Ganga is revered by Hindus as the holiest river. It gushes out of Gangotri Glacier. This is the source of Bhagirathi River. At Devprayag it joins Alaknanda to form Ganga. The Holy Ganga travels a distance of 2,480 kms from Devprayag and falls into Bay of Bengal. Across Bhagirathi to the south, the snow laden slopes are swept up into a distinctive form of pyramid. This is Shivaling. At an eye-level, there is a little entrance to an icy cavern, the mouth of the glacier. This is Gaumukh. The glacier is crafted in colossal ice of whiteness defeating that of milk. It has some beautiful shades of green as well. Gangotri-Gaumukh trek takes you to the great heights of Himalayas making you discover the religious fervor there.
Ideal season to trek Gangotri-Gaumukh: It is from May to October.
Location of Gangotri-Gaumukh: It is located in north-eastern part of Uttarkashi district.
Before setting out from Gangotri, Bhagirathi River is worth viewing. It is a set order of the popular custom that you have to visit the Ganga Shrine half a kilometer up stream before you start to the pilgrim trail that runs above the temple and makes a beginning in the last stands of the forest at the edge of the road into the town. The trail hugs the river on its path from east to west. The forest rapidly thins out and you find yourself in the landscape, relieved by the stream below. The views of mountains, as if a picture set in frame is fabulous.
Make a start of this trail at Bhojbasa. It’ll be practical to do the half stage to Chirbasa. On both sides of the path, there are Dhabas which provide food, places and provisions to sleep. You can also go down the river to camp.
Day 2: Chirbasa-Bhojbasa
A picturesque view is offered by nature above Chirbasa. Walk to Bhojbasa is gentle. Camping at Bhojbasa gives splendid vistas of Bhagirathi Peaks.
Day 3: Bhojbasa-Gaumukh Tapovan
First few kilometers from Bhojbasa are comfortable. Then the terrain turns rocky as you descend to a sandy beach which is a nice camping place.
March to the Gaumukh’s foot and look up at Shivaling Peak. You approach the glacier, the path turns tentative. Leave Gaumukh before noon if you want to visit Tapovan. Ascend the glacier to its surface. Now March to the meadows at the base of Shivaling. This is Tapovan. You can camp here.
Day 4: Tapovan-Bhojbasa
It’s time to return now. Slope down till Gaumukh. If you have trekker’s legs, walk till Chirbasa. Spend a night there at the banks of Ganga. If you reach Chirbasa the next day, it will be convenient for you. You have to tread a little to Gangotri. Then drive to Uttarkashi.
Day 5: Bhojbasa-Gangotri
Start early from Bhojbasa in order to reach Gangotri by noon and then reach Uttarkashi before night falls.
Gangotri is thus the source which gives birth to the infant Ganga River. Gaumukh also, is a source of quenching thirst of religion. Their importance must be asked from the vast multitudes that are ardently religious and are drawn to their water for the satisfaction of their religious passion. Gangotri-Gaumukh trek takes you to the immense heights of the Northern Wall of India where religion resides in the snow.