Gangotri to Gaumukh Trek
Gaumukh is the source of the Ganges. Gaumukh named so because it resembles the mouth of a cow, a holy deity for Hindus, is just 21km above Gangotri and is believed to be the origin of the River Ganga. The route to Gaumukh serves as an ideal trekking route for avid adventurers. The springs of the river Bhagirathi prevail here. The route is embedded with deodar, birchand the padma trees. 10km from Gangotri is Cheedvasa, a local market and 4km further
is the Bhojvasa camp.
A brief trek plan is below:
Day 1: Gangotri – Bhojbasa (average walking time 6 – 7 hours)
Past Gangotri, the trail crosses the temple on the right of the valley. A series of concrete steps just beyond the temple lead up to the main trail. The trail is well defined by stone markers every kilometre. At Rajaghat (3,250m), 4km down the trail, are a few dhabas serving tea and basic snacks. The present trail has been upgraded in the last 20 – 30 years. Beyond Rajaghat, the glacial valley begins to widen and just before Chirbasa, one can view the Bhagirathi peaks at the head of the valley.At Chirbasa (3,600m), 9km from Gangotri, dhabas line the trail. A campsite below the trail is located close to the river and can be used if trekkers are unable to reach Bhojbasa by nightfall Beyond Chirbasa, the trail passes the last silver birches, framing the Bhagirathi Range and the upper section of Shivling (6,543m). The trail gradually ascends the next 5km to Bhojbasa (a two-and-a-half hour climb). Once above the tree line, juniper bushes speckle the otherwise barren hillside. Just below Bhojbasa, an extensive field of boulders has to be traversed. Bhojbasa (3,790m) consists of a crowded GMVN hotel and a dharamshala recently destroyed by fire. A temple and a few camping spots mark the remaining area.
Day 2 – Bhojbasa to Gaumukh (average walking time of 2 hours to Gaumukh and 6 hours return to Gangotri)
The trek from Bhojbasa to Gaumukh involves a one-hour walk to the dhabas below Gaumukh. This is as far as the mules and porters travel. The trek to Gaumukh (3,890m) is another 2km through moraine and boulders deposited from previous landslides. The trail follows the riverbank for the last 500m to the source of the Ganges, where the river emerges abruptly from the glacier wall.Nandanvan and Tapovan are at a short distance from Bhojbasa. A 4km climb through the steep rocks leads to a very serene and peaceful Tapovan, situated on the Shivling peak. Nandanvan can be reached through a steep pass from Gaumukh. There are no
accommodation facilities at either spot. A route from Tapovan can lead to Vasukital, Kalindhikhal (5,590m) as well as Badrinath.
Scenic quality Monotonous till Chirbasa but has spectacular views of the Bhagirathi peaks
Location : Near Uttarkashi, Uttarkashi District, Garhwal Himalayas
Access: Road access is available till Gangotri, 99km from Uttarkashi best route :Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Bhairoghat – Gangotri.
Length: 21km trek from Gangotri to Gaumukh
Duration:3 days round trip
Altitude : 3,140m
Season : April – August
Difficulty : Grading Hard Grade I
Logistical support Porters and horses available at Lanka, a small village just above the Gangotri road head.
Local authority assistance Available through either the local Forest officials or dharamshalas.
Location Accommodation Eating facilities Gangotri TB, FRH D,Chirbasa C D,Bhojbasa TB,C D,Gaumukh C D