Gaumukh Travel Guide (Char Dham)
Gaumukh is also known as Gangotri Glacier and called as Gomukh as well. Gangotri Glacier is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand, India in a region bordering China. This glacier, source of the Ganges, is one of the largest in the Himalayas with an estimated volume of over 27 cubic kilometers.
Around the Gaumukh glacier are the peaks of the Gangotri Group, including several peaks notable for extremely challenging climbing routes, such as Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru, and Bhagirathi III. It flows roughly northwest, originating in a cirque below Chaukhamba, the highest peak of the group.
Gaumukh is situated at a distance of 19 Kms from Gangotri. It is very windy there and as it is situated at a height of approx. 3900-4000 mtrs from sea level, oxygen in the air is deficient.
One has to walk/trek all through, one can also hire a horse ride up to Bhojwasa (14 Kms from Gangotri). However, the last 5 km is a beautiful trekking route and needs must be covered on foot. The road is okay but strewn with boulders and there are challenges on the way. One needs to cross 4-5 water streams on the way. There are very narrow log-bridges over these streams, barely five inches in width and one has to be very careful when crossing these. There are two landslide-prone zones on the way where stones/boulders come down all the time.
Gaumukh during Char Dham Yatra
Many pilgrimages and foreign travellers do the trek of Gaumukh (Glacier) from Gangotri during their Char Dham Yatra.
Gaumukh Mytholigical Importance
The terminus of the Gangotri Glacier is said to resemble a cow's mouth, and the place is called Gomukh or Gaumukh (gou, cow + mukh, face). Gomukh, which is about 18 km from the town of Gangotri, is the precise source of the Bhagirathi river, an important tributary of the Ganges. Gomukh is situated near the base of Shivling; in between lies the Tapovan meadow.
The Gangotri glacier is a traditional Hindu pilgrimage site. Devout Hindus consider bathing in the icy waters near Gangotri town to be a holy ritual, and many make the trek to Gomukh and Tapovan.
Gaumukh in Char Dham Road Route Plan
Haridwar - Rishikesh - Chamba - Tehri - Dharasu - Barkot - Sayana Chatti - Hanuman Chatti - Jankichatti - Yamunotri - Uttarkashi - Harsil - Gangotri (Gaumukh) - Srinagar - Rudraprayag - Augustmuni - Phata - Sitapur - Guptkashi - Gaurikund - Kedarnath - Ukhimath - Chopta - Gopeshwar - Chamoli - Pipalkoti - Joshimath (Auli) - Govindghat - Hanuman Chatti - Badrinath - Nandprayag - Karnprayag - Devprayag
Important Information for Gaumukh Trek:
Only 150 people are allowed to visit Gaumukh per day. There is forest gate at approx. 1.5KM from Gangotri, it opens at 6.00AM, where one needs to show the travel permission and pay Rs.150/- per person. No plastic bags, bottles etc. are allowed to be taken beyond this point. (One can carry these items after making a security deposit, deposited in this gate office).
Some tips for the Gaumukh trek
Gaumukh Google Maps
Accommodation in Gaumukh
Normally travellers are not allowed to stay in Gaumukh or Tapovan, if you get the permission then you can arrange camps or tents from Gangotri or Uttarkashi.
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