Best Time to visit : Mid April - June / Sep / Oct
Duration : 20 Days / 19 Nights
Destinations Covered : Delhi - Rishikesh - Uttarkashi - Gangotri - Gaumukh - Nandanvan - Tapovan - Dharali - Delhi
Day 01: ARRIVE DELHI
Meeting & assistance on arrival at Delhi Airport followed by transfer to Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02: DELHI/HARIDWAR
Commence drive for Haridwar 05 hours, through the heart of the Gangetic plains passing through numerous small town and villages. The entire drive is dotted with Sugarcane plantations and other season crops. Haridwar as the name goes means "Gateway to Gods". Har means God & Dwar means Gate. Haridwar, is located 220 kms North of Delhi and is referred as the Mecca for Hindus. It is one of the most important destinations for the Hindus, who form the major part for the 980 Million Indians. Haridwar is situated on the banks of the Holy River Ganges dotted with Ancient Temples and Ashrams. Here people from all over India converge all year round to take the Holy Dip in the pure water of Mother Ganges, as per the belief all sins are washed away one you have taken a dip in the Cold Waters of Ganga here. Haridwar, is starting point for the Holy Pilgrimage to the Four Temples spread across Garhwal Himalayas. On arrival in Haridwar check into Tourist Bunglow /Hotel. Late afternoon is spent visiting various temples and ashrams and walking down the colorful markets.
Evening we converge at Har Ki Pauri to witness the Spectacular Evening prayer on the Banks of the Ganges. All the temples in the vicinity come alive with the evening prayer and as you see hundreds of Hindus line up to watch and be part of this prayer and as well one sees Basket of flowers in the shapes of small boat with burning candles in hundreds flowing down the river. It is one of the most remarkable sights to be ever seen in this part of India. Return to Hotel for Dinner & Overnight.
Day 03: HARIDWAR/UTTARKASHI/GANGOTRI
A very early start for Gangotri nearly 11 hours, The road quickly leaves the plains and winds its way through the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas to reach the ancient capital of Garhwal called "TEHRI". From here on we follow the Bhagirathi river through amazing countryside dotted with Typical Garhwali villages all along the route. We arrive in Uttarkashi for Lunch, an important town of this area mostly serving to Indian pilgrims. From Uttarkashi the roads climb rather quickly and steeply over several hairpin bends and the roaring Bhagirathi river always giving you company. Gangotri (3140m), with its famous Goddess Ganga Temple is inhabited during the summer months. It is surrounded by wonderful slopes covered in Deodar and fir trees. Above the slopes are dramatic rock walls, It lies about 278 kms from Haridwar and reverberates with chants and prayers of Hindu devotees from dawn to dusk. A boulder marks the spot where King Bhagirath beseeched the Goddess Ganga to descent to earth. An ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess rises just above the river. Arriving late in the evening and transfer straight to the Tourist Bungalow. Dinner & Overnight.
Day 04: GANGOTRI/BHUJBASSA
Begin Trek to the Source of the Ganges for the nights camp at Bhujbassa (3875m) 05 hours, and follow a well defined trail of this pilgrimage route to the Gangotri Glacier. All along the trail the roaring river stays to our right and we are always shadowed by mighty Snow covered peaks all through the days walk. Enroute we stop for Lunch at Chirbassa, where small tea shops emerge during the summers to provide respite and some fresh drinks to Trekkers. Chirbassa, was once a heavily forested area of Chir Tree (Local tree) and with the passage of time only a few remain. From here we cross a section of loose boulders till de descent to Bhujbassa, which by its name was a forest of Bhuj trees, on the bark of which all Hindu manuscripts used to be written in the earlier times. Nothing remain of this holy tree and is now dotted with a Tourist Bungalow and as Ashram run by a Baba. On arrival camp is set for overnight. Late afternoon to explore and enjoy the beauty of this heavenly place. Meals & Overnight in Camp.
Day 05: BHJUBASSA/GAUMUKH/TAPOVAN
Leaving the tree line behind we walk towards Gaumukh or "Cow's Mouth", where we see the first origination the Mother Ganga gushing out of the huge Gangotri Glacier. This part of the walk takes about 01 hour. Gaumukh, is a unique sight in itself as you see holy men and pilgrims praying and taking a holy dip in the Ice-cold Glacial waters of the Ganges right at the snout of the Glacier, here the Holy Ganges is in its purest form…..Over an hour spend here to experience the faith of the Hindu devotees towards the Holy Ganges and is yet another incredible sight to see during this trip. From here on the path climbs from the right on to the Gangotri Glacier which is full of loose rocks & boulders.
The last bit of climb to Tapovan (4,500m) is very steep and quite demanding with the beautiful mountains hovering over you all the time. Tapovan is a high mountain meadow set at the foot of the mighty Shivling peak. Afternoon at leisure. Meals & Overnight at camp 04 hours.
Day 06: TAPOVAN
Day Free to explore and to discover this beautiful meadow, where numerous Sadhus meditate in the Hidden caves. Meals & Overnight in Camp.
Day 07: TAPOVAN/GANGOTRI
After an early breakfast begin the long return back to Gangotri 06 - 07 hours, we retrace our footsteps back . Arriving in Gangotri by late afternoon, rest of the day is spend by visiting some Ashrams and the famous Photo Baba. Meals & Overnight at Tourist Bunglow.
Day 08: GANGOTRI/LATA/BELAK
An early start as we mount back our vehicles to be drive down about 72 kms to a small village Called Lata, from where we begin our second part of the Trek, which runs along the Old Pilgrimage Trail to Kedarnath. This pilgrimage trail was used very regularly by the Hindu devotees during the times when roads didn't exist and people used to do visit all the Four Holy temples on foot. The Trek from here to Belak (2,439m) takes 05 - 06 hours and is over a well laid out path passing through thick forests. The path climbs gradually into a side valley with trees of Oak, Pine , Fir and Rhododendrons lining the entire path. Belak, is a high Mountain meadow with summer settlements of villagers from the valley who move up with their cattle for grazing. Arriving at Belak by late afternoon. Camp is set here for the night. In the evening explore this beautiful meadow and as well mix with the villagers in their small huts. Meals & Overnight at camp.
Day 09: BELAK/BUDHAKEDAR
The day's walk is over well laid out path which descends gradually to Jhala Chatti, where one can stop at a local Tea Shop for refreshments. From here, an hour's walk over an alomst level path gets you to the village of Budhakedar(1,524M) 05 HOURS, an important place in Garhwal which houses the Old Temple of KEDAR (SHIVA). The people of this village are mostly farmers. In the evening visit the Temple for a special prayer ceremony. Later visit the village which has some of the most traditional houses from this part of Garhwal. Meals & Overnight in camp.
Day 10: BUDHAKEDAR/ BHAIRONCHATTI
Commence days walk to Bhaironchatti (2580m) 05 hours, the first one hour of the walk takes you to the beautiful village of Benakhal, situated at the top of a hill, with another impressive temple. This part of the walk is through pine forest and climbs gradually to Benakhal. From here the walk is almost level through a number of villages, which give us an insight into the way of life of these mountain people. The last one hour of steep climbing through a forest of Rhododendrons gets you to the beautiful high meadow of Bhaironchatti where camp is set for the might. This meadow has a local village temple which is dedicated to the Hindu God Bhairon, where newly weds from the nearby villages come to take blessings of the Gods for a long and happy married life. The couples tie a bell at the door of the temple as their offering to the God. The views of the mountains from this high meadow are breathtaking and on a clear day one can see snowy peaks of the distant Himalayas. Evening is spent around a bonfire. Meals and overnight at camp.
Day 11: BHAIRONCHATTI/GHUTTU
Start the day's walk to Ghutta (1,590m) 05 hours, with a Two hour descent through a Pine Forest, over a well laid out path. Enroute visit a Sheep and a rabbit farm fun by the Government, the villagers we pass are quite interesting and dotted with temples. Enroute we stop near a Fresh water stream for a quick wash or a swim as our staff prepares a nice hot lunch. Continue from here for another Hour walk over the road to reach Ghuttu, a small village very popular with Trekkers and pilgrims some of whom still use this route to go to Kedarnath. Evening visit the temple which another very old temple and also has an Ashram's for the pilgrims. Meals & Overnight in the Tourist Bungalow.
Day 12: GHUTTU/PANWALI
Start early for the long climb to Panwali (3,963 m) 08 hours, another high mountain meadow from where you get magnificent panoramic views of the entire Garhwal Himalayas including Gangotri I, II, III, Kedarnath, Kedardome, Chaukhamba, Trisul, Kamet, Nanda Devi and many other peaks. The walk is over a well laid out path through a very thick forest climbing gradually. Panwali, is also the summer settlement of Gujjars, a Muslim tribe which wanders from place to place with its cattle stock. These Tribes build temporary huts using Bamboo from the forest, and they abandon them when they start moving down to the plains at the outset of winter. They sell their milk and Butter to the people and the valley and make daily trips to Ghuttu and back to sell their milk… quite an amazing feet. Enroute we stop for lunch near a small clearing. From here on the Top of the Panwali pass is about one more hour. Once on Top of the pass is like entering a paradise…. From the Top of the pass the path descends to the small Panwali summer settlement of villagers huts and a small Ashram meant for the pilgrims. Meals & Overnight at camp.
Day 13: PANWALI
Day at leisure to explore this heavily place and to visit a Gujjar family. Meals & overnight at camp.
Day 14: PANWALI/TRIUGINARAIN
Start early for the Temple village of Triuginarain (1,982m) 07 - 08 hours, where as per Hindu mythology, SHIVA got married to PARVATI.. Some villagers here claim to be the descendants of the priests who performed the marriage ritual of Shiva & Parvati!!!! The village houses an ancient temple where the marriage took place and is an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus who visit this temple from all over the country, Even the marriage fire still burns in the temple and it is has been so for the last so many centuries, the ashes from this fire are taken as Prasad(holy offerings) to their native place and married Hindu women apply same between their forehead as a blessing for a long and happy married life. An ashram has been recently built for the convenience of the pilgrims.
The first half hour of the walk is through a forest of rhododendrons descending gradually. From here on the walk is over the long Panwali ridge, with several ascents & descents, offers panoramic views on either side and is an experience in itself. At the end of the ridge the path descends steeply to MAGGU KI CHATTI, an abandoned village which was used by pilgrims in the earlier days. A steep descent through a very thick forest brings you to Triuginarain. Camp is set little above the village. In the late afternoon visit village and its historical temple. Return to camp for meals and overnight.
Day 15: TRIUGINARAIN/SONPRAYAG/GAURIKUND/KEDARNATH
A long day to get to Kedarnath (3,584m) "SHIVA'S ABODE" 06 - 07 hours. The first hour the brings us down to the road head of Sonprayag, from here one hitch a ride on a Car or Local bus for a 15 minutes drive to Gaurikund. The next part of the walk begins through the narrow lanes of Gaurikund and the entire walk of 15 kms is dotted with shops and tea stalls which offer respite to the pilgrims who brave out the five hour steep climb to Kedarnath. The entire path is full of pilgrims from all over India dressed in different costumes, and is great sight to see. The walk is over a well laid out path and quite steep at certain bends, the noisy river Mandakani flows to your right all along the trail. Kedarnath, is a huge temple village and right in the center stands the ancient temple of Kedarnath which was built by the Pandavas (of the Mahabharat fame), Legend has it that the temple was built by the Pandavas to atone for their sins after the great Mahabharat war.
At the entrance of the temple is a huge statue of Nandi the Bull. The walls inside the temple are exquisitely carved with images. To the south is the temple of Bhairon, situated on the top of a hill.
There are numerous Ashrams around here and is one of the most holiest places for the Hindus. On arrival check into an Ashram for overnight stay. Evening witness the special evening prayer at the temple. Meals and overnight at Ashram.
Day 16: KEDARNATH/VASUKITAL/KEDARNATH
Day at leisure to explore this holy place and to visit Vasuki Tal and Gandhi Saravor, an emerald lake where the ashes of Mahatama Gandhi were submerged. The beautiful Temple at Kedarnath looks up to the perpetual snow clad Himalayas and down to the flower-decked Mandakini valley. Meals & overnight at Ashram.
Day 17: KEDARNATH/GAURIKUND/RUDRAPRAYAG
Starting early after breakfast we trek down 04 hours back to Gaurikund. Here our vehicles await us to drive us down to Rudraprayag, which is situated at the confluence of the Mandakini and the Alakhnanda river coming down from Badrinath. Arrival in Rudraprayag by late afternoon. On arrival check into Tourist Bungalow. Evening at leisure to explore this Garhwali town. Meals & Overnight at Tourist Bungalow.
Day 18: RUDRAPRAYAG/RISHIKESH
Commence 05 hour drive to Rishikesh, enroute we stop at the historical town of Devprayag, where the Bhagirathi and the Alakhnanda converge to form the mighty Ganges. On arrival check into Hotel. Rishikesh, is referred as the land of Sadhus or Rishis or Holy men. It is as well situated on the banks of the Ganges and is dotted with some of the best Ashrams and Temples, An evening visit to the Triveni Ghat to witness yet another special prayer ceremony is very interesting. On arrival check into hotel. Afternoon free to visit this Holy town. Meals and overnight at Hotel.
Day 19: RISHIKESH/DELHI
After breakfast commence drive to Delhi 06 hours. On arrival check into Hotel. Rest of the day free for shopping and individual activities. Evening Special farewell dinner is hosted to say you good bye. Return to hotel after farewell dinner. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 20: DELHI/DEPARTURE