Destination Gaumukh

Gangotri Gaumukh Glacier Trek
                                                                 Gangotri - Gaumukh Trek at High altitude
Another day in the office reached to its conclusion and evening made me realize that I am sticking in a rut yet again....On the spur of moment, I folded my travel belongings in the backpack and hit the railway station to catch an overnight train to Dehradun.... I was not very much certain about the exact destination but it has to be somewhere in Himalayas and Dehradun is the best base to weigh different options....Was it a relentless pursuit for unknown or just the restlessness which led me to do something random ? Nope. Yes. I am not sure..... whatever was the reason but one has to get slightly out of one's head for walking 38 km straight in a day at an elevation of 4000 meter....
On the way to Uttarkashi
                                                             On the way to Uttarkashi
After getting down at Dehradun, I hit my friend's place to take a quick nap and freshen up before boarding the shared jeep to Uttarkashi. My initial plan was to make to Gangotri on the same day but It's nearly impossible to have a direct journey of more than 250 km (Via Chamba) to Gangotri in single day with public transport.... you should start very early in the morning from Rishikesh/Dehradun to reach Gangotri on the same day.

 River Ganga on the way to Gaumukh from Gangotri Gaumukh Glacier
                                                  River Ganga on the way to Gaumukh from Gangotri

If I look back to the motivation which led me to this rigorous journey then it was surely not my fickle faith in religion, superstition of cleansing sins or mythological stories. I was more fascinated about snow-capped Himalayas and about materializing a dream of being at the bank of Ganges emerging out from a Glacier. Through-out the journey I was imagining that sublime photograph of thin water stream of Ganges. In the back seat of fully packed Tata Sumo, Journey to Uttarkashi was not as comfortable as I expected while boarding the vehicle however route was stupendously scenic.

Narrow River Snaking through mountains
                                                         Narrow River Snaking through mountains

Road winds uphill and always followed the bank of some river or another (most of them are tributary of Ganges). As we climb higher, transformation of landscape into lush green valley was truly overwhelming. In the Jeep I met some locals who gave me fair idea about the present situation at Gaumukh and warned about about chilly weather. They also kept quenching my incessant curiosity about flora, fauna, water falls or about any water stream falling on the way. Along the way we stopped at many villages set in the lap of mother nature narrating their glory. While navigating through this route, you will definitely swing into mood of spirituality..... and will be mesmerized by the natural beauty of surroundings...

Herd of Blue Sheep
                                                                        Herd of Blue Sheep

In the later part of the journey, I was hypnotized with the reflection of dusk on those snowy peaks of Himalayas and could not remember when I reached to Uttarkashi. Uttarkashi was the town where I was supposed to stay for a night.... breaking my journey... It was already sun down by the time I made to Uttarkashi so lodged into a hotel and logged the day off...

Snow Clad mountains near Gangotri
                                                      Snow Clad mountains near Gangotri

Mostly in news due to landslides, flash flooding. Uttarkashi is a spectacular little town amid lush green valley on the bank of River Bhagirathi (Ganga is known as Bhagirathi in that region )...Next morning, I roamed around in the town... went to the forest department office for getting permission for Gaumukh trek....

River Ganga Near Tehri Dam
                                                            River Ganga Near Tehri Dam

Shortly after getting the permit,i caught a shared Jeep to Gangotri

. Luckily I met a fellow traveler for the journey ahead from Uttarkashi. A solo traveler from South Africa who was primarily into landscape photography. Departure time of these shared taxis can be annoying. They primarily follow 2 rules of departure.
1) Taxi will only depart when it is full..
2) Taxi will never be full....

Shivling Peak enveloped with clouds

Shivling Peak enveloped with clouds

After waiting for couple of hours and taking 2-3 circle of the town of Uttarkashi, Jeep took the road to Gangotri. On the way we stopped at Harshil which is a picturesque hamlet on the bank of river Ganges. Harshil is also popular fo apple orchards and Rajma. After 6-7 hours of bumpy ride we made to Gangotri which was quite chilly. After lodging into a room with basic amenities, we both roamed around in Gangotri. My religious side (or perhaps adventours side) inspired me to take a dip in Ganga's freezing water. Visited the main temple, offered my prayers and took part in the evening Arti. Gangotri is a serene village surrounded by snow capped Himalayas and remains colder through out the year. Next day I was supposed to visit Gaumukh and return back so i hit the hay little early after having light dinner at Gangotri.

Ganga Basin near Gangotri - Gaumukh
                                                              Ganga Basin near Gangotri - Gaumukh

Next morning at 5'o clock, we began hiking to Gaumukh. Gaumukh is 18 km from Gangotri (Not very steep hike). Initial stretch of the Gamukh trail passes through alpine forest and then green pasture replaces the landscape. Gaumukh falls into Gangotri Forest reserve hence you won't be finding villages enroute. The absolute wilderness of ethereal mountains are truly fascinating and I even came across the herd of Blue sheeps. High altitude and Thin air also discourage inhabitation in this part of Himalayas. In between we stopped at many places..... sometimes appreciated the absolute wilderness around us.....suddently i felt like a dreamer trolling through a narrow trail among high boulders set there since ages and the rippling of a river was the only sound in that lifeless terrain....Sky was partially clear and snow capped mountains were dominating the horizon....and I was the only one in that dream land walking to reach somewhere or may be nowhere... After 5 hours of exhausted walk,I made to the source of River an elevation of 4000 meter, It was Gaumukh... Felt lucky to be there and was among very few travelers who made to Gaumukh that day....

Ganga Origin at Gaumukh Glacier
                                                                   Ganga Origin at Gaumukh Glacier

In fact i was the only one in that cold and arid landscape near Gaumukh. I laid on a boulder at the bank of Ganges and stared at the blue sky. In the state of blissful contemplation, I felt like i am the only one breathing on this planet...the absolute serenity of the place brought my senses into some sort of synch but I knew it was all temporary. I will again get distracted to the world. Keeping my incessant thoughts on hold I took bath at the holy place. It was time to fold the journey because it would be dark very soon and dangerous too considering that wilderness,altitude and inclement weather.I took the same trail in reverse and reached Gangtori by evening. Next moring, I caught the first Jeep to Uttarakashi and then a connecting bus to Dehradun....

Finally caught a night train back to New Delhi....

Gangotri- Gaumukh Trek , Gaumukh Glacier, Ganga Origin
                                                                       Gangotri- Gaumukh Trek
This amazing journey to Gaumukh left its footprints on my head. Even today, I can feel every water stream,wooden bridges,glaciers,snowy breeze,cold desert....

How to reach Gaumukh: Known as the source of River Ganges, Gaumukh is 18 km trek from Gangotri. Gangotri is some 270 km from Rishikesh and can be approached by early morning taxis from Rishikesh. There are very few direct taxis so this journey can not be done in a single day. Most of the trekkers break their journey at Uttarkashi which is some 170 km from Rishikesh. You can get busses/shared jeep on this route. Uttarkashi is also the place to get permits for Gaumukh trek. Next day, board a shared jeep to Gangotri from Uttarkashi and start trekking day after that.

Gangotri to Gaumukh trek is not a steep hike and generally done as a 2-3 days trek with overnight stay at Bhojwasa which is 4 km before Gaumukh.


-Timing of Busses from Haridwar to Uttarkashi is 6-9 A.M
-Forest Department Uttarkashi Opening timings 10 AM to 5:00 PM
-From Uttarkashi to Gangotri most shared jeeps starts around 6 AM but you can get those till 10 AM (If there are enough travelers)
-Permissions can also be obtained from Gangotri early morning and evening 5 PM to 7 PM
-Indian-150 INR for two days, after 2 days 50 INR for each extra day, Foreigners 600 INR first two days and then 150 INR for extra days.

- you can get a locker facility in Gangotri.


Forest Department Uttarkashi Opening timings 10-17h.
DFO – Uttarkashi, Tele Fax no 01374-223693.
ID Proof Photostats are required to procure permit.

Very helpful

Very helpful blog....excellent work

Thanks Prateek. Keep dropping

Thanks Prateek. Keep dropping by.

Is it possible to trek

Is it possible to trek Gangotri in the 1st week of March?

What is the procedure to get permission to trek till gomukh ? Please send me the necessary details to contact the DFO.

Yes. Gangotri will be

Yes. Gangotri will be accessible in first week of March however Gaumukh will not be possible. Permits for Gaumukh are issued from Forest Department Uttarkashi. They will not start issuing permits before Mid May.

Contact number is mentioned in the blog.

+- Vishnu

Hello Vishnu, Hope you are

Hello Vishnu,

Hope you are doing well. I want to appreciate your blog. Indeed very helpful.

Despite almost every detail available on the blog, I still couple of queries.

Me and few couple of my friends planning to treck to Tapvon in early week of June. However, we are working professionals so do not have enough leaves in hand.

So is it possible to start the journey from Delhi on Wednesday morning, and finish the trek and return to Delhi by Sunday afternoon?

Also can the permit be gained at Gangotri, instead of Uttarkashi?


Thanks and Regards

Gopal Krishan Sharma

I think i already replied to

I think i already replied to your comment posted in the forum. I am sorry for the late response. I am occupied in various things. Yes, you can also procure permits from Gangotri but Uttarkashi is known more.

+- Vishnu

Thanks mate! Much

Thanks mate! Much appreciated. Lovely work indeed!

Yes you did respond to my query.

Hello Mate, Everyday I

Hello Mate,

Everyday I refresh the page 2-3 times, in a hope that there will be some response Smile. Please ignore, if you are occupied at the moment :0>


Thanks & Regards

Gopal Krishan Sharma

Sorry for the late response.

Sorry for the late response. Yes, Was bit occupied for the moment.

+- Vishnu

hwo do I go to gangotri in

hwo do I go to gangotri in end of march? 

By bus or shared taxi via

By bus or shared taxi via Uttarkashi.

Hi, Me and few couple of my


Me and few couple of my friends are planning to go for trek to Tapovan in early June. Very less leaves in hand, so thinking to rush from Delhi Wednessday morning, and come back to Delhi on Sunday. Is it possible? Also, can the permit be collected at Gangotri itself, instead of Uttarkashi?

PS: Appreciate the blog! Awesome work!

Thanks & Regards

Gopal Krishan Sharma

Tapovan would not be in

Tapovan would not be in possible in such a short span. Permit can be obtained from Uttakashi. Even Gaumukh will become quite taxing. I am not sure if you guys will be able to make it in such a short duration.

Delhi-Uttarkashi : Wednesday
Uttarkashi-Gangotri : Thursday
Gangotri-Bhojwasa : Friday
Bhojwasa-Gaumukh-Gangotri : Saturday

Thanks Vishnu much

Thanks Vishnu much appreciate! Tapovan is priority, will buy more leaves Smile.


Thanks & Regards

Gopal Krishan Sharma

Hi Vishnu, I'm coming to

Hi Vishnu,

I'm coming to Rishikesh on May 22nd and need to be back in Rishikesh by the 31st. Possible? Me and one other 26 year old are coming.

Yes. very much possible.

Yes. very much possible. Gaumukh will be open by Mid-may.

My old memories are efreshed

My old memories are efreshed just visiting the Gangotri trecking page....! been there in the month of Oct, 2006, during Dushera break in my college days. That time there was no requirement of any permit. We were a group of 6 students (Age group-22-24) went there from delhi. From delhi a overnight journey to haridwar, from hardwar to rishikesh, halt in the rishikesh for the day and booked a tata sumo for the trip. The very next day we reached gangotri by evening. Halt for the night at gangotri. Trackiing started next morning by 6 A.M. However we took a guide with us. The same day we reached at Gomukh by 4 P.M. After staying half an hour, we returned to the Bhojwasa (A ashram is there for the travellors) to halt for the night. The next morning started tracking back to Gangotri where our hired tata Sumo was there stationed. By Lunch time we reached gangotri. Retun back jouney to Rishikesh, where there was a night halt in Uttarkashi....! We made to gangotri and returned to Bhojwasa in the same day, probabaly due to our age and spririt for adventure  Smile


Hi Pranjit.. Thanks for your

Hi Pranjit..

Thanks for your comment. Gaumukh in 2006 would have been really fascinating i believe.

Interesting travel memoir. Glad to read that.

Keep dropping by.

Vishnu Kumar

I am really appreciating this

I am really appreciating this website. Two questions if anyone can help. I want to plan a trip to the Gaumukh to be there in the first week of April 2015. First, will there be a problem getting a permit? Second, what is the probability a flash snowstorm that late in spring in that area? I am used the facing the latter, but there is no point if they refuse permits that early. Many thanks to anyone who can give me some guidance on these two points.


Gaumukh is not reachable in

Gaumukh is not reachable in April. The trail and permits will open by Mid-May or June first week.  You can only go till Gangotri in April. I would suggest to postpone the plan by 2 months. However the best months for Gaumukh are August-October

Hi Vishnu,   Just like you, I

Hi Vishnu,


Just like you, I am planning to visit to uttaranchal to get some respite from hussle-full life and to feel snow clad mountains.

We are a group of 3 frnds, aging 26-27 yrs and unsure about the destinations (mailnly net surfing harsil, munsiyari and other snow clad places).

Can you suggest some place where we can enjoy snow / snowfall in 3-4 days span.

We are planning to use shared / public transport only and possibly will go in 3rd week of December.

Your suggestions are much appreciated.

Hi Mandhir, Gaumukh would not

Hi Mandhir,

Gaumukh would not be possible in the 3rd week of December however Harshil must be reachable. In 3rd week of December, chances of getting snow-fall are high in Harshil as well as in Munsiyari. I think Munsyari and harshil both would take 3-4 days.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Excellent

Hi Vishnu,

Excellent Blog. 

Planning to trek Gangotri-Gaumukh in May 1sty week. Just wonder how could you do Gangotri-Gaumukh-Gangotri (~36 kms in a single day).

Is it possible for at least for us (7 of us in age between 45-62) to start 5 AM Gangotri to reach Gaumukh by evening and then come back to Bhojsana ??.

Great Regards


It is impossible considering

It is impossible considering the age group you mentioned. The best will be to start from gangotri - stay at bhojwasa - next day early morning trek for gaumukh and come back to gangotri.

Thanks for your comment and I

Thanks for your comment and I too agree with it.. Will appreciate if you keep dropping by.

+- Vishnu

Hi Rajendra. It was many

Hi Rajendra. It was many years back and somehow i could manage that walk. It is indeed very hectic and challenging. I would not recommend others to do the return trip in single day.

For your group, however it is possible to reach Gaumukh and come back to Bhojwasa on the same day.

Route to Gaumukh may not open in the first week of May. Please check with forest department about permits and route situation.

+- Vishnu

My intentions are to visit

My intentions are to visit Gaumukh in March. At 60 years old and not very fit, will the trek be achievable? Are there alternatives? Donkeys perhaps?

its not possible in March...

its not possible in March... even Gangotri might be inaccessible... Forest department will not issue permit... Window for Gaumukh trek is June to Ocober.

Hi, this is Zawed, I am an

Hi, this is Zawed, I am an Indian, but my one of the friends wanted to visit Gaumukh and he is Bangladeshi, may I know the document check list for permit?

If need to know anything else for them, please let me know. Thanks.

I don't think government

I don't think government issue ILP for the citizen of Bangladesh....  for  more information, you can call the number given in the blog..



Best time to trek Gaumukh is

Best time to trek Gaumukh is from August-mid to October end..... I don't know the current fare between Rishikesh to Uttarkashi and from Uttarkashi to Gaumukh but its generally 1 INR per km on buses and shared jeeps... It can be bit more than that but that's a fair guess...

We plan to take the trek from

We plan to take the trek from Gangotri to Gumukh in the fall of 2015. Are the road (Drunk fixed from the severe storms we heard about last year?

Roads are now repaired from

Roads are now repaired from last years calamity.... Tourists were able to reach Gangotri and beyond.. If nothing goes wrong from this year monsoon then i think you can try trekking to Gamukh next year... No problem as suchh..

Hi Vishnu,   I have sent an

Hi Vishnu,


I have sent an emial to DFO to book my permit. Can i collect it from Gangotri also? or only from Uttarkashi?

bcz i was thinking of going Gangotri from Haridwar on same day ( is it possible? do we have direct busses?)


or should i stop and stay in uttarkashi and leave for gangotri next day




Hi Vishnu, I am planning for

Hi Vishnu,

I am planning for gangotri tapovan trek from 21st june to 27th june. I check the weather and it shows some light showers in most of the days. Is it safe to go now? I want to go ahead with this trek.. Please give me your opinion.




June is monsoon time so not

June is monsoon time so not considered as the best season to trek in Himalayas... You will most probably encounter intermitten rain...  Although there is no risk doing the trek in this season but i can not comment on weather part... Landslides are also common when it rains..

If you have sent email to DFO

If you have sent email to DFO then i think it can only be collected from Uttarkashi office.. you can call the number mentioned...

Rishikesh to Gangotri will be quite hectic for a day trip however You can have Buses and shared jeeps from Yatra bus Adda in Rishikesh, they usually begin plying from 4 AM in the morning.

I will recommend to stay overnight at Uttarkashi and then start for Gangotri next morning...

=== Vishnu

Hi, I am sunitha and will be


I am sunitha and will be going to Gomukh on the 29th of may with Chinmaya Mission. Though i have been to Uttarkashi and gangotri many tiems this is my forst mountain trek. I wanted to know how steep and risky is it. I am a little worried if it will be a little too adventurous for me! I am a littel scared of heights, but really want o do this. I am physically training to be more flexible....

Thanks a ton in advance

As mentioned by Chandan.. its

As mentioned by Chandan.. its not a steep hike... AMS can hit but chances are very rare as you are gradually gaining the height... should not be a problem in my opinion...

trek is not steep at all. if

trek is not steep at all. if AMS is not an issue then this is a fairly easy trek. There is a video on the video section of this website which will give you complete detail of the trek. link to the video is

Any questions there after, please feel free to ask. However, bear in mind that nature isn't all that benign a force, as we already saw last year.

hey vishnu I just wanted to

hey vishnu I just wanted to ask that if forest department easily provide permit to trek on goumukh path? or if there are certain ifs and buts. And is there any age limit decided by the department if only people between this age group can go there.

It's  easy to get permits for

It's  easy to get permits for Gaumukh trek.... if road is open then generally there is no issue... I don't think there is any age limit... Kids should be accompanied by an adults, that's it..

thanks for information,

thanks for information, brother is this time is right to go to gau mukh (DECember)

Nope... You will not be able

Nope... You will not be able to reach even Gangotri i guess... Route remains closed during Winters...

you hav done really nice and

you hav done really nice and creditable job by putting up this blog. keep it up VISHNU.

Thanks...Keep dropping by...

Thanks...Keep dropping by...

Hello Vishnu, This blog is a

Hello Vishnu,
This blog is a great thing you've got going. Absolutely helpful in/with any & all essential information required.Congrats & thanks for doing something so hugely important to us all.
I'm thinking:Day 1-day trek from Gangotri to Bhojwasa with an overnight stay,Day 2-day trek from Bhojwasa to Gaumukh with an overnight stay,Day 3-day trek from Gaumukh to Tapovan with an overnight stay,Day 4-return day trek from Tapovan to Gaumukh with another overnight stay,Day 5-return day trek from Gaumukh to Bhojwasa with an overnight stay,Day 6-day trek from Bojwasa to Gangotri.
Please tell me,if i get a map of the route/trail from Gaumukh to Tapovan,will i on my own-without a guide-be able to accomplish this trek.?.?.?.
At Gangotri,you've mentioned that you visited the MAIN temple for the evening aarti.I'm wondering,there may be many temples in Gangotri,please specify the name & location of this temple???
Finally,when would be the best time to make tis trip-in regard to regional season and weather???

Is the route till Gangotri

Is the route till Gangotri fully open??
I think you are over staying at that place. If I were you then I would have gone to NandanVan from Tapovan and would have stayed there for a night. returning back from Nandanvan is far easier than it is from Tapovan.

Thanks Chandan for jumping

Thanks Chandan for jumping in... I am not sure whether route to Gangotri is open or not...Forest Department at Uttarkashi may be the best place to inquire about route/trek status...actually they are the one issues permit for these treks...

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