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This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to slow traveler, mountain lover and YouTuber, Chandan Prakash!
Today's destination: Gomukh and Tapovan Trek, Uttarakhand!
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, DED
Nearest Railway Station: Dehradoon Railway Station, DDN
Prerequisites - Permit will be required for the trek
Packing - Warm clothes, medication, good shoes and trekking gear
Time of the year - October - November for the Autumn trek
Length of the itinerary: 3-5 days
- The trip starts off from Gangotri, a small pilgrimage town and one of the Chardham's in HIndu religion.
- Make sure you spend 1-2 days in Gangotri, acclimatizing and making sure your body is getting used to the higher altitude.
- Gangotri is also religiously very significant place as it is believed that the Ganges was brought down to the earth from the heavens at this point. There is Ganga temple as well as Suryakund which you can visit during your stay here. The Ganga Aarti also happens on the ghats.
- Once you have acclimatized in Gangotri, the trek begins with the first stop being at Chirbasa - this is small stopover and has beautiful views surrounded by pine trees. The permits are checked before you reach Chirbasa
- From here, continue trekking towards the camp site of Bhojbasa as this is the only place to halt overnight before your ascent towards Gomukh glacier. There are 2-3 options for staying GMVN property being one of them, along with a couple of ashrams.
- AMS can be a factor as you make the ascent, make sure to take breaks and stay an extra day if you have any symptoms.
- After the overnight stay at Bhojbasa, start your ascent towards the Gomukh glacier. Gomukh glacier is the source of the river Ganga (River Bhageerathi at this point). The glacier's snout is in the form of a cow's head and is considered holy for Hindus.
- One has to cross the glacier in order to continue the trek towards Tapovan - but crossing the glacier is a tricky situation as the glacier has crevasses in several places and has been receding at a fast pace due to climate change. It is preferred to have a guide/porter for the journey.
- The trek from Gomukh to Tapovan is the hardest stretch, even though it is a short distance. One gains significant height and has to deal with some technical sections and crossing a river stream (Akashganga) during the ascent.
- Once you have crossed the river and made the ascent, you reach Tapovan - our destination and campsite for the next 1-2days. Tapovan is a flat land that is surrounded by some majestic peaks, including the Shivaling peak, Bhagirathi peaks (1,2,3). There are other peaks in the vicinity that one can view as well from the camp site.
- There Tapovan meads are full of wildflowers and sometime mountain goats, along with the stunning views of the peaks. The place also has a lot of lore and legends attached to it!
- One can indulge in some stunning photography of the surroundings as well as the night skies, weather permitting.
- There are a couple of babas who have small huts where one can lodge for the stay. One can also camp here if you are traveling with a travel company. Start your journey back after enjoying the stay here for 1-2 days!
Chandan's Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ9C6G3Cv4_fcIVb6iAKuuQ
Gomukh and Tapovan trek video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNXr76uEZ28
Image credits: Chandan Prakash
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