“Char Dham: Source of River Ganga”
This pilgrimage destination situated in Uttarkashi is mostly famous for the four religious centers, or as they say, the Char Dham spots.
Mythological stories will have you believe that following King Bhagirathi's penance spread over centuries, Goddess Ganga transformed herself into a river to wash away the sins his forefathers. Lord Shiva then gathers Ganga into his matted locks to minimize the immense impact of her fall, and ever since the Himalayan glacier from which Ganga emerges has also been called Bhagirathi. Ganga derives its name after the river passes Devprayag and merges into the river Alaknanda."
How to Reach Gangotri
Gangotri By Air
Dehradun is the home to the Jolly Grant Airport, which is the nearest to Gangotri. Taxis and cabs are easily available from the airport to Gangotri, which take roughly 7 hours to reach the destination.
Gangotri By Rail (By Train)
The closest railhead is located in Rishikesh at a distance of 250 km. You need to travel to Rishikesh by train to get a bus or taxi to Gangotri. Haridwar is another close railhead.
Gangotri By Road (By Bus)
Gangotri is well connected to cities like Yamunotri, Mussoorie, Tehri etc by regular tourist buses. Alternatively, you can also drive down to Gangotri from nearby cities. The time taken ranges between 5 to 6 hours.
Best Time to Visit Gangotri
Summer (April - June):
Summers in Gangotri are pleasant with the average temperature around 25 degrees Celsius.The snow starts to melt and the temple doors open during summers. Hence it's a great time for the pilgrimage.
Monsoon (July - September):
Monsoon in Gangotri brings heavy rainfall with chances of a landslide. Hence, transport facilities are disrupted and there are major chances of road accidents.
Spring (September - November):
Spring is the best time to visit Gangotri. With all the flowers and vegetation in full bloom, the trekking route has much to offer the trekkers.
Winter (December - March):
Winters in Gangotri are very harsh and extreme. The heavy snowfall prohibits the travellers and trekkers from entering the glacier region. Transport and communication facilities come to a standstill.
Food and Cuisine of Gangotri:
Gangotri does not have an elaborate menu but does house a number of local eating joints, stalls and restaurants as well as ashrams that serve typical Indian platters. One also finds a handful of places serving Chinese here. Since the region has immense religious and spiritual significance for Hindus, non-vegetarian food is not available and alcohol, prohibited.
Places to visit in Gangotri
At 4238 m above sea level, the Bhagirathi glacier begins at Chaukhamba to merge into the Gaumukh. Owing to its mineral content and the terrain of medicinal plants through which it flows, it is believed that the Ganges water is extremely pure and therapeutic.
So much so that it is believed that even when it is kept for years, the water doesn't become contaminated. You can also trek up the glacier to reach Nandanvan, Tapovan and Gaumukh.
Located at an altitude of 4425 m above sea level, the Kedar lake is known for its cool waters and beautiful trek up the rolling hills spanning 18 km. Just make sure that you take a local guide along, and prepare well for the sojourn.
Home to the famous Himalayan trouts, this sparkling lake at 3204 m. has little log cabins scattered around the lake for camping and resting. Permit for fishing can be obtained from the Divisional Forest Officer, Uttarkashi. You can also trek the 16 km to Dodi Tal via Agoda and Kalyani.
Gangotri shrine, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is one of the four revered Char Dham in Uttarakhand. Thousands of devotees visit Gangotri temple every year to seek blessings from the Goddess Ganga. Gangotri along with Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath forms the Chota Char Dham which is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus. The temple itself offers scenic views of the Himalayas. It is the highest and the most important temple of goddess Ganga.
Perched atop at an elevation of over 3000 meters amidst lush green hills with the mighty Ganga flowing by its side, the shrine is a cynosure of all eyes. Just like the other Char Dham, Gangotri shrine also closes down in winters. During this time the idol of the goddess is shifted to Ma Ganga temple in Mukhba, which is approximately 20 kilometers downstream. The shrine of Gangotri is about 300-years-old which was first built by the Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa. It was later renovated by Jaipur King in the 19th century.
Situated at an elevation of 2623 m., Harsil, 2 km away off Dharali, Harsil is famous for its apple orchards spread across the village. The orchards run for 72 km across the village.
The Auden's Col trek is a dream trek for every experienced trekker and mountaineer, being first discovered by John Bicknell Auden in 1935. The trail passes through the thick forest of alpine trees, meadows dotted with varied species of flowers, gushing streams and cuts through numerous villages secluded within the Garhwal Himalayas, and several temples that reflect the religious significance of the Garhwal region.
Auden's Col is one of the high altitude mountain passes in the Garhwal Himalayas, which connects the Rudragaira valley and Bhilangana valley and forms a bridge between north west ridge of Gangotri III and the ridge coming from Jogin I on the east. Auden's Col is a mountain pass which connects Jogin I (6465m) and Gangotri III (6580m) peaks and is reportedly situated at a height of around 5400m. It also binds two glaciers on the opposite sides. One is Khatling glacier and the other one looks like the glacier belonging to Jogin I. Auden's Col is approachable from Gangotri and one can trek up to Kedarnath following Auden's Col and Khatling glacier.
Even though a strenuous trail, the journey is treated with the majestic view of the hulking high peaks like the Rudragaira peak, Jogin group of peaks, Bhagirathi group of peaks and Kedar Dome.
Have always wanted to go trekking and never go the chance or the thought of exhaustion due to long walks changed your mind? Dayara Bugyal is the place for you. Widely regarded as one of the best trekking destinations in the Himalayas and the best in Uttarakhand, it is the go-to place for newbie trekkers. The breathtaking beauty of Himalayas will steal your heart and make you want to visit again.
You know you need to head to Dayara Bugyal if you're a nature lover looking for some adventure without having to huff and puff a lot. The lush green meadows and the fresh air makes you want to explore more. Camping out under the stars in the wilderness of Dayara Bugyal is a heart-filling experience. The lofty peaks of the Himalayas reflecting in the pure waters of Barnala Tal are picturesque. One gets to experience the plains, mountains and even the thick alpine forests dotted with wildflowers throughout the year. Dayara Bugyal is heaven for nature photographers.
Located 2 off from Harsil, Dharali is famous for its apple orchards and red bean cultivation. Lord Shiva's deity is there in an ancient temple in this village.
Ancient stories believe that Bhagirath meditated in this place to get the Ganges out of the heaven to flow in to the earth. The temple stands to prove the incident.
Kedartal Patangini Pass Trek
Kedartal Patangini Pass Trek is a high altitude lake trek nestled in the lap of Himalayas and is regarded as one of the finest. Blessed with the scenic beauty of nature and picturesque landscape all around, this trek is bound to be extremely fascinating.
Offering the stunning views of snow clad mountain peaks, the pristine Kedartal Lake is the source of the old River Ganga known as Kedarganga from the melting snow of Kedar Glacier. This river, considered to be the contribution of Lord Shiva to the tributary of Bhagirathi, later tends to merge with it while on its route. The trail apart from offering mesmerizing beauty of nature is also enriched with diverse variety of flora and fauna including Bharal (blue sheep), Himalayan black bear, Goral and a large variety of birds as well. Commencing from the base camp of Gangotri, this trek is quite strenuous yet exhilarating with the breath taking views of Thaleysagar (6950 m), Brigupnath (6782 m) and Jogin peaks etc. from Patangni Dhar.
Gomukh Tapovan Trek
Gaumukh-Tapovan trek, one of the most gratifying treks in India, located in Uttaranchal will bring every fascinating trekking pleasure while passing through an orchard of coniferous pine trees at Chirbasa and birch at Bhojbasa.
Perching on the high peaks one can get the common sight of the herds of Blue mountain goats - Bharal. Explore the Gaumukh Glacier, which is just four kilometers ahead from Bhojwasa. From Gaumukh to Tapovan the climb is steep, and as we climb, the view of the surroundings peaks becomes clear. Gaumukh is the hatchway of the glacier to spring the Ganges, and Tapovan are the mighty peaks of the Garhwal. The Gangotri Tapovan trekking is made for all adventure lovers to let them involve into Mountain Climbing, Rock Climbing and glacier traverse.
Situated at the foothills of Shivling peak, this camping base located at 4460 m above sea level, is popular for its lush greenery and view of peaks and ranges. You can trek up the route, organized by various adventure camps in Gangotri.
Jogin Advanced Base Camp
Jogin ABC is a spectacular campsite located at an altitude of over 16,000 ft with spectacular view of the Jogin peaks that lie at the end of the valley forming an amphitheatre with Mt. Thalay Sagar. It's a challenging trek from Gangotri to Kedartal via Bhoj Kadak.
Food Availability Dhaba food is available up along the way. You can pack essential food for the rest of the climb.
Camping/Shelter Guest houses are available at all destinations. Camping can also be adopted by trekkers on the trek because of the natural beauty that it boasts of.
Water Availability Water is available in the guest houses along the way. It is advisable to stock up in reasonable quantities whenever a refilling option is available.
Channeling waters across an 8 km stretch, the dam situated at Tiloth offers a beautiful drive 92 km drive from Gangotri. You can also fish in the catchment area for Himalayan trouts, and grill them over live fire while you picnic there.
155 km from Rishikesh, this is one of the important pilgrimage destinations on the banks of river Bhagirathi. Situated at an altitude of 1150 m, it shelters various famous temples- Lord Vishwanath temple, Ekadash Rudra temple, Bhairav temple, Kuteti Devi temple and Gyaneshwar temple.
The Magh Mela from mid-February to mid-March draws pilgrims from across the country, bringing their local deity for a dip in the holy Bhagirathi. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi also organizes various mountaineering expeditions into the Himalayas.
Believed to be built by Parashuram, the Lord Vishwanath temple in Uttarkashi houses the Kedar Khanda or Skanda Puran. Later, in 1857 Maharani Khaneti renovated the temple. The Shivlinga which is 60 cm tall and is 90 cm in circumference draws many Shiva devotees from across the country.
Kalindi Khal Trek
Cradled amid the spectacular scenic beauty, Kalindi Khal is regarded as one of the most adventurous and challenging trek in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Perched at an altitude of 6000 m, the strenuous walk up to this sky touching peak is rewarded by enchanting views.
The entire excursion is an experience with various flavours of rustic and spiritual aspect of the region. What further enhances the beauty of the place is the fascinating sight of Tapovan. The trail you will be following during this trek also happens to be adorned with rolling alpine meadows, series of gushing streams, lush green valleys with a pristine backdrop of undulated Himalayan peaks and glaciers.
Combining the two holy Dhams, Kalindi Khal Trek commences from Gangotri and ends with a visit to the holy temple in Badrinath Valley. The camping tours nestled right at the foot of the Shivling Peak (6543m, called the Matterhorn of Garhwal) with the bewitching sights of the source of the sacred River Ganga, Gaumukh, this trek continues half way round Garhwal offering unmatched beauty of the Shivlinga peak and then proceeding towards the Alaknanda Valley.
Presenting the best of everything from pilgrimage to adventure and exquisite beauty of nature, this trek is full of all the right elements for a perfect trek. Suitable only for those with previous mountaineering or trekking experience, Kalindi Khal Trek is best enjoyed during the months from July to August.
Camping/Shelter Since you are on a trekking trip, you will be carrying your own camping tents.
Food Availability You will not find any place to eat while on the trek. So make sure to carry your own food with you.
Water Availability Carry your own water as well during the trek. However, you will have the opportunity to refill your water stock.