Gaumukh is the second largest glacier of India after Siachen, which is spread over 30kms in length and around 4kms in width. Gaumukh is considered as the most popular and the most visited trekking trails of Uttarakhand. The trekking at Gaumukh is limited to some months only like we can enjoy the trekking here from May to October. The glacier is located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The glacier is the origin of Ganga River as well as of Bhagirathi River too. The place is not only known for trekking it also holds the significance of spiritualism. Uttarakhand itself is a state holding numerous legends and so as the other places holds myriads of history and legends.
This legend tells us the story of King Bhagirath who did self-astonishment and pleased Lord Shiva through his penance. The king asked Lord Shiva to bring River Ganga so that the ashes of his ancestors could get cleansed. Lord Shiva blessed the King and send Ganga on the earth which helped King Bhagirath to cleanse his ancestors’ ashes.
The place is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and at a height of 13,200 feet above the sea level. The trekking trail is situated at an elevation of 3048 metres above the sea level. Bhagirathi River which is a subsidiary of River Ganges originates from here. Gangotri is located at a distance of 18 km from Gomukh. If we go through the research then we can conclude that the snout of Gomukh is moving backwards in a rapid manner and in fact it has moved 1km backwards in around 70 years.
Elements of Attractions
Hopping across the rocks and climbing on them and passing through the glaciers are some of the activities which can be experienced at this place but this is not the end of the beauty of this place. You can spot myriads of flora and fauna including herds of Bharal, blue mountain goats, silver birch, blue pine and several others vegetation cover the entire region.
Nearby Places to Visit
The picturesque landscape of Gomukh leaves the tourists mesmerized and even the neighboring areas including Nandavan and Tapovan, Kedar Tal, Nachiketa Tal, Rudranath etc. of Gomukh takes the attraction level of the tourists at a par level.
1. Nandavan and Tapovan
Tapovan and Nandanvan is a perfect place for meditation and Yoga as the place is cut off from all the pilgrimages tour and the regular trekking trail. The isolation of this place makes it a perfect destination for Yogis and the tourists who love meditating and doing Yoga.
2. Kedar Tal
It is also termed as Shiva’s lake which is situated in the Garhwal regions of Himalayan ranges and at an elevation of 4750 metres above the sea level. Snowfall of Thalay Sagar, Meru, Bhrigupanth and various other surroundings are the origin of this lake. Kedar Tal is a known steep rocky trekking spot in Uttarakhand.
3. Deoria Tal
The lake is situated at an elevation of 2,438 metres above the sea level and is about 3kms from the Mastura Village and Sari Village which is situated on the Ukhimath Chopta road in Uttarakhand. Heavily dense forests, snowcapped mountains and the greenery spread in the environment gives an eye treating view to the tourists. The lake is situated at a trekking distance of 7 km from Ukhimath.
Not so far from Gomukh and is located at a distance of 31.6 km from there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered as the last pilgrimage of Panch Kedar pilgrimage sites. Tourists are free to pay their homage throughout the year as the temple is opened for the entire year. There is a mythological tree named Kalpeshwar tree which is known as a wish granting tree.
The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and is perched at an elevation of 2286 metres above the sea level. The trekking trail of this temple is the most difficult one as compared to other pilgrimages of Panch Kedar Circuit. Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund, Mana Kund etc. are some sacred Kunds where devotees take bath.
6. Nachiketa Tal
A soul endowing natural paradise settled amidst the lush green mountains of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. The lake is the favorite destination of the trekkers as well as nature lovers as is surrounded by greenery from everywhere. You can spot a temple beside the crystal blue lake which is however less explored by the tourists. Walking through the dense forests accompanied with your partner can be the beautiful moment of your trip.
How to Reach Gaumukh
If you plan a trip to Gaumukh then you don’t need to worry about the accessibility of the place as you can reach there by opting for any of the transportation modes.
By Air- Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport from Uttarkashi where Gaumukh is located. The airport is situated at a distance of 160 kms from Uttarkashi and from Uttarkashi you can very easily get buses, cabs and taxis.
By Rail- You can get frequent trains for Uttarkashi and Rishikesh Railway station is the nearest railway station which is located at a distance of 143 kms from Uttarkashi. It is very easy for a tourist to get the regular transportation from the railway station.
By Road- Route near to NH-108 should be preferred by you if you are going to Gaumukh by road. Interstate and intra state buses ply from Uttarkashi which makes the place easily accessible for tourists of different budget plan.
Best Time to Visit Gaumukh
Gaumukh is a must visit place in Uttarakhand but due to some weather limitations you need to make a proper planning for the trip as the weather fluctuation occurs frequently at this place.
Weather in Summer- The temperature during summer ranges around 25 degree Celsius which makes it the most suitable time for planning your trip. The other reason why people mostly prefer summer is that they can visit all the temples as there are some temples which are closed during winter and are opened during summer. The ambience is quite pleasing and delightful which makes your journey hassle free and even this is the peak time of Char Dham Yatra so all the hotels, dhabas, ashrams provide their service enthusiastically.
Weather in Monsoon- due its hilly location the place witnesses heavy rainfall during monsoon which results into landslides. The roads get blocked and it becomes much challenging to travel during disastrous storms and even the chances of vehicle skidding also get increased during this season. The temperature ranges around 15 degree Celsius which makes the environment chilled. However you can see few tourists who don’t bother about the chilled weather and loves to travel in less crowded.
Weather in Winter– it’s very easy to imagine the intolerable chilled weather of the northern states. The temperature of Gaumukh ranges from -2 degree Celsius to 5 degree Celsius. Some of the auspicious pilgrimages are closed during winter and even the treks are also limited. So it’s better to skip the trip plan if you have plans to visit the pilgrimage and cover some difficult treks.