Gomukh Travelogue

I have always been fascinated by lofty mountains & rivers. But no sooner than this summer, my fascination rose to the level of determination to visit “GOMUKH” – the so called origin of river Ganga, A documentary on ganga was aired on national geo provided further insight into the mythological aspect of it. Also one prominent reason was that I hail from Patna which is located at the banks of river Ganga.

My exams were over and I just wanted to take a break before I marathon for my next academic year of Law. I planned to go and rediscover and witness the origin of Ganga for my own spiritual and asthetic redefinition. I discussed my vacation plans with one of my close friend Anuj and he enthusiastically nodded for the tour.
After a preliminary research about the places that we intended to visit, distance between them and what to carry along, We officially kicked off our trip.

Surreal sight of snow behind the rugged rocky trail

Birds enjoying the sight


Towards Rishikesh.

It was scorching hot afternoon of June 13. The temperature of Delhi was soaring everyday higher. We reached ISBT and inquired about the bus services to Rishikesh. We did not find any AC bus as they were already packed. We finally boarded the roadways bus as the evening set in, day becomes bearable. Finally bus left for Rishikesh and we reached at around 3’ o’clock. We decided to continue further towards Uttarkashi without any break. We took another bus for Uttarkashi and it started climbing on the serpentine road of hills. At the dawn, the sunlight from behind the mountain scattered at horizon, turning the sky into grey for a while and then scarlet.

As we climbed on, beauty of mountains took new bewitching fold. Every mountain that we crossed, unfolds a new awe-inspiring view. We stopped at Chamba just for a short break to get some tea and snacks. We finally arrived Uttakashi at/around 11 am.

River cutting through the mountains

Uttarkashi is surrounded by tall mountains and dense forest. It is a serene town spread on both sides of river Bagirathi. Uttarkashi is often equaled with Kashi (Varanasi) in divinity. There is an old temple of Lord Shiva known as “Kashi Vishwanath” which is one of the most important places to visit. Uttarkashi is also religious place from the point that it is gateway to Gangotri and eventually Gomukh.

Visitors of Gomukh have to take permit from the forest department at Uttarkashi as Gangotri onwards is a national park. They allow 150 persons each day and only two days of stay in national park is allowed (only on papers).

Muddy waters of the river

Traversing the treacherous waters

Little island in the middle of the river

We were totally exhausted by this time hence booked a room in a hotel at Uttarkashi. When we got to the balcony, we could see Bhagirathi flowing at its full swing. It was so exciting to see the powerful current and hear the roaring sound of the river. We could not resist from taking a dip and walked towards it. The noise of the flow was getting louder as we were approaching towards it. A sense of inspiration, fear and respect was constantly coming to my mind. It was in fact a blend of emotions that stirred up a feeling in me to just take a symbolic bath and not to trifle with her.

Freshening up

 

We felt like kings sitting on these rocks

Towards Gangotri

Next morning, we started for Gangotri. The way to Gangotri unfolds immaculate beauty of Himalaya. Spotless sky with clean air was just a paradise feeling. We were following river Bhagirathi which was flowing down between mountains. At every turn a fresh breathtaking splendor of majestic Himalayan view was stimulating. As we moved ahead, I found mountains covered with pine and other coniferous trees. We reached Harsil which is at 2,620 mts above the sea level. We stopped at Ganga nani for some refreshment. There was a hot water spring over there. I sat on a stone perch and leaned against another rock. Down the mountain, river Bhagirathi was roaring and in front of me was a seren and calm chain of snow capped mountains.

Finally, we reached Gangotri. It took us four hrs to reach there from Uttarkashi. It is almost 100 km from Uttarkashi. It is a vibrant town at the altitude of 3140 mts. Set a midst green woods, high mountains and numerous water springs. According to sagas, Maa Ganga ascended on earth at this place. The narrow street of Gangotri was thronged with cosmopolitan crowd. Four to five ghats are made to take Holy bath. Ghats are chained as Bhagirathi is quite strong to flow away anyone. We had our lunch, took stick from local shop and set out for much awaited journey.

Gratifying sight

Unbelievable scenery

Green grass is visible only at times

Little river meandering through gigantic mountains

A sadhu enjoying his place next to the river

The trek of 19 kms had begun now. We crossed the check post where we confirmed the permission receipt to visit Gangotri national park. After few kilometers the mystic beauty of Himalayas unfolded. We had entered into a secret dream of an unknown world amidst numerous trees, shrubs, and water springs. It was refreshing with the fragrance of nameless wild flowers and exotic herbs. Sings of nature accompanied by chirping birds – It was an exclusive experience because Gomukh trek never sees the multitude of visitors.
The misty winds hanging between snooty mountains gave me impression of “Havankund”.
The path was quite uneven and threw challenges at every few hundred meters to cross it. At some places, it was so narrow that only one person could pass at a time. We reached Chirbasa which is 9 kms away from Gangotri. By that time, we were quite exhausted and we managed to get Maggie and tea for 100 bucks. It was so delicious & yummy that even the tastiest food in this world could not outrun that.

Next to these mountains, everything else seems dwarfed

After mustering courage to face rough topography, we moved ahead. Finally, we reached Bhojwasa at 7 PM. It is 5 Kms from Gomukh. In 14 KM’s trek there is no halt except Bhojwasa. It is located in a small valley of Himalaya on the sideline of Bhagirathi.
In front of our ashram where we stayed, I saw Bhagirathi peak firmly erected with glory. In moonlight, now covered mountains turns golden, don’t know why but it was a poetic beauty. I wake up at dawn to enjoy the morning freshness of mountains and set out for Gomukh after the sunlight was spread over mountains.

It is blessing to have a river flowing alongside

Extreme close-up

Mountain goat leads the way

A distant view of Gomukh is something like a heap of ice slabs which has taken a shape of a small mountain and at base a narrow tunnel from where water is oozing out. I was pulsating with excitement and thrill as I neared to Gomukh. I had mixed feeling of reverence, wonder, fear and excitement. If I zero down my feelings in one word – I was awe-struck. It was a mystical experience. The magical surrounding put me in a philosophical trance. It felt esoteric form of spirituality which was not patronized by any religious faith. It is the origin of most reverend and majestic river of this world which has commanded respect from ages. I bow down in front of Gomukh and took a dip into the icy river. I never ever felt so fresh, so pious $ so ecclesiastic from within. Now only I could realize why it is “Maa Ganga”, why it is sacred and worshiped all over India.

Conquerer

Glacial ice

The river finding its way down

Nothing can be more soothing than the temple bells

We did not stop there and decided to climb up the mountains to reach Tapovan which is 5 kms from Gomukh. It’s a vertical trek of 5 kms so you can imagine what. It squeezed out the total strength. Tapovan is a hilltop area best for camping as a maverick view of many peak can be seen from here.

etched in my mind forever

While retreating, I turned back to behold the beauty in my memories.

Priy Ranjan
Delhi
09/07/2010.

40 Comments

  • Vibha says:

    It takes a lot of courage and faith to complete a trek such as this one. Congratulations!

    Pictures are lovely the write-up is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      Thanks a ton Vibha for your encouraging comments..I specially want to thank you for getting it published on ghumakkar…It gives me a sense of deep satisfaction that all the efforts are valued and appreciated on this forum.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Sameer,

    I am totally agreed with Vibha, its takes lot of courage to complete Gomukh trek. In June I also have been to Gangotri but not able to go Gomukh because of kids.

    Pictures are awesome!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      It was like a dream for me to hear from authors like you..Thanks indeed for your nice words, I am really honored.

  • Tarun Talwar says:

    Sameer,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Very well narrated.

  • Bal Krishan says:

    Sameer,
    A very nice account of your journey, supported by equally good pics. Especially flow of language and selection words draw my attention.

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      I appreciate that you liked the content. This was my very first post on ghumakkar..you words would definetly encourage me for more write ups.
      Thanks again.

  • Sahil says:

    Sameer , what a great journey . I really enjoyed reading every bit of it and supporting pictures suggest all.

    Sahil

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      Sahil, I cant beat you man..you are a true traveller. I have gone through all of your accounts and needless to say..these all are amazing..thanks for going through this.

  • nandanjha says:

    Beautiful pictures. And the write-up is equally matching.

    thank you for taking us up there.

  • I could not resist myself from looking at these beautiful pictures even before I read your account :-) And here I am commenting after going through your complete travel account.

    Bravo! You have made complete use of this opportunity to travel till Gomukh. Reading through I was expecting you to be very tired at times, but somehow the zeal, enthusiasm seems to be never ending. I wish you could post the smell of those wild flowers and herbs as well.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful write-up.

    BTW it was a surprise for me to read that this is your first travel account. I think your regular comments gave the illusion that you are a veteren :-)

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      lol..I browse through ghumakkar conscientiously…perhaps 5 times a day or even more…I am a great fan of your stories and almost read through each post..be the story is from the senior semwal or the junior one, it leaves an unforgettable print at the back of my mind..
      Authors like yourself, nandan jha, vibha, ram sir and mahesh are the sources of insipiration…
      Thank you so very much for your time..

  • Vikas Kapil says:

    Hi Sameer,
    Hats off to your writing skills. You made the whole thing so vivid. I have felt the touch of Himalayas, while sitting over here in Bangalore, such was the liveliness of your write up. Keep Traveling, Keep Writing.

    Vikas

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      I sincerely value your comments and accept all your kudoses. your words of encouragement are very stimulating.
      Thanks for reading through..

  • aurojit says:

    Hi Sameer,

    thanks for taking us along in your ‘travelogue to Gomukh’.
    I enjoyed the write-up immensely.

    I was there in Gangotri recently (before the season) and I met a guide who said, ‘ what is the point of coming to Gangotri, if you do not visit Gaumukh/Tapovan.’ He further enlightened us that it is a special line on the palm drawn by Gangeshwar himself, which enables one to visit Gaumikh.

    Compliments on your luck thus.

    Thanks.

    Auro.

    • Sameer Kumar says:

      It really feels felicitous to see comments from authors like yourself. The guide was very true in his saying..trust me, its like a rebirth to insure the origin of Ganga “Gomukh”. Please do visit in your next trip..

      Best wishes..

  • sskagra says:

    This is a very good site so congratulation sameer write up is a very intresting
    Thanking you

  • VIJAY DUGGAL says:

    very good and very adventrous…………………

  • sameer kumar says:

    Thanks brother

  • Shyam Maheshwari says:

    I am encouraged to take this journey. Many say it is too late in life to indulge in such adventures. I am 65. I am likely to be accompanied by three younsters who consider me fit enough to join them. They have some practical experience of high altitude trekking and I have some knowledge by reading blogs like this which convey lot of useful information.We are yet to decide to take Gangotri-gaumukh-Tapovan or Madmaheshwar and Tungnath. There is a strong desire to do both to be split over two periods.
    I will be obliged if some one can guide me as to what do and what not to do while undertaking the yaatra. Encouragement will be wellcome.
    Thanks

    • dixit_vishal says:

      Dear sir,

      I salute your enthusiasm. Age can not be criteria for the treks you have mentioned. You are 65 and your three young partners consider you fit enough. It clearly shows that you can not compete people like me. I am 39 and can cover 10 kms trek in 10-12 hours. So you are better than me. But despite of my extremely slow speed I have trekked to many temples (Panchkedar except Madhyamaheshwar, beyond Badrinathji, Gaumukh, Kailash in China, Amarnathji etc.). But I go to religious places only. And I have seen that even older people are faster than me. I shall be leaving Delhi on 5th or 6th October 2011 for Gomukh or Madhyamaheshwar. I shall finalize date and destination in September end.

      I did Kalpeshwar & Rudranath trek in June 2011. I found it most difficult trek of my life so far. I would like to share an interesting observation with you. If you feel difficulty while climbing up, do not stop for rest for too long, rather take very small steps for climbing up. I climbed up a steep climb of five kilometers with just three stops taking very small steps of 4-6 inches. But I had to stop 500 times for Tungnath trek of 3.5 kms last year.

      So, there is nothing to get worried. Do not forget to take warm clothing & rain coat/ suit. Eat less, drink plenty of water. Take frooty if it suits you.

      And…..if you are non smoker, non drinker, pure vegetarian, low on budget & have desire for DARSHANS of divine places (rather than picnic sort of nature), you can always contact me for accompanying you.

      • KULANDAIVELU says:

        Dear Dixit Vishal Ji,
        To-day is 25.01.2019. I just restarted to analyse Gomukh and Tapovan. While I am reading this blog , I saw your comment dated 19.08.2011. What is your religious trek this year.
        Anybody plans to Gomukh from Tamilnadu, (during May 2019) please post your plans in this blog.

  • ashish upadhyay says:

    Dear dixit_vishal
    I am ashish from noida. I am planning to go to gaumukh in second week of september.
    I have done trekking in MP panchmarhi but not in this kind of cold place. So what are the requirements and material i have to take with me for there. I am planning to take my wife with me too as she also has good stamina of climbing and has been to panchmarhi and rohtang where we dint took the mules but climbed by ourselves.

    Thanks

  • Bharat Thakur says:

    Hi……

    Me & my frnd plaan to visit goumukh on 24th may 2012. Can u suggest me how can i get advance permission for traked goumukh.

    & wht’s the procedure of taking permission

    thanks

  • Bharat Thakur says:

    plz suggest me…

    • Vishal Dixit says:

      Dear Bharat,

      One can get permit for Gomukh trekking from Gangotri itself. As far as advance permission is concerned, DFO Uttarkashi refuses for such booking. There is limit of 150 person per day. So concerned authorities give permission to the people present there. Fees is minimum INR 150 valid for 3 days.

  • Bharat Thakur says:

    hello….

    Me & my frnd start trek goumukh from gangotri around 2 pm on 25th may 2012. Our plan stay at nite in Bhojbasa.

    can u suggest us can we find there right accommodation (like food & for sleeping) at bhojbasa & is that safe or not

  • Raju says:

    I am intersted to go to Gaumukh, any permission is required ! Pl inform me

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