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Things To Do In Gangotri
Gangotri is a haven for visitors looking to find peace and solace in their roots or for travellers passionate about wildlife and the great outdoors. It is one of the Char Dhams, situated in the Himalayan mountains in the state of Uttarakhand, and is frequented by thousands of local and international tourists’ year in and year out. However, due to extreme winter conditions, a lot of activities here tend to be seasonal. River-rafting, mountain climbing and skiing in the Himalayan Garhwal Range are extremely popular though. Read ahead to check out some of the best things to do in Gangotri.
Visit Gangotri Temple
This is probably the major reason for people to even travel to Gangotri in the first place. Created in memory of Goddess Ganga, it was built by General Amar Singh Thapa way back in the 18th century. The temple was built using marble and attracts nearly 2.5 lakh tourists every year. The temple opens in May during the Akshaya Tritiya Festival and by October it shuts down for winter.
Check out Gangotri National Park
No trip to Gangotri is complete without a trip to the national park. Also known as Govind National Park, the untouched landscape attracts thousands of botanists and nature lovers every year. Created in 1955, there are hundreds of medicinal plant species that can be found here. It is known to be home to rare animals like the snow leopard and black bear. It is a 1.5 km trek away from Gangotri. The Bhagirathi River flows through this park.
Trek to Nelong Valley
Nelong Valley is a unique, untouched valley that can be found on the border of India and Tibet. It once used to be an important trade route but has since remained untouched, resulting in throngs of trekkers and tourists swarming here throughout the year. The landscape of the area is almost cold and desert like, offering views of the Tibetan Plateau. It is home to snow leopards, blue sheep and musk deer. It can be reached via an 8 km trek from Gangotri Shrine and is located a whopping 11,000 feet above sea level.
Trek to Kedartal
A 17 km trek from Gangotri, it is one of the most popular trek routes in Uttarakhand. The best time to take this up is between May and November, when the natural landscape can be enjoyed and the weather is relatively kind. Moderate in difficulty, it is recommended for people who have some form of prior trekking experience. This glacial lake’s beauty is one to truly behold as it is surrounded by the Himalayan ranges on all sides, at a jaw-dropping altitude of 4291 metres above sea level.
Another activity that is recommended is the trek to Gangnani, approximately 52 km away from Gangotri. It is a small town, famed for its thermal springs and beautiful views of the Himalayas. The area is also home to the Parasara Temple, dedicated to the sage by the same name. It’s remote location and natural splendour makes it an ideal place to visit for both naturalists and visitors looking for peace and serenity.
Check out the village of Harsil
2620 metres above sea-level, the hamlet of Harsil is surrounded by Himalayan Mountain Ranges, vibrant flora and fauna, dense forestland and apple orchards. It has become recently popular amongst tourists and pilgrims alike. Visitors can additionally check out the seven glacial lakes of Sattal and the village of Dharali from Harsil.
Trek to Gaumukh
This are is said to be the main source of the legendary Ganga River. It is a popular trekking as well as pilgrimage destination. The trek to Gaumukh or Gomukh begins from Gangotri and is a 19 km journey that is extremely rewarding. 13,200 feet above sea level, this is also India’s second largest glacier, spanning nearly 4 km in width.
Adventure Sports in Gangotri
Everything from treks to mountaineering, national park visits and river rafting, skiing, rock climbing etc are all possible here in Gangotri. Tourists and nature lovers will be spoilt for choice with all outdoor activities. However, majority of these would be seasonal owing to the wild winter conditions. There are numerous state and private agencies offering up these exciting adventure sports throughout the year.
Trek to Tapovan and Nandanvan
Located 23 km and 27 km away from Gangotri by trek, Tapovan and Nandanvan are both beautiful meadows in the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Himalayan mountain ranges. Both destinations are a trekker’s paradise and take adventurers through some steep but rewarding landscapes. For Nandanvan especially, please note that the trail should only be scaled with an experienced guide and is considered difficult for even experienced trekkers.