Located amidst the pristine valleys of the beautiful Indian state of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, the Hemkund Sahib area, also known as Gurudwara Shri Hemkunt Sahib, is one of the prime locations for the tourists to visit. The gurudwara is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who happens to known as one of the ten Sikh Gurus. It is the highest and the greatest Gurudwara of the Sikh community, located right on the shores of the prestigious lake.
The weather changes quite rapidly at the place and almost every season is great to have a trip to the place. The highlights of the place are its waterfalls, deep forests, the crystal clear and an amazing view of the Himalayas. Any time a year is perfect to have a visit to the place but the season from June to October is generally considered the perfect one to do so.
How to reach?
The nearest railway station is the Rishikesh railway station which is situated 273 km before Govindghat on NH8. Taxis and buses can be availed from Rishikesh to Govindghat. Jolly Grand Airport happens to be the nearest airport to Hemkund Sahib but the roads are only connected up to Govindghat from where you will have to begin the trek.
Govindghat is the starting point of the trek to Hemkund Sahib and it well connected by motorable roads. The trek from Govindghat to Ghangharia is a steep one and covers 13 km. The remaining 6 km route is the steepest and can be the toughest one to travel.
After having a visit to the beautiful lake and the Gurudwara, you may feel the need to explore some places nearby.
Places to see
Ghangaria- On the long trek to Shri Hemkund Sahib, Ghangaria is the last stop where the traces of civilization exist. Located at an altitude of about 3000 meters above the sea level, Ghangaria is a beautiful place for sightseeing and for taking a few hours rest before you continue the journey to Hemkund Sahib. The trek up to this point is the toughest one. The region remains open from May to October and closed afterward due to the heavy snowfall that keeps occurring in here.
Valley of Flowers- Valley of flowers is a beautiful paradise situated at a 4 kms trek from Ghangaria. Also a reputed world heritage site, the valley of flowers is a must visit place on your way and purely a botanist’s delight. The entire valley is a valley of rare flowers and generally a rug of colors – green, yellow, red, blue etc. The entry ticket to the valley is 150 INR per person (for Indians) and 600 INR per person (for foreigners) and valid for 3 days entry. Whereas still cameras and movie/video cameras are free to carry, charges apply for professional video camera charges, that is 500 INR for Indians and 1500 INR for foreign nationals. The opening time of the valley is 6 am.
Please note that one should not litter anywhere in the valley and it is advisable to
carry some food from Ghangaria as you won’t get anything to eat up there.
A simple meal, comprising of Khichdi(rice dish) and tea is served here to all the pilgrimage, as a part of the langar. In case if you do not want to opt for this it is highly advisable to carry your own food and eatables as you will not find any restaurants there.
No visitor is allowed to stay overnight at gurudwara except the caretakers of the place, hence one needs to come back to Ghangaria for a night stay.
Places to stay at Ghangaria
A few options for a good and comfortable stay are Hotel Deepak Lodge, Valley of Flowers Holiday Home, Hotel Kuber Annex, Sarovar Portico Badrinath and Hotel Narayan Palace.
Hemkund other than a beautiful valley full of amazing landscapes and breathtaking visuals also happens to be a sacred place for the Sikhs, especially from northern India. The virgin beauty of the place is indeed reminiscent of the beautiful country we are living in.