Gangotri-Gaumukh Tapovan Trek
An eight day itinerary interspersing myth, spirituality, and sensational adventure, the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek takes you around the Gangotri glacier to the site traditionally believed to be mouth of the holy river Ganga.
The Gangotri glacial expanse is nearly 24 km long and 6 to 8 km wide, beginning from Gaumukh and extending as far as the Chaukhamba massif around Badrinath. Courtesy of celebrated mountaineers Shipton and Tilman, we have a trek route traversing the entire stretch of this storied land. After feasting our senses in the fleeting glacial hues and the immense backdrop of Mount Shivling, present in its entirety from the base to the serrated peak, we descend through the meadows of Tapovan back to Gangotri. The trek is verily a raging visual thrillfest with rising mountain behemoths such as the Bhagirathi twin peaks, and Mount Meru, besides the ever present Shivling.
The realization of magnificence on watching the river that gave birth and nourished an entire civilization emerge fitfully out of the Gaumukh snout to flow a 2,525 odd kilometers before meeting with the ocean, comes at a riveting spiritual moment. Trickling from Gangotri glacier through Gaumukh, meaning “cow’s mouth”, the river has a different name- Bhagirathi, and becomes the Ganga, the life vein of the northern plains of India only after flowing in with another headstream, Alakananda at Devaprayag- the key confluence point of Ganga before it pours into the plains. This illustrious geography has emerged from myths that imagine the river as intensely sacred. She was brought to earth from her celestial heights to renew the life of men by the rigorous dedication of a mortal, Bhagirath who gives the channel its name- Bhagirathi, and the river’s devastating energy was sustained by none other than Shiva himself.
The trek, in great parts veers beyond the tree line and passes through larger than life mountainscapes. We camp at rugged heights from where the snow transfused peaks are a stone’s throw away. Be it the surreal sight of the Bhagirathi peaks glistening in the moonlight, the mind numbing sight of the Shivling from Tapovan campsite, rising from the base to its zenith right before you, or a glimpse of the formidable Mount Meru, the bravura of visual ecstasies never seems to run out on this journey.
This trek is classified moderate-difficult for all the right reasons. You must come braced for an arduous hike along boulder ridden paths and ruthless climate. The holy men who are found living permanently in the meadows of Tapovan for sadhana under the gaze of Shivling can be the ones to draw your inspiration from!
Best Time to Visit
September – June is the best time to visit Gaumukh. The sacred site of Gaumukh, from where the glacier finally starts melting giving birth to the great river, is best visited from April to June and again from September to November. The winter months are too cold for a visit and rainfall makes transportation difficult during the monsoons, which only leaves the spring, summer and autumn months.
How to Reach
By Air :-
Jolly Grant Airport is the airport serving Dehradun, located about 25 km from the city. There is a daily flight from Delhi to Dehradun
By Train :-
Take the overnight train to Dehradun from Delhi
- Nandadevi Express – Train no: 12205 (Departure 11:50pm; Arrival – 5:40am)
- Dehradun Express – Train no: 12687 (Departure – 9:10pm; Arrival – 5:00am)
There is regular bus service from Delhi to Dehradun, from Delhis ISBT Kashmere Gate.
We would suggest you to take only government buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate. Private buses ply from outside ISBT and they are not trust worthiness.