Scenic Spots on the way to Gangotri

There are several places on the way to Gangotri which are worth to see. We took almost two days to cover the following places along with Gangotri.

After our visit to Yamnotri , we came down to Jannki Chatti at 2.00 PM. We checked out our rooms & proceeded further towards Gangotri. Earlier we planned to stay at Barkot which is about 40 Kms from Jannki Chatti but as we had sufficient time , our driver suggested to stay at Bhramkhal which is 40 kms ahead Barkot. So next day we got sufficient time to explore the places on the way to Gangotri. From Barkot three of the roads go to Yamnotri , Gangotri & Dehradun via Kempty fall (Mussoorie) We turned to the left for the way to Gangotri. We took a small halt at Barkot for Tea and stretching our legs & body.

Barkot - Road

Barkot

On the way we found a small guest house in a village Bharm khal before the main city starts. In Garhwal you will find a lot of names of places suffixed with Khal , Khal means Village . Location of the guest house was such that one can enjoy the scenic beauty & peace of the surrounding. We felt as if we were staying in some relative’s house. Food was as per our choice , what ever we liked to have they cooked it freshly for us. We experienced a homely ambiance. In the morning when I got up it was drizzling, After having my tea I went out alone for a walk to enjoy the natural beauty . We all had our breakfast & started our journey further , After half an hour we reached Dharasu band which is about 15 kms from Bhram Khal , At that point the road is divided. The left road goes to Gangotri Via Uttarkashi & right goes to Rishikesh / Dehradun via Chamba .

Hotel Pawan Putra - Bharm Khal

Booking.com

Bharm Khal

Our first halt was at Uttarkashi. It is 102 Km from Yamnotri & 26 Km from Dharasu band. Uttarkashi is a prosperous town with modern amenities and is the headquarter of the district of the same name. It is situated on the bank of river Ganga. There is no Petrol pump on the way to Gangotri which is about 100 Kms from Uttarkashi hence it’s suggested to get your tank full. We parked our vehicle & walked down towards temples mentioned below:-

Kashi Vishwnath

Kashi Vishwnath Temple is the most famous and dedicated to Load Shiva. It is one of the prime pilgrimage attractions in Uttarkashi around 300 mts from the local bus stand. An ancient temple, it is said that it was first built by Parasuram. Later, it was renovated by Maharani Khaneti, wife of Sudarshan Shah in 1857. The temple has a Shivling, 60 cms high and 90 cms in circumference. No one misses this holy shrine on their trip to Uttarkashi.

Kashi Vishwnath Temple

Bachcha Party outside Kashi Vishwnath Temple

Shivling - Kashi Vishwnath Temple

Shakti Temple

This temple is just opposite to Vishwanath temple. A big Trishul in this temple is the centre of attraction. The trishul is 6 metres in height and 90 cms at the bottom. Different people hold different views about the trishul, it is widely believed that the trishul is made of iron in the upper part and copper in the lower part. The epics say that this trishul was thrown at devils by goddess Durga.

Inner view of Trishul - Shakti Temple

View of Trishul from Outside - Shakti temple

Naturally carved idol of Ganesha

Other then these temples , there is a Nehru Mountaineering Institute or NIM this is the famous mountaineering training Institute in India. Trekkers and mountaineers can hire the different mountaineering gadgets and accessories from NIM for their adventure.

The climate here remains quite hot during summers, having visited both the temples we had some soft drinks and proceeded further towards Gangotri , 8 kms ahead there is a village called Nathahla. I suggest this is the best place to stay nearby Uttarkashi as the climate remains pleasant and one can find the economical hotels here, so while coming back from Gangotri we decided to stay here for one night. Nathala is situated on the bank of river Ganga, During our stay there we spent our evening near the river. We were so fascinated by the peaceful and spacious bank of the river that we could not come to know how our hours were passed out and we did not feel like going back to our hotel.

Mastiful moments near river Ganga - Nathala (uttarkashi)

Extended Mastiful moments near river Ganga - Nathala (Uttarkashi)

Extended Mastiful moments near river Ganga - Nathala (Uttarkashi)

Swarika enjoying the river side :-)

Tent house where we stayed in Nathala (uttarkashi)

Ekant Resort - Nathala (Uttarkashi)

On our way we found out Maneri at a distance of about 10 km from Uttarkashi, Maneri has lately emerged as a place of tourist interest as a result of the construction of a Dam across the Bhagirathi river, from where the water is fed to the turbines through an 8-km-long tunnel at Tiloth in Uttarkashi. The resultant lake at Maneri has added to the charm of the place.

Maneri Dam

Maneri Lake

On our way next place was a small town Bhatwari which is 19 kms from Maneri . At the starting of the village Bhatwari there is a beautifully partially constructed Ashram known as “Pilot Baba Ashram” on the bank of river Bhagirathi.

Entrance - Pilot Baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram - Under Construction

River View from Pilot baba Ashram

Three Old Men in Pilot baba Ashram

Tridevi

Maa kali idol at Pilot baba Ashram

Pilot baba Ashram

Aerial view of Pilot baba Ashram

Bhatwari is the only place where the condition of road is bad because of renovation & construction of a tunnel & new Road . There we stopped to have our lunch.

About 33 km from Maneri,there is a hot water spring at Gangnani, where one can have refreshing bath in the Hot spring Pool, There is a temple near the kund dedicated to the sage Parashar – father of Ved Vyas.

Rishi Parasher Temple - Gangnani

Hot spring Pool - Gangnani

The next place after Gangnani is Army Cantonment area called Sukhi Top which is 18 Kms from Gangnani. It is situated at the height of 2744 meters above the sea level.This is the place from where Himalyas appear very near covered with snow.

View from Sukhi Top

Close to the Clouds in between Sukhi Top & Jhala

The journey down to Jhala which is 7 kms from Sukhi Top is exciting as we were moving along with river Ganga and the road was also moving beside the Ganga.

River Ganga near Jhala

Our next aimed destination was Harsil. It is 6 kms from Jhala . Most of the people prefer to stay in Harsil only before visiting Gangotri. But we were not able to stay there because of the non availability of rooms. We stayed in Village Dharali which is about 3 kms from Harsil.

It is said that Harsil got its name because the rivers Bhagirathi and the Jalandhari once had an argument about which was more important. Lord Vishnu, also known as Hari, was asked to intervene. He turned himself into a great stone, a shila, and absorbed their anger. And even today, after Hari-shila (or Harsil), the waters of the two rivers become a little less turbulent.

Harsil is famous for its Apple & Rajma (Red in Colour).

Ram Teri Ganga Mali was shot in Harsil and the famous Jharna (Fall) scene of actress – Mandakini was shot under this particular waterfall, which now bears her name. Harsil was popular for the legend of ‘Pahari’ Wilson, or Raja Wilson. Frederick E. Wilson, an adventurer, deserted the British Army just after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He escaped into Garhwal and met the Raja of Tehri seeking refuge. But the Raja was faithful to the British and refused to accommodate Wilson. Wilson moved into the mountains to escape detection. Fate landed him in Harsil, a remote beautiful village on the banks of the Bhagirathi river, with dense deodar slopes on either side. Wilson married a very beautiful pahari girl by the name of Gulabi. Then Wilson entered into a contract with a London-based company and built a fortune out of the export of skins, fur and musk. This was the time the British were building the Railways in India and there was great demand for quality wooden sleepers for the rails. Wilson cashed in on this and sent huge cut deodar trees floating down the river to the plains.
Initially, Wilson had not taken permission from the Raja of Tehri-Garhwal for his logging business. But later, he acquired a lease from the Raja, giving him a share in the profits. It is said that the revenue of the Raja of Tehri went up tenfold. Little wonder that Wilson was a welcome guest. It is said that in course of time, Raja Wilson, as he was known by then, minted his own currency and as late as the 1930s, his coins were found with the local people. According to some historians, the timber trade had made Wilson so wealthy and powerful that the local Raja of Tehri-Garhwal was unable to protect his subjects, whom Wilson brutalised and used as slaves.
Raja Wilson seemed to have been a sort of architect and built, what is known today as Wilson’s Cottage, a huge mansion, now in ruins. He also built the Charlieville Hotel in the hill station of Mussoorie, which now houses the Government of India training institute for the Indian Administrative Service recruits

Mandakani Fall - Harsil

Next day morning we got up at 4.00 AM to start early for Gangotri. Dharali is a picturesque village, is situated 3 km away from Harsil. Ganges River flows close by and the village is surrounded by pine trees. Dharali offers a panoramic view of snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas.

Himalya's View from Dharali ( Night View)

Himalya's view from Dharali - Morning view

On the way to Gangotri , we crossed Lanka Chatti which is about 10 kms from Dharali. There is Asia’s highest bridge at an elevation of 2789 meters of Sea level over the river Ganga. My nephew & I got down on the bridge & clicked few photographs.

Asia’s highest bridge over river

View from Lanka Bridge

Three kms ahead to Lanka is Bhairon Ghati . A temple of Bhairon Devta here is visited by scores of pilgrims.

Bhairon Ghati

The Tibet border “Nelong” is 08 km before Gangotri towards left.

Next Post will be on Gangotri. Till then Happy Ghumakkari!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ready for Ghumakkari

  • nayan

    hey Mahesh……Great detailing and fantabulous places…..I heard of a route from Harsil to Chitkul…..google map suggests this can be possible. Though I have been to Chitkul, cudn’t tried to find out the details of the route. Any idea !!!

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Dear Nayan,

    Thanks for your appreciation.
    I will try to find out the details required by you.

  • good write-up and gr8 pics especially the “Himalya’s View from Dharali ( Night View)”. I am inspired to take this destination sometime in future

    keep travelling, keep sharing

    • Mahesh Semwal

      Dear Onil,

      Thanks for going through the post & liking it.

  • Mr. Mahesh, No words to describe . Great info log with equally well supported pics. Apart from the nature , your pic with two old men is simply good :-)

    Sahil

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Dear Sahil,

    Thanks for your golden words.!!!!!!

    Picture with two old men or picture of three old men. :-)

  • Thanks Mahesh for the info and beautiful pictures. However the architecture and crude design of these newly constructed makeshift temples is is really hurting the eyes. Isnt there any legislation for minimum requirement on the aesthetics of new buildings/temples in such areas?
    The other established temples fit in naturally in the landscape.

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Thanks for liking the post & the pictures. In Uttrakhand most of the temples are very old (historical).

  • Rich set of information, would be tremendously useful for someone planning to visit Yamunotri and Gangotri.

    And lot of nice tips and great photos. Also give us some info around tariff etc for the places you stayed or may be write a short hotel review.

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Dear Nandan,

    Thanks a lot for going through the post & for your sweet words.

    I wish, if I could write Hotel reviews or Road reviews like you but I am very week in it. Let me learn some more tips from you & then I will try.

    If you or any one required any information on Yamnotri & Gangotri , please feel free to mail me at “[email protected]”.

  • M Thenraj

    Great piece of work… good compilation… your perfect information will definitely induce everyone to visit these sacred places….

    Keep up the good work…

    Regards… Thenraj.

    • Mahesh Semwal

      Dear Thenraj,

      I am higly oblized by your sweet words.

  • aurojit

    Hi Mahesh,

    a real informative post … I now feel that I should have undertaken my trip after going through this post – info about Harsil, Rajma & Raja Wilson et al – real interesting they were.

    It is a great description and I await your next write-up (Gangotri).

    Thanks for this riveting article.
    Auro.

    • Aurojit Da,

      Thanks for your motivational words. Till yesterday I was waiting for three more comments , from you , Prof. Manish & Mr. Ram Dhall. I am happy to see your comment & still waiting for two more comments.

  • I hope I am not too late. Only Ram is left now :-)

    Too many things to comment. I go from the end :-)

    * Information about Harsil and Wilson is very interesting. For me these stories help to connect with the place more. And just after that when I looked at the picture titled views from Lanka Bridge I was scared. Beautiful place to be.

    * Good to know that Harsil is also the place Rajkapoor chose to shoot Ram teri Ganga Maili. He has an amazing sense of beauty.

    * Too much concrete do spoil the green surroundings, be it due to temples as well.

    * All other pictures are wonderful and give a definte feel of the place inviting to come and visit.

    * I also feel that many a times talking even in few words or may be including in end a brief description about the place you stayed and how much it cost helps to make decisions when someone is planning to go that place and yes phone numbers also helps. Just in case someone is not willing to take chances of going there without reservation.

    Perfect start of the day. Thanks Mahesh :-)

    • Mahesh Semwal

      Thanks Manish!!!!!!!!!!

      If you ask me honestly without any formalities, I was waiting for your comment since it was published but its better to be late then never.

      Thanks for your encouraging words & your suggestions.

      • I am overwhelmed Mahesh with your affection. It makes me feel proud of our ghumakkar family.

        Its always my pleasure to read, know and see so many places. Thanks and let many more coming :-)

        • Mahesh Semwal

          Pleasure is all mine professor sab.:-)

      • neeraj

        Dear Sir,
        Thanks for showing all holy place. we looking and oserved peacful feeling in my heart

  • Mahesh, I realized that I forget to write that your description kept me glued from beginning to the end. Very well written :-)

    • Mahesh Semwal

      I am glad to hear such words from you. It matters a lot for me. Thanks a lot once again.

      Working on Gangotri post. Try to publish it in this week only.

  • It was my dream to visit thes my dream/e places, but now seeing these pictures and the videos, it is like I have fulfilled my dream. Thanks friend.

    • Mahesh Semwal

      Dear Shamala,

      I am glad that you liked the post.

      Thanks for going through the post.

  • Dear Mahesh
    Lot of thanks for providing detailed information to the people. This jun we are planning to visit Gangotri and yamnotri. All provided by you is very useful. Keep on writing.
    Vasudev gupta

  • Hey hi can u suggest me some places because I am travelling from barkot to gangotri tomorrow it would be quiet helpful to me because your Information is quiet good and detailed.

    • On the way to Gangotri you can visit following places :-

      Uttarkashi — Kashi Vishwnath Temple & Shakti temple in Uttarkashi.
      Near Bhatwari — visit Pilot Baba Ashram.
      Gangnani —- Take bath in the Hot spring Pool,
      Harsil – Mandakani fall
      Bhairon Devta

      Details about the above mentioned places are given in my post.