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.

Hi Vishnu , A wonderful site

Hi Vishnu ,

A wonderful site for exchange of information & ideas. Thanks to you once again.

We , a group of 10 members, have planned for Gomukh trek on 16th & 17th Oct 2016 , kindly share the following information :

1) Whether Gangotri - Gomukh trek route will remain open at that time ?

2) What sort of problem may arise in the month of Oct ?

3) Since max. 150 permit is allowed per day , will it be problem to get the same in oct



Yes. it should remain open

Yes. it should remain open till November end.

October is really good time to visit. It will be little cold but rest is fine.

Getting permit should not be an issue. October is not a tourist season for Gaumukh.

I m going to gomukh from

I m going to gomukh from 24 july 2016 and i want to know about buses from hatidwar

To take to  me and friend from gangotri so please to advice me and get contact number of 

Public transportation

No idea about buses from

No idea about buses from Hatidwar but Yes, from Haridwar there are buses to Uttarkashi then to Gangotri.

We want to  travel gongotri

We want to  travel gongotri to gaumukh by much time will require to travel.

I think it would be total 2

I think it would be total 2 days and 1 night trip. you can stay in Bhojwasa enroute. Horses are faster but not very comfortable.

Hello Vishnu! Thankyou for

Hello Vishnu! Thankyou for sharing ur wonderful experience was indeed helpful.....i wanted to know about the travel's average expenses per head....

depends on the travel style.

depends on the travel style. it can be cheaper if you are living in basic lodges, taking public transport and eating roadside food.

Hi, Vishnu, Very informativ

Hi, Vishnu, Very informativ blog indeed..

Iam planning my solo trek from ghaziabad to Gowmukh from 2 June night and back by 5th night. Can you help in making my trek itenerary. I wish to enjoy maximum at gowmukh, so Iam ready to take restless travelling till may be gangotri or even beyond if possible. One question, does the DFO issue permits to gaumukh on weekends also??

Will appreciate your early response..

Thanks and Regards.

3 days are not enough. Yes,

3 days are not enough. Yes, you can get permits on weekends also. keep one extra day as Gangotri-Gaumukh-Gangotri itself is 2 days and 1 night.

Hi vishnu, can i take my

Hi vishnu, can i take my daughter for the gaumukh trek. She is 15 now...

I don't see any problem for a

I don't see any problem for a 15 year old kid to go to Gaumukh trek. she can do it easily.

Dear Bro, We are planning to

Dear Bro,

We are planning to visit Gangotri from Tamil Nadu on coming september-2016.

And which vehicle is advisable for this much of long trip?

Also maruthi omni is suitable vehicle to reach there?

And how many days required for this trip.

Please advice to me for above regards.


Thanks & Best Regards

Hari Hara Sudhan

I would recommend Innova or

I would recommend Innova or something similar. No, Maruti Omni is not the best vehicle for this route but ofcourse it can go.

From Dehradun, you can reach Uttarkashi in half day (stay overnight) and then next morning start your journey to Gangotri.

+- Vishnu

hi Vishnu,   nice blog and

hi Vishnu,


nice blog and Pictures, thanks for making me Nostalgic, I am a summiter of Bhagirathi 2 Peak in 1997, i just want to know when the route of Gomukh close for trek , i forgot now , can you pl;ease give me this information.


Thanks in advance



Rahul Hardas

Glad to see your message,

Glad to see your message, Sir. Well, I think it closed down in Mid-October and opens again in Mid-May.

+- Vishnu

hi vishu, we the group of 6

hi vishu,

we the group of 6 teachers wanted to trek gaumaukh (3rd june), 

just wanted to ask will be there any problem in getting permit for it after reaching thr????

there is no problem in

there is no problem in getting Permit. you can get the permit from Forest office at Uttarkashi.

+- Vishnu

Hi vishnu   I am planning for

Hi vishnu


I am planning for char-dham with my parents (age 57 and 51) from 21 may onwards, and along with that am planning for gaumukh from gangotri as well.  we all are phsically very healthy and we do belong hily area, so there is natural stamina in-built in us. can you please suggest me how much time it will take (to and fro). we are planning on 23rd of may 2016. and would like to return on 24th.


And one more thing. can i get permission from anywhere in delhi. although i had word with DFO uttarkashi, they are happy to give permission for 23rd of may. I am not sure on that perticular they might deny for the same.


please suggest asap.



You can not get permission

You can not get permission from New Delhi. You can only get it from DFO Uttarkashi. there is no problem. they can not deny it.

Gangotri to Gaumukh and back would take 1 night and 2 days. overnight stay can be at Bhojwasa. you can figure out your schedule accordingly.

+- Vishnu

Hi vishnu,   We 6 friends are

Hi vishnu,


We 6 friends are planing to visit (Delhi-Gangotri-Bhojvasa-Tapovan-Gangotri-Delhi) in last week of june or 1 st week of july.

My questions are:-

1. Is it the right time to visit.

2. how will be the track in this week.

3. we have total 5 days in hand plus one night (we will leave delhi on night).

   is it possible to cover whole as per our plan.

4. Where to get the permit. is it available online.


Thanks in advance. and the blog is super cool.









July is not the best time to

July is not the best time to visit Uttaranchal. Chances of landslides, flash floods are really high. If possible then postpone your trip till August Mid.

5 days are fine from Delhi to Delhi.

Permits can only be obtained from Forest office at Uttarkashi or Gangotri. Not available online.

Hi! My parents are 54 and 60

Hi! My parents are 54 and 60 year old respectively and are physically fit. They are into trekking since many years an are planning to go to Gomukh this year in may/ june. Can you please suggest some groups/ trekking companies which take trekkers to gomukh? It can be from anywhere- rishikesh/haridwar/gangotri/delhi etc.. My parents can join there...  Thanks!

I am not sure if Uttranachal

I am not sure if Uttranachal Tourism board runs trip to Gaumukh or not. Please check on their website. It is not part of chardham yatra but some specialized tours go there. In other case you can get a trek agency in Uttarkashi or Gangotri. There are many in Delhi but better to check with local tour agency at Uttarkashi, Gangotri or Rishikesh.

+- Vishnu

hello Vishnu.. I read your

hello Vishnu.. I read your travelogue to Gaumukh. Splendid..


From Kochi, Kerala, I went upto Gangotri. Couldnot take the trek to Gaumukh, as people in my group dissuaded me from taking the trip. I didn't have the courage to take it alone. We were on a Chaardham yatra. 

But trust me, on a hind sight, I feel, it was providence that dissuaded me from taking the trek becuase the calamity in Utharakhand happened happened within the week of us leaving Kedarnath.

However, after reading your account, feels pity that I couldnot make it to Gaumukh.. @ 65, with  a frailing health, God alone knows whether I will ever be able to take it atelast once in my life.  Tks.. 

Dear Sir,I am extremely happy

Dear Sir,
I am extremely happy to see your comment on my blog. I admire your determination for taking the Chardham Yatra at this age. Yes, Weather in Uttaranchal has been quite fragile in last couple of years specially during early Monsoon. If you ever want to take a trek to Gaumukh then i would recommend you month of October. It is end of season but relatively safer time to go deep into mountains.

Have a lovely day sir.. My best wishes with you and I wish you make it to Gaumukh once.

+- Vishnu

Hello Vishnu . I am from

Hello Vishnu . I am from Kolkata . PLS GUIDE ME HOW CAN I REACH ?

From Kolkata, take a train to

From Kolkata, take a train to Dehradun or Rishikesh and the bus to Uttarkashi and then shared jeep to Gangotri






i want to travell& track to

i want to travell& track to gumukh- ratwan - swetverna- shri kailash pl. guide to me aas early as possible


sandep shah



I don't have any idea about

I don't have any idea about this trek route. hopefully someone will see the comment and reply.

From May mid to October, you

From May mid to October, you can reach Tapovan via following route.

Delhi-Rishikesh-Uttarkashi-Gangotri (by road) and then walk to Gaumukh and Tapovan

+- Vishnu

hi vishnu,   i am from

hi vishnu,

  i am from gujarat. pls send if possible to answer my mail add.

 I am planning to trek alone to gaumukh, tapovan and if possible nandanvan.

What you recommend, although I am bit confident that I will get few friends on the way.

Thank you

Answered your queries above,.

Answered your queries above,.

My father aged 76 years is

My father aged 76 years is very eager to trekk gomukh. He is physically fit. My queries are

1> Is my father age is any problem to obtain permission?

2> Though he is mentally and physically strong is he able to trek as oxygen level is poor.

3> my plan is: day 1: Gongotri-bhujbasha, Day 2: bhujbasha-gomukh-bhujbasha. day 3: bhujbasha-Gongotri. Is it ok?

Thanks and please help me.

There is no problem with

There is no problem with respect to getting permissions for Gaumukh. Age would not create any problem.

Oxygen level is not that poor in Gaumukh or Bhojbasa. if he is fit then ideal time to go for this trek would be in Autumn.

Yes, itinerary seems perfect for me. my best wishes to you and your parents for this journey.

+- Vishnu

Hi, First of all Thank You


First of all Thank You bro for sharing such an informative article.

I want to visit Uttarakhand with my friends in March 23, 2016 and the problem is we want to cover as much as possible. So is it possible to go Gangotri by then? And will there be any permit issue?

And generally can we complete gaumukh trip in 2 days and comeback to rishikesh?

For Gangotri, you do not

For Gangotri, you do not require any permit. Gaumukh would not be possible in March. I do not think Forest department will issue permits in March. Gaumukh gets open by May end at earliest.

+- Vishnu

hi, is it possible to visit


is it possible to visit goumukh by end may.can any one arrange the permit on my behalf before I reach Uttarkashi.

You can ask someone to

You can ask someone to arrange permits from Uttarkashi. Yes, Gaumukh should be open by May-end.

+- Vishnu

Hi. I want to do the Gaumukh

Hi. I want to do the Gaumukh trek next year before 9th of May, that means before the Gangotri temple opens. Is it possible to get the permit and is there any accomodations available in Gangotri and Bhojbasa during this time? I did twice the Gaumukh trek this year in June and in September, so I have some experience.

I think Gaumukh trail will

I think Gaumukh trail will get open in May but there would be lots of snow on the trail. Prepare yourself for snow and cold. If trail is open then Forest department should have not problem issuing a permit.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu I am from Chennai

Hi Vishnu

I am from Chennai and planning a Solo Char Dham trip at a minimal budget this summer around May. So I would also like to do a Tapovan - Nadavan trek from Gangotri. 

1. Will trek route to Tapovan - Nandavan be open end of May ?

2. Is May an ideal time to visit this place ? If not when would be the best time ?

3. What would be the approximate cost for the Tapovan - Nandavan trek, if i go through a Guide ?


Prasanth P

I guess Tapovan and Nandavan

I guess Tapovan and Nandavan would be open by May-end however it is beginning of the season so you will need an experienced guide for outling the trail and cutting the snow. It is not the ideal time but trek is do-able with an experienced guide. you would need a guide for sure.

Cost will depend on many factors. I think a guide would charge 1000 INR a day and also you will need a porter and cook. you will need to pack groccery, chocolates etc. Tapovan and Nandavan would be technical treks in the beginning of season so i would suggest you to prepare well.

Good luck.

+- Vishnu

hi we want to do trekking

hi we want to do trekking gangotri glacier and Goumukh in the end of march. how will we get through from delhi and is it safe for self camping  with only 4-5 friends their. we are photographer we dowant  shoot at night and we dont want to stay at hotels. Can you pilz tell us how to do so ?

I think Gaumukh would not be

I think Gaumukh would not be possible in the end of March. Route will be closed and Forest department would not issue permit for Gangotri national park... You should postpone the plan till May end... Self camping is safe...there are handful of camping sites..

hi  My name is udham singh.I


My name is udham singh.I am going for Trekking to Tapovan ,any companion plz call me at 09910999136 .I will start my journey from delhi tomorrow. (21/10/2015)

Hi Kindly narrate your


Kindly narrate your expericence from your Tapovan trek ?


Is it safe to do a Solo trek ?

From my opinion, its not

From my opinion, its not recommended to trek Tapovan alone. trail is not well outlined and you might lost the trail.

+- Vishnu

Please do share your trekking

Please do share your trekking experience to Gaumukh in October end..

+- Vishnu

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