikh Gurudwara, Hemkund Sahib is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666–1708), the tenth Sikh Guru. The name Hemkund literally means ‘ Pool of Snow’ and since the Gurdwara is surrounded by the snow covered peaks of Himalayas, hence it is named as Hemkund Sahib. Even though it’s the revered site for Sikhs, tourists of all religion come here as the beauty and serenity of this place attracts all. The present Gurudwara was built and constructed under the guidance of Major General Harkirat Singh, Engineer-in-Chief, Indian Army in the mid-1960s. There is a lake next to the Gurdwara which is formed from the melted Himalayan Glaciers. The water in the lake is thus, in its purest form, considered sacred and can easily be consumed. Behind the Gurdwara, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman.

    The ideal time to visit this place is from May to September. You can take a taxi or a bus till
    Govindghat. From there, start trekking uphill to Govind Dham, which is 13 kilometres away. From Govind Dham or Ghangaria, Hemkund Sahib is 6 kilometres.

    The path to the
    Gurudwara is very steep and being on a high altitude, lacks adequate oxygen, so, people with breathing problems should be a little careful. On your way up, after 3 kilometres of trek, you will find an alternative way to go up, which is the flight of 1000 stairs, a shortcut to the next 3 kilometres. But, a word of caution, the stairs are quite steep and slippery, so if you don't have a firm grip, avoid this and go by the normal path.
  • Nanda Devi National Park

    Located at a distance of 23 kilometres from Joshimath, this national park is located around the peak of Nanda Devi, the second highest peak of India. Established in 1980, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 along with the Valley of Flowers which together are encompassed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.  

    To access this park, you will have to go to village of
    Lata, a 23 kilometres trek from the town Joshimath, since the other sides of the park are completely surrounded by mountain peaks and gorges. The best time to visit the park is between July and August when plants in the park are in full bloom and it may be possible for you to combine a visit to the Valley of Flowers National Park. The park boasts of a variety of endemic flora and fauna. The latter includes endangered species like Asiatic Black Bear, Musk Deer, Red Fox, Himalayan Tahr, Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Blue Sheep, Langur and a variety of butterflies and birds.

    To protect the interest of the park there are various restrictions for the visitors including individual access is prohibited, visitors can enter only in groups (group of maximum 5 people),  A maximum of only four groups are granted access to the park in a given week, a registered guide is mandatory to travel with each group and under 14 years old visitors are not allowed inside the park.

    The entry fee is INR 60 for 3 days. There is no lodging inside the park. The closest town with hotels and rest houses is Joshimath. Take care of the fact that the terrain is rugged and sometimes it is too chilly, especially in winters and transport facility is limited.

Joshimath lies on the the mountain slopes above the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga tributaries of the Ganga River and thus providing picturesque views. The places around Joshimath are a must visit as Joshimath serves as an ideal base for visiting them. So, come and enjoy as these places are eagerly waiting for you to explore them.

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