A Quick Glance at the Gangotri Trip
Level : Moderate
Duration :4 to 5days (Delhi to Delhi)
Best Season :April to June/Sep to Oct
Route : Delhi to Rishikesh (240 kms); Rishikesh to Gangotri (260 kms) passing through, Narendranagar, Tehri , Dharasu Bend, Uttarkashi, Bhatwari, Gangnani, Harsil and finally the Gangotri.
Highlights : Rishikesh,Narendranagar, TehriTown,Uttarkashi, Harsil, Gangotri,Bhojbasa, Gaumukh and Tapovan.
How to Reach Gangotri from Delhi
Gangotri is the place of the origin of the holiest of the rivers in India, the Ganges. If you decide to go on Gangotri yatra or on a trip from Delhi, you have to first reach Rishikesh which is 240 kms from Delhi. From Rishikesh the distance to Gangotri town is approx 260 kms, passing through, Narendranagar, Tehri , Dharasu Bend, Uttarkashi, Bhatwari, Gangnani, Harsil and finally the Gangotri Temple, surrounded by a small town.
The Gangotri Temple is situated at an elevation of 3048 meters. Pilgrims from far and wide come here to worship at the shrine of Goddess Ganges, which is the symbol of purity, chastity and power.
Significance of Gangotri Dham
It is believed and also written in the Hindu scriptures, that when mankind was suffering due to famine and drought, King Bhagirath prayed to the Gods. Goddess Ganges, pleased with the penance, answered his prayer and descended from heaven upon earth for the welfare of mankind to release them from sufferings. Due to this Ganges is also known as Bhagirathi, in the name of the King Bhagirathi.
Lord Shiva entangled the heavy waves of the river in his deadly locks and since then the river is held sacred and worshipped by the Hindus. There is a naturally submerged rock in the form of partial Shivaling, which can be seen along the Gangotri Temple. It is believed that this is the very spot where Lord Shiva stood and received the full force of the great waves of Ganges in his matted locks from which originated the holy river.
Who constructed the Gangotri Temple
The temple of Goddess Ganges at Gangotri is made of white granite structure standing some 20 ft in height. This magnificent temple complex was constructed in the early 18th century by a Gorkha commander, Amar Singh Thapa.
Pilgrims go beyond Gangotri upto Gaukukh Glacier, the actual source of the river Ganges and some even unto Tapovan. This is what we intended to do and how we went about it.
Trekking and Pilgrimage to Gangotri and Gaumukh
One fine day we five colleagues decided to go to Gangotri. This is the story of our trek to Gangotri and Gaukukh.
Gangotri to Gaumukh Trek and Distance
On reaching Gangotri after a long and hectic bus journey from Rishikesh, we spent the night at Gangotri. Early morning the next day we started our journey for Bhojbasa which is approx 14 kms from Gangotri. We carried few packets of biscuits, chocolates and other eatables. Water could be filled on the way as there are a number of small waterfalls and rivulets. We could see the Neelkanth Peak far ahead. The view all around is fantastic. On the way you meet many pilgrims and Sadhus and many foreigners. The route at some places was very dangerous. At one place there was a very narrow passage through which only one person at a time could cross across. Then there are loose rocks and glaciers at some places. We then reached Cheerbasa where we decided to halt for sometime. We had our lunch near a small river in this beautiful place. Some of my friends tried to take a bath there in icy cold water.
Where to Stay in Bhojbasa, Gangotri
Finally we reached Bhojbasa which is situated at a height of approx 12500 feet. The weather started getting bad and one of our friends started feeling AMS. We decided to spend the night here. We got accommodation in a tent. After dinner, we decided to retire for the night but the weather started getting bad to worse. Wind was blowing a gale. The wind howled all night and all of us held on to the poles of the tent throughout the night lest it gets blown away. Then it started snowing. We slept a few hours. When we woke up in the morning, everything around us was shrouded in white.
The view from Bhojwasa was simply mesmerising. The peaks that surround the valley were looking majestic and beautiful. We travelled to Gaumukh which is only about 4 kms from Bhojwasa. We reached the place marked as Gaumukh, below a glacier. After spending some time, we thought we will go till Tapovan but our friend again was feeling unwell. Nevertheless I went some distance through loose stones before coming back.
Gangotri Glacier at Gaumukh
Today we decided to stay back at Bhojbasa as our friend was not in a condition to walk back all the way to Gangotri. After last nights experience we thought of seeking a safe shelter and went to Lal Babas Ashram. Charges were very nominal. Dinner was served in the Lal Babas Ashram. One of the pilgrims, a lady was suffering from extreme kind of cold and hypothermia. Though this kind of item is strictly banned we told the husband that we have brandy, if needed.
Yatra over and Back to Delhi
Next day we left for Gangotri, I carried my own as well as my friends rucksack all the way upto Gangotri. We enjoyed the evening puja and arti at the Gangotri temple, besides the river Ganges. It was fantastic experience never to be forgotten. We were very tired so arranged for a bottle for whiskey from the hotel Wala, then had dinner and sound sleep. Next day we took a Mahindra Jeep for Rishikesh and from, there by bus reached Delhi. It was a wonderful experience, long cherished and remembered even to this day.
Some Essential Gadgets and Gears
LED Torch or Headlamp
Quality Trekking Shoes
Good Pair of Woolen Socks