gaumukh trek permit

This was the standard procedure followed in 2009 to get the trekking permit for Gaumukh.

Call, fax or send a letter to :

CHIEF WILDLIFE WARDEN , UTTARKHAND
5, CHANDRABANI
Mohabewala
DEHRADUN 248001
UTTARKHAND, INDIA

Fax: 0135-2644691

Note: If you need a guide the permit for him also must be obtained by you.

Collect the permit from:

DFO office
Tekla, Kotbangla road

( after entering Uttarkashi, it will take 20 mins ( approx 2-3 km ) to DFO office )

Show the permit and start trekking:

First you need to travel to Gangotri and make a halt there to acclimatize yourself to that height.
Gangotri is 3000m above sea level and Gaumukh is at 4000 m.
If you have a guide ( you have to add guide to your permit ) then they will guide you.
Otherwise the path to Gaumukh starts from a steep stairways about 50 m behind the main Gangotri temple.
After climbing those steps you will reach the main gate of the Gangotri National Park after a short hike.
The gate at gangotri national park opens at 6 a.m. Here your permit will be checked and you have to pay a nominal fee of 50rs/per person(check the latest fee structure) and then only you will be allowed in.
There is an additional charge for the local municipal tax which is also collected here.

Some more additional important FAQs:

  • Permit is required to visit Gaumukh :In order to control the number of people travelling on this ecologically sensitive area, the Govt. of India has introduced the permit system to allow only 150 people per month (earlier it was per day).
  • No refreshments: Before 2008 not only refreshments but even ponies were allowed to a certain extent.
    Today there is nothing on that 14 km trek to Bhojwasa, just you and the mountain. Water bottles and some food like dry fruits, biscuits are required.
  • Staying at Bhojwasa: There are two ashrams. Ram baba ashram and Lal baba ashram (GMVN was also there, but not sure whether they has reopened or not). Food options in these ashrams are limited. Hot tea is available in plenty.
  • Temperature at Gaumukh: During the summer when it opens is when most people travel to Gaumukh.For the trek, light woolens and good shoes are recommended.
    However once you reach Bhojwasa, the temperature drops dramatically during the evening
    and throughout the night (below zero degree) and its better to have heavy woolens / jackets in your backpack. The ashram provides blankets for overnight stayer.
  • No walking on snow: If you are going all the way to Gaumukh then no. But if you are a seasoned trekker and travelling beyond Gaumukh and on to Tapovan then please inquire before you proceed.
  • Can not go near Gaumukh glacier: There is a 500 m barrier put outside the main glacier approach so you can’t get any closer than that. This is not only to protect the glacier but for your own safety because huge chunks or pieces of the glacier breaks off occasionally.
  • Guide: If you have very less or no trekking experience, then please consider a guide. However there is absolutely no way you will lose your way. There is only one path that leads to Bhojwasa.
  • Acclimatization is required: People living in the plains not habituated to the Himalayan heights often experience mountain sickness. It takes some time for the body to adjust which is called acclimatization and at least one day (staying at Gangotri) is recommended.
  • Trekking route: Gangotri – Chirbhasa : 8 km
    Chirbhasa – Bhojwas – 6 km
    Bhojwasa – Gaumukh – 4km
  • At least 6 hours for a good trekker. Can go upto 8 to 10 hours depending on your experience.
  • Condition of trekking route: Well this is the Himalayan range isn’t it ! and the path to Gaumukh is cut through these range. Its rocky in some places, very narrow and steep too.
    Carry a trekking stick with you which you can buy in Gangotri.


Read our trekking experiences at Gangotri – Gaumukh trek and check out other travels in Uttarakhand

If you have any latest travel related news pertinent to these regions, do let us know, through comment section, it will help us to keep this post updated and for the benefits of other travellers too. Any latest news will be highly appreciated

haridwar

Continuing from our previous trip to

Rishikesh – Gangotri – Gaumukh trek

Shri Kedarnath temple

Chopta and Tungnath

Badrinath – Joshimath – Auli

{Day14}: 8th June 2009
From: Joshimath-Haridwar
By: By road
Distance: 270km / 8-9 hrs

Next morning we left for Haridwar in a private Taxi (there is a taxi association in Joshimath and they charge flat 3500rs for Haridwar).

As we begin to retreat gradually from Garhwal Himalayas leaving behind the snow-capped mountains, deep river gorges, the meadows, the dense forest and speeding along the serpentine roads, we crosses the prayags starting from Nandaprayag, then Karnaprayag followed by Rudraprayag and finally Devprayag. Henceforth the river is known as Ganga-the lifeline of India.

We reached Haridwar in the afternoon and boarded at hotel Alpana (pre-booked) on Ram Ghat.

Haridwar or ‘Gateway to God’ is one of the seven sacred cities lying in the Shivalik foothills is located on the right bank of river Ganga. Legends state that king Bhagirath brought the river Ganga from the heaven to earth by performing penance here.
It is also famous for the kumbh and ardh-kumbh mela that are held once in every 12 and 6 years respectively.

har ki pauri haridwar

Har ki Pauri @ Haridwar

Har-ki-Pauri also known as, ‘Bhramakund’ is the focal point of Haridwar where thousands of devotees gather to take a holy dip. King Vikramaditya built this sacred ghat in memory of his brother Bhratrihari. According to Hindu Mythology, this is the site where drops of the elixir or ‘Amrit’, obtained after ‘Samudra-manthan’ spilled over from the pitcher in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda.

The evening Ganga aarti is a truly enchanting experience as large number of diyas (lamps) being offered to Mother Ganga accompanied with devotional songs and prayers.

haridwar

Evening Ganga arti @ Haridwar

The main shopping centers in Haridwar are Moti bazaar, Upper Road and Jwalapur. One can also check out the Government Handloom and Handicrafts Emporiums that offers a range of handicraft decorative pieces, intricately carved stone idols and fashion accessories. There are number of eateries scattered around in Haridwar, but do check the Hoshiyarpuriwalas and popular Chotiwalas on Subhash ghat. In addition, if you have a sweet tooth then does not forget to buy Mathura das ke Peda on Ram ghat.

Among the other attractions in Haridwar are Rajaji National Park (10km), Maya Devi temple, Mansa devi temple, Saptarishi ashram, Shanti kunj, canal centenary bridge (offering a panoramic view of Ghats and Ganga canal) etc.

{Day15}: 9th June 2009
From: Haridwar-Delhi-Bangalore
By: Train (2018A Jan-Shatabdi express) and
By: Air

Distance: 4hrs 30 mins(train) and 2hrs 30 mins (flight).

We caught an early morning Jan-Shatabdi express to Delhi, reached there in the afternoon, took a taxi to the airport and waited there for the Jetlite flight to Bangalore.

As we headed back to our daily life, leaving behind the majestic mountains, the jungles, gorgeous rivers, the blue hills, the streams, the temples, the ghats, the people…..the past few days seemed to have been from another dream world.

We smiled at each other….knowingly that the journey never ends…only the destination changes…it is in fact the continuum of infinite number of steps…with short breaks in between…before venturing out again…..in search of the unknown.

 

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badrinath, joshimath and auli

Continuing from our previous trip to

Rishikesh – Gangotri – Gaumukh trek

Shri Kedarnath temple

Chopta and Tungnath

{Day11}: 5thJune 2009
From: Gopeshwar to Badrinath
By: Road
Distance: about 70-80km

Gopeshwar is situated amidst mountain ranges, terrace farms and small lakes. The town has some good temples and main attractions are the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vaitarni kund and Oak view.

From Gopeshwar the route leads through Chamoli-Pipalkoti-Helang-Joshimath and somewhere between Govindghat and Pandukeshwar, the route bifurcate and one leads to Badrinath and the other to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of flowers.

Without much traffic hassles we reached Badrinath around noon and had a comfortable stay at Bharat Seva Ashram, arranged by GMVN. This gives us an unobstructed view of Badrinath temple And the Neelkanth peak.

Badrinath is one of the important pilgrim centers, the opening date of the temple this year is 29 th April 2012  and is flanked by Nar-Narayan Mountain ranges. The beautiful and colorful temple of Badrinathji is on the banks of river Alkananda, established by Adi Shankaracharya and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Neelkanth peak forms a splendid backdrop and opposite to the temple is holy hot water spring or Tapt kund. The temple opens every year in the month of Apr-May and closes for winters in the third week of November.

badrinath temple

Badrinath temple, Uttarakhand

The colorful temple, the majestic Neelkanth, snow-capped mountains, dense forest, the river, ashrams, eateries, towering rocky slopes painted the town in to a colorful mosaic.

After lunch, we had a darshan of Badrinathji and from there off to Mana village.

Mana village is located 2-3 km from Badrinath and is the last habitable village on the Indian-Tibetan border. I was told that Tibet border is some 45km from there.

mana village

a beautiful shot from Mana village, Uttarakhand

The main attractions are Vyas gufa (where it is believed that Rishi Ved Vyas narrated the epic Mahabharata), Ganesh Gufa, Bhim pul and Keshav Prayag.

Keshav prayag is on the confluence of river Alkananda (emerging from Alkapuri glacier) and the legendary Saraswati river which flows for some hundred meters before meeting with alkananda and from there again goes underground.

keshav prayag

Keshav prayag : Confluence of river Alkananda and legendary river Saraswati

The cascading Vasudhara falls is 5km from mana village and beyond that is beautiful and pristine Satopanth Lake (approx.25km from Badrinath) and breathtaking Swargorihini mountain ranges.

The moment seems to be freeze forever as we were completely immersed in the immense beauty of the nature and we know that someday we will return here for Satopanth Lake and Swargarohini peaks. Just then, to my right the mist unveils the ‘path to heaven’! I gasped at this heavenly beauty and let my spirit travels to the unknown..

mana village

"road to heaven" mana village, Uttarakhand

{Day12}: 6th June 2009
From: Badrinath to Joshimath
By: By road
Distance: 45km (3 to 4 hrs because of traffic congestion)

We woke up with the first ray of dawn in the next morning. The Neelkanth looks splendid against the azure blue sky and were caught in its magical aura as we observed its changing color with every ray of light adding to its beauty.

neelkanth peak

the majestic Neelkanth peak , Uttarakhand

The morning temple bells, the sounds of hymns and bhajans, roar of river Alkananda, flocks of pilgrims, the small queues of darshanarthis, the sadhus , the solitary soul, the chirping of birds…..and with it’s the town came into the full life. After having breakfast we left Badrinath and after three hours of traffic congestion reached Joshimath around 3:00pm in the afternoon. While coming down we crossed Vishnu Prayag, which is the confluence of river Alkananda and the Dhauli Ganga.

At Joshimath, we boarded at hotel Dronagiri (pre-booked) which gives us a spectacular view of Dronagiri peak, the mountains and gorges.

Joshimath is the important temple town and is the winter home for Lord Badrinarayan. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya gained enlightenment here. The main attractions are Narsingh and Garuda temple, Shankaracharya math and Amar kalp tree.

dronagiri

Dronagiri peaks, Uttarakhand

{Day13}: 7th June 2008
From: Joshimath-Auli-Joshimath
By: By ropeway

The next morning we left our luggage at the hotel and started for Auli.

Auli is an important ski destination in the Himalayan Mountains of Garhwal region and is also known as excellent winter games resort. Auli is blessed with a breathtaking panoramic view of the lofty peaks of the great mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana etc.

auli

Auli, Uttarakhand

We headed off to the lower cable car station, booked our return tickets (500rs per person), and waited for our turn.
The frequency of the cable car is at every one-hour interval. We aboard the cable car along Joshimath-Auli-Gorson ropeway, which lifts us from Joshimath at 1100m to Gorson at 3016m covering the distance of 4km in 15 minutes. To the left Himalaya unfolds its beauty gradually and the view changes with every one meter of climb.

However, this is not the right season to visit Auli but its green alpine meadows with patches of flowerbeds are quiet impressive. In winter, these meadows are covered with ice sheets making it proper for games like ski.

A word of advice: It’s not necessary to stay at Joshimath to visit Auli, It can be done on same day by travelling in-car all the way to Auli if you are in hurry.
The splendid view from Auli which is primarily a winter destination is not to be missed.

 

Follow our next trip to Haridwar

 

If you have any latest travel related news pertinent to these regions, do let us know, through comment section, it will help us to keep this post updated and for the benefits of other travellers too. Any latest news will be highly appreciated.

chopta and tungnath

Continuing from our previous trip to

Rishikesh – Gangotri – Gaumukh trek and

to Sri Kedarnath temple

{Day 10}: 4th June 2009
From: Chandrapuri-Ukhimath-Chopta-Tungnath-Gopeshwar
By: Road and Trek
Distance: 40km/2hrs (Ukhimath) and 27km (Chopta) and 12km (Gopeshwar)
Chopta-Tungnath: 3km trek

It rained last night, so the clouds still gloom over the morning sky, but we really need a clear sky so that we can enjoy the semi-circle view of mighty Chaukhamba from Tungnath. But, they say morning shows the day!

On the way to Chopta that is roughly 4 hr from Chandrapuri, we had a very short break at Ukhimath.
Ukhimath is winter residence of Lord Kedarnath and has a very beautiful Panch kedar temple.

panch kedar temple ukhimath

Beautiful panch kedar temple @ Ukhimath

Deoria Tal is located at Chopta-Ukhimath road and is 2km trek from Sari. The nearby Chaukhamba peak is reflected on the waters of the lake creating a beautiful sight.

A long drive of 27km (may take 2hrs because of narrow roads) on curvy roads amidst dense oak forests from Ukhimath leads us to Chopta. The steep climb meandered its way through thick forests filled with deciduous trees, ferns, lichens and moss.

Chopta is one of the jewels in the crown of entire Garhwal region. Lofty snow-capped peaks surround this beautiful and pristine Himalayan hamlet with alpine meadows and dense forest. It is aptly called as mini Switzerland!

chopta

Hills and meadows of Chopta

The trek to Tungnath starts from Chopta. Sturdy ponies are also available for old people and children.

Tungnath is 3km from Chopta but the entire gravelly path is highly steep almost cutting at 45 degree. This makes the climb difficult and strenuous. We took almost five hrs because of my injury but on an average, one can reach there within 3-4hrs.
The entire trek path is through the thick forest, beautifully laid amidst the alpine meadows with patches of flowerbeds at places and one can enjoy the awe-inspiring view of Himalayas.

chopta tungnath

A very scenic shot from Tungnath

However, as the luck could have been, there was no trace of any peaks in the distance. The entire region was thickly covered in the mist. When we reached Tungnath, it starts drizzling.

Tungnath is among one of the five most sacred Shiva temples that forms Panch Kedar. The temple nestles at an altitude of about 4000m, which makes it the highest Shiva shrine among the Panch kedars.

Chandrashila is another 2km trek from Tungnath.
After taking a break for one hour, we decide to descend down to Chopta.

While going down we caught in between the heavy showers and have to take shelter in the tea stalls. When it rains it, also lift and moves the clouds away. Finally, we have some glimpses of Chaukhambas and that makes our day.

chaukhamba peaks

The majestic Chaukhamba peaks

Down in Chopta, we had some aloo ke paratha and magi and quickly started to Gopeshwar before darkness sets in.
Gopeshwar is a busy town and GMVN’s hotel is in the middle of the market.

A word of advice: Travel Light for your trekking. Refreshments are available on the way.

 

Follow our next trip to Badrinath and Auli

 

If you have any latest travel related news pertinent to these regions, do let us know, through comment section, it will help us to keep this post updated and for the benefits of other travellers too. Any latest news will be highly appreciated.

kedarnath

Updates – WHEN WILL INDIA LEARN ???

In India we do everything in a very unscientific way. We construct dams right on the fault planes (geologist and structural engineers were never consulted), our cities and towns were never planned properly, and then when disaster stikes, we blame everyone from GOV to GOD in the process. Exactly four years back we make a trip to uttarkhand, been to Kedarnath and Gaumukh and have seen most dreadful pollution there. Imagine 80% of the hill slopes were covered by the garbage dump !
This was a disaster waiting to be happened for so long. Dont think ever that this is natural calamity. This is Pure Man Made.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.

Continuing from our previous Rishikesh to Gangotri – Gaumukh trek

{Day 7}: 1stJune 2009
From: Uttarkashi to Rampur
By: Road
Distance: 265km (11 hrs) via Shrinagar

The town of Uttarkashi is set on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1150m and considered to have similar importance as that of Kashi. Most of the terrain is mountainous with ridges, hills, dense forest and the valleys and slopes of the hills contain sparsely populated hamlets interspersed with terrace cultivation.

Uttarkashi is known for its religious significance as it has a temple of Lord Vishwanath dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a unique Shiva’s trident (mahadev ka trishul) made of ashtadhatu (eight major metals). It is flank by temples of Durga and Hanuman. Other important temples are of Ekadash Rudra and Parshuram.

Among other tourist attractions in Uttarkashi, one can explore the Dodital (16km), Sat-tal (2km from Harsil), Nachiketa Tal (29km) and Dayara Bugyal (32km), which are beautiful lakes on the lap of Himalaya Mountains and surrounded by majestic oaks and deodar trees.

The route to Rudraprayag from Uttarkashi usually goes through Srinagar but we took a different route not by choice but by mistake. It was through Bhaldiana-Lambgaon-Ghansyali-Chirbatiya and finally joining Tilwara in the main route. The roads are well-maintained but climbs are very steep with hairpin bends. From Tilwara the route goes through Siyalsur-Agastyamuni-Guptkashi-Phata and then to Rampur.

Agastyamuni and Phata are the two places from where helicopter services to Kedarnath temple are being operated. Charges are 7000-8000rs and 3000-4000rs respectively for a round trip and that includes special darshan and stay. One can also approach GMVN for the booking.

A word of advice: Make sure you follow the right route to reach earlier. Because of our longer route we reached Rampur very late.

{Day8}: 2ndJune 2009
From: Rampur to Gaurikund to Kedarnath
By: Road and by pony
Distance: 5 Kms to Gaurikund and 14 kms to Kedarnath.

Next morning we kept the luggage at Rampur, started for Kedarnath, and were lucky enough to catch the 9:30am gate. When we reached Gaurikund, the vast sea of humanity paralyzed me.

Kedarnath

View of Kedar peaks from Rampur

The 14 km stone laid trail to Kedarnath temple was deadly polluted and since it rained last night so it was all wet, slippery and stinking. There was no fixed rate for ponies; they were charging anything between 500-1000rs. After much negotiation, we started on our respective ponies for the Kedarnathji and after climbing 2-3 km the first sight of Kedar dome standing majestically, beaming in the morning sun was mesmerizing. One cannot ask for anything more.

After reaching 7km, there was a short break not for us but for the ponies! My knees were badly bruised and I could not stand on my own. Somehow managed to make my way to a nearest tea stall, had some aloo ke paratha and later decided not to mount the pony again. Rest 7km I trek through the thick crowd and finally reunited with my family at 4.00pm.

kedarnath

View of Higher Himalayas from Kedarnath

It was already late, so we could not consider going to Chorabari glacier (3-4km) (from where river Mandakini emerges) and Chorabari Tal (a glacial lake with floating ice on the crystal clear water) or Gandhi Sarovar (2km). I wish I could have one more buffer day with me.

The 8th century Kedarnath temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya and is magnificent in its style and architecture. The stark grey stone structured temple surrounded by snow-capped peaks with Kedar dome in its backdrop is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
The jyotirlinga in the sanctum resembles a hump of a bull and the mandap walls adorned with idols of five Pandavas and Draupadi.

Kedarnath temple

Shrine @ Kedarnath

The shrine closes for the winters on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens on Vaisakh (Apr-May) on the day of Akshay Tritiya, this year it is on 24 th April 2012.

The Shankaracharya Samadhi is located just behind the temple.

Shankaracharya samadhi

Shankaracharya samadhi @ Kedarnath

In the evening, we had a darshan of Lord Kedarnath after standing for two hours in the ice-cold ground. The temple closes at 8:00 pm and reopens at 6:00am in the morning.

A word of advice: Again as in most places in uttarkhand , there is the concept of “Gate”. These open up traffic in one way directions to enable smooth flow. It’s important to leave early to catch the early traffic gate from Rampur.
Once in Gaurikund be careful in choosing your mode of transport to Kedarnath ! Well you have three options really : walk, by horse, or by chair. If you are using a horse , please choose one carefully. The horses here are not too well treated and not in good shape either. If the roads had been in better shape , walking would really have been the ideal choice. Also because of the slippery roads , I have seen many a fall of horse and rider !
Insist on a folded blanket/cushion to sit on the horse, to soften your horse ride. Riding 4 hours on the saddle is not for everyone !
Food : Food choice are very limited and poor quality.
Stay : There are plenty of guest houses , often organized by different States , which offer other food choices to the traveler.
Camera : Keep your camera handy for any occasion. During the summer months the mountains can get very shy and peek out of the clouds once in a while. If you miss an opportunity to click you may not get it again !

kedarnath

Standing in queue for the Lord’s Darshan surrounded by majestic peaks

{Day 9}: 3rd June 2009
From: Kedarnath to Chandrapuri
By: Pony and by Road
Distance: 14 km (Gaurikund) and 55 km (3 hrs)

Next morning after performing puja at the temple, we descend down to Gaurikund after a bit hassle. Gaurikund is the last bus station on kedarnath route. The hot water pond and the Gauri temple are important here.

From Gaurikund we boarded on a shared jeep, which dropped us at Sonprayag where all the vehicles were parked.
SonPrayag is  the confluence of river Basuki and Mandakini and is 5km from Gaurikund.

From Sonprayag, Trijuginarayan is 13km on the path that connects Ghuttu to kedarnath. A magnificent temple of Lord Vishnu is here and is believed to be the site of Lord Shiva and Parvati’s marriage, the eternal flame around which marriage was solemnized still burns here through the three yugs or ages, hence Trijuginarayan.

Around 5:00 pm, we start for Rampur, picked our luggage and off to Chandrapuri. The GMVN’s cottage at Chandrapuri is very well placed on the bank of Mandakini and from where one can enjoy the views of snow-capped mountains at a distant.

Chandrapuri

View of Kedar peaks from Chandrapuri

A word of advice: Most Mobile networks do not work in and around this place.
Not advisable to carry ALL your luggage with you to Kedarnath. Plan on leaving the heavy ones with your hotel in Rampur or wherever you stayed at the foothills of Kedar.

 

Follow our next trip to Chopta and Tungnath

 

If you have any latest travel related news pertinent to these regions, do let us know, through comment section, it will help us to keep this post updated and for the benefits of other travellers too. Any latest news will be highly appreciated.