River Ganga is considered the holiest of all rivers in Hindu religion, so much so that it is addressed as ‘Mother Ganga’ in a number of Hindu scriptures. The reason for such high reverence towards the GANGES is not just mythological. Behind it, there is also physical significance in that the purity of the water of Ganges has been established scientifically and is far beyond doubt or question.
Gangotri is said to be the place from where this holy river originates but the actual point of origin of Ganga is Gaumukh, the snout of Gangotri glacier from where this holy river emanates, situated approximately 18 Km away from Gangotri.
We plan to take you to Gangotri (not literally, but through this article). This may be considered more of an e-tour. Plus, all the information compiled and presented here will also be of immense help if you plan to venture to this holy place sometime in the near future. So let’s start our journey…
If you plan to go to Gangotri by road via Dehradun, the capital of the state of Uttarakhand, you may take the route through Mussoorie. This way you will be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of the hill city of Mussoorie (moreover, this route is shorter than the one via Rishikesh) while travelling to your destination. The total drive is approximately of 7 hours’ duration.
Heading towards Uttarkashi from Mussorie, you will find a number of small villages. Some of them are Suwakholi, Rautu Ki Beli, Almas, Tingling Point, Moriyana Top.
Hey! Why not stop for a little while at Tingling Point and know the story behind that rather out of the ordinary name while also enjoying the scenic view that this place has to offer?
Have a look at the photograph below to witness how prolifically the Tingling Point has been bestowed with the beauty of nature.
If you have been wondering all this while as to what’s with that strange name ‘Tingling Point’, just have a look at the photograph below.
Travelling further, the Uttarkashi – Mussorie road meets the Rishikesh – Chamba – Tehri Road at Sarot Doman from where Gangotri is approximately four and a half hours’ drive. On the way are a number of small towns such as Chinyali Sour, Nagni, Dharasu, Dunda (this place is famous for woollen clothes which are indigenously produced by the residents of Dunda village, so do halt here for some time and check out the woollen attires available for sale), Nakuri and Matli.
Next comes Uttarkashi, a town which is the district headquarter of Uttarkashi district. Interestingly enough, the name Uttarkashi means ‘Kashi of the North’. A few Kilometres away from Uttarkashi lies Bhatwari, a small place that is full of scenic beauty and would be a treat to your eyes if you cared to stop for a while and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Heading forward toward Gangotri, the next interesting place you will encounter is Gangnani. This spot is famous for its thermal water spring named Rishikund. Then come Harsil, Dharali, Lanka and Bhaironghati before you finally reach your destination, Gangotri.
Now that we have arrived at Gangotri after a tiring but equally enthralling 7 hours’ drive by road, let us explore this small town place by place to check out what captivating sights it has to offer. After that, we will embark on the journey towards Gaumukh.
For all those of us who have become used to the moribund everyday life wherein roads full of traffic and overcrowded marketplaces are cliché, the very spectacle of Surya Kund provides a refreshing boost to our inner being. Moreover, the volumes and volumes of water that flows down the rocky terrain of Surya Kund reminds man of the abundance in nature and that it is man’s narrow vision that seeks but a miniscule portion of that abundance for gratification of pursuits driven purely by the feeling of ‘I’.
The Gangotri Temple
Standing firm and tall at an altitude of 3,415 metres above sea level, the Gangotri Temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and as per Hindu mythology, Gangotri is the place on Earth where the Ganges River had descended from heaven, emanating out of the beautiful and mighty locks of Lord Shiva’s hair.
Surrounded by rocky mountains so gigantic that they instantly remind us of our insignificance before Mother Nature, Gangotri has in its vicinity the beautiful snow-clad Himalayas. The sights of the rugged terrains, the holy temple of Gangotri, the gushing water and the snow – laden Himalayas, all will together make you feel closer to God as well as to Mother Nature.
The Rocky Terrain Surrounding Gangotri
Since the road closes at Gangotri, it is the last point up to which vehicles ply. It, therefore, is the starting point of the challenging trek to Bhojbasa and Gaumukh.
Gangotri To Bhojbasa
A 14 km long trek full of narrow pathways and challenging routes along with plenty of scenic views that are more than enough to capture every man’s attention, the Gangotri – Bhojbasa route passes through Chirbasa.
The Trek To Bhojbasa Is Abound With Such Scenic Views
En-route, you will find a number of small streams of water, some intersecting and flowing through the trek route. If you are lucky enough, you might also get to see a species of deer that the locals call ‘Bharal’. Mostly found standing on high rocky terrain, the very sight of this beautiful species of deer is sure to make you grab your camera to shoot and capture them.
Do carry some eatables with you for this arduous trek but hey, remember not to litter around the wrappers of these eatables.
Amidst the mountainous terrain of the mighty Himalayas, Bhojbasa is a small valley spread out as plain land. It is a small dwelling where a couple of Ashrams have been built and is an ideal place for camping. In case you carried a tent with you and also had some ration / eatables, you may plan to halt here overnight and continue the trek to Gaumukh the next day. Camping overnight at Bhojbasa, when you have your dinner, do remember that you are dining in the lap of nature and therefore, it becomes imperative that you better maintain cleanliness there and be very cautious about not littering the wrappers around.
The snow-clad high peaks of Himalayas that are visible from Bhojbasa are surely a sight to behold.
Gaumukh is the second largest glacier of India. The name Gaumukh (formed from the union of the Hindi words ‘Gau’ meaning cow and ‘Mukh’ meaning face) literally means ‘(of the shape of) the face of a cow’. It is said that the snout of the glacier (the point from where river Ganga actually originates) was once of the shape of the face of a cow and hence the name Gaumukh. Although, owing to global warming and the consequent melting of the Gangotri glacier, Gaumukh no longer resembles the face of a cow. See the photographs of Gaumukh below and check out for yourself.
That finally brings us to the end of this exciting journey full of hilly roads, scenic views, rocky terrains and mountainous treks, all blended with a pinch of spirituality.