Trek to Gomukh The Source of River Ganga
Trek to Gomukh The Source of River Ganga5 mins 60 5 mins 60
Situated amidst the Trans Himalayas in the state of Uttaranchal better known as Uttarkhand lays the origin of river Ganga; Uttarkhand is primarily divided into 2 regions – The Garhwal and The Kumaon
This trek is on the Garhwal Side of the State.
Delhi being the most convenient entry point, we decided to meet up at Red Fort in the summer of 2007
The journey began in a hired 10 Seater vehicle towards Haridwar passing Meerut, Roorkie and not to miss – Baba Ramdev’s Ashram. Haridwar was pleasant; unlike the Delhi heat, we decided to visit the Ghat for the famous evening Aarti.
The Ghat has its own charm with thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all walks of life are here to pay homage to the holy Ganges. Place is like a bee-hive; you don’t even a single square inch free to put your feet. But somehow you tend to ignore the commotion of local hawkers and touts to hear the Mandir bells ringing, worshippers floating Diyas and boat shaped leaves with flowers in the holy river. The place turns mesmerizing by dusk and probably one can sit there for hours to experience the magic and the beauty.
The stopover at Haridwar was truly worthwhile.
We crashed out in a hotel by the banks of the river. The next day started quite early with a dip in the holy river. We had to hold on to the chains at the ghats as the under current was pretty bad. Our next spot was Rishikesh; White water rafting was the next adrenaline rush.
The rafting course starts at Shiv Puri and ends beneath the Laxman Jhula. There are 5 rapids in total out of which the first two might just give you a heart attack; the huge walls of water stand in front of your face as soon as the raft hits a rapid.
Out here, one has to inflate his own raft and use the oars very methodically and actively as mostly it’s controlled by Indian Army.
Between 2 rapids the water is absolutely still and peaceful. We jumped into the river at these points with the life saving jackets
Believe me, it was an experience of a life time.
We spent that night at Rishikesh and headed on with our journey towards Gangotri next day morning.
The distance we had to travel from Delhi to Gangotri was about 500 Kms and we had barely covered half the journey. After driving for about 6 hours, we stopped for the night at lovely river side village; Naithala
Naithala; a small picturesque village on the banks of the river offers small cottages and warm Vegetarian meals at affordable rates.
The weather was pleasant and we had a comfortable stay that night and headed out early parts of the morning towards Gangotri.
After crossing the town of Uttarkashi we stopped over at Rishikund to rejuvenate ourselves
There are 4 Dhams in Uttarkhand, namely Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath and before each dham there is a Hot Spring where one can take a dip and rejuvenate. The one before Gangotri is Rishikund. These are basically sulphur deposit springs with the water temperature about 70 degrees. Like real hot! I felt my skin literally burning once I jumped into in but once I was out; it was truly refreshing and works as a pain killer for the entire physical body.
We drove to stop to a panoramic place called Harsil for tea and finally reached Gangotri about 11 am.
The place was bustling with tourists and pilgrims
Situated on the banks of River Bhaghirati on an altitude of about 11000 ft is the busy town of Gangotri
Shiva sloks and bhajans echoing in the air, Various pujas and sadhanas being performed on the banks of the river and cold breeze blowing over your face.
The place seems enchanted.
We were already amidst the Himalayas and were restless to start the trek to Gomukh. We should ideally acclimatize that day after gaining such a height but as determined we were; we headed for the trek with a local porter.
The trek is of 18 kms from Gangotri to Gomukh with a stopover after 12 kms at Bhujbasa; though the trek starts on a moderate note, it gradually builds up to be a strenuous one especially after Bhujbasa
We trekked through the Gangotri National Park and entered the trans-himalayan region where the vegetation started to become scanty and the air becoming thin. A small halt after 9 kms was Chirbasa for tea and Maggi…..there’s one thing I have all noticed in the mountains; that no matter whatever altitude it may be – Maggi! Is one product which is always available……….
It was almost 5 pm; when we reached Bhujbasa
Here, there are 2 options for the night stay – 1. The GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) lodge OR 2. Lal Baba Ashram.
Both offers blankets and Warm meals; There are limited beds both in rooms and dormitory formats
we choose to sleep in our sleeping bags at the GMVN dormitory.
Food and water is pretty expensive here as the carrying cost of porters are very steep. The lodge offers simple vegetarian food which consists of Rice, dal, Sabjee for Rs. 180/- and an omlette on request for Rs.50/-
1 litre of packaged water is about Rs. 65/-
It’s just 6kms from Bhujbasa to Gomukh; this is where the trek starts getting a little strenuous as oxygen levels are really low
Early morning on the following day to our surprise the water in the bathrooms had thin layers of ice on it with sub zero temperatures
We started on the last leg of our trek crossing over the Gomukh glacier; there were no roads…..just bolders and rocks to tread upon and finally got a glimpse of the great shivling peak.
We treaded slowly but surely watching the path very carefully……..6 Kms seemed like 60 kms……it took us almost 5 hours to do 6 kms and finally caught the Bhagirathi peaks in our sight. Fascinating and mesmerizing.
And when we finally reached the source of the Holy River…..it was truly worth it! The current of the water was enormous coming out of a small hole of a Gigantic glacier…..Unbelievable!
Memories worth a lifetime! A trip I will never erase from my mind
Gomukh – The source of Ganga