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 Ganga......at 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,   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

HI VISHNU I FROM GUJRAT

HI VISHNU

I FROM GUJRAT PLANING TO VISIT GAUMUKH AND TAPOVAN.

PLS GUIDE ME HOW CAN I REACH ?

:- RAJESH

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

09427016256

 

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

Hi,

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

hi,

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 ?

Regards

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

hi 

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

Hi

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

I will eagerly wait for your

I will eagerly wait for your experience of visiting tapovan at his time of the year.

planning gangotri trip 6or

planning gangotri trip 6or 7th oct 2015, five days, I am 36, a doctor by profession (anesthetist) , love travelling in hills. seeking a travel partner

Thanks for your comment

Thanks for your comment Gaurav and wish you best for your trip. I hope you find a travel mate from this forum.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I am planning for Gaumukh

Hi, I am planning for Gaumukh Tapovan Nandanvan on October 2nd week. Anyone wants to join me?

Hi:I want to go to gomukh

Hi:I want to go to gomukh and tapovan start from gangotri around 12 th October . I am solo and willing to join any group in the date. Please advise if you can Organise for me gangotri to gangotri arrangement including guide and porter for the trek. From shyam uttam

Hi I have justnow completed

Hi

I have justnow completed the trek from Gangotri To Goumukh to tapovan  and back to gangotri.

This is truly great experience and the weather is fine and getting cold Take
Enough warm cloth and windshiters. becasue on 2nd oct night light snow fall was there in tapovan.

On 30th Sept the night temp at Bojbasa was -1.3 degree. as per the NIH Lab at Bojawasa.

You cannot  trek alone with out guide to topavan. But youcan visit upto Gaumukh without guide

Also u do not getaccomadation in mouni baba ashram in Tapovan without guide/or lone person.

So guide is must for goinmg to Tapovan,

You can contact Real Adventures At gongotri close to Temple.

or you can contact Mr Sourab Rana who was excellant guide and good companion.

May charge bet 800-1000  per day. His number is 9458327411. you can give my name as ref.

The Trek take 4 days from Gangotri to Gangotri.

one  day Gangotri -Bojwasa 14Km

2nd Day Bojwasa to Tapovan  10 Km( including trek to neel tal)

3rd day Tapovan to Bojwasa   10 Km via Goumukh

4th day Bojwasa to Gongotri  14 km.

pl tell me your experience

praveen K rao

 

 

 

Hi Praveen, Thanks for your

Hi Praveen,

Thanks for your comment and sharing the contact details of the guide. i am glad to hear about your trip.

keep dropping by. your inputs are highly valuable for fellow travelers.

+- Vishnu

I do not arrange treks to

I do not arrange treks to Gangotri. I hope you are able to find fellow trekkers through this forum.

+- Vishnu

Hopefully you find a fellow

Hopefully you find a fellow traveler through this forum.

+- Vishnu

IF I START MY TREK FROM

IF I START MY TREK FROM GANGOTRI TO BHOJWASA & NIGHT STAY FOR THE SAME NIGHT AND NEXT DAY MORNING AFTER VISITING GAUMUKH WANT TO BACK AT GANGOTRI---- HOW MUCH TIME WILL TAKE OR IS IT POSSIBLE?

It is possible and will take

It is possible and will take 2 days as you already planned.

 

Very informative blog. Thanks

Very informative blog. Thanks for sharing and helping out. 

Me along with my husband are thinking of going to Gangotri from Dehradun. Can we go to Gangotri and return back on the same day and what are the places we can cover if we want to make the best use of our time. We are good with private vehicle. 

Thanks a lot in advance for your info. 

No. It is not possible to

No. It is not possible to drive to Gangotri from Dehradun and come back on the same day. Even reaching Gangotri from Dehradun in single day would be quite taxing. Gangotri is not a day trip from Dehradun. Its very far and roads are not that good.

Hi vishnu very good article 

Hi vishnu

very good article  and very helpful for the trekkers

I am planning to trek to Gaumukh- tapovan -gangotri. would like to have travel partners to share guide and prorter charges.

if any one interested in the last week of sept 15 from gangotri i.e 27 to 1st oct 15 pl let me know and contact at raopavi@yahoo.com

regards

Praveen

I plan to drive from Dehradun

I plan to drive from Dehradun to Harsil on 2-Oct with my family and visit Gangotri the next day.
Any more family interested?

Thanks for your comment. Good

Thanks for your comment. Good luck with your trip. I hope you find a travel partner.

no not yet find any co

no not yet find any co traveller.

Let us see.

 

OK

OK

Hi vishnu very good blog

Hi vishnu

very good blog about the gangotri-Goumukh trip. thanks for the insight abt trip.

I just want to ask  how is the weather during last week of septmener 2015. I am planning to visit Goumukh- Tapovan(if any co traveller available)  from 27th Sept 2015 to 30th Sept 2015.

If any one interested may pl join my e mail Id is raopavi@yahoo.com

thanks

raopavi

September-October are the

September-October are the best month for doing trek to Gaumukh. 3-4 days are too less for including Tapovan. you should have at least 5 days (ex- Rishikesh).

+- Vishnu

I'm planning to visit

I'm planning to visit Gangotri glacier next week oneself ,i wanna know would it be safe to visit this time ? 

Give me an idea about the time duration to go from Rishikesh to Gangotri with transportation mean and must have gear to go along to be packed in backpack.

 

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