Hemkund Sahib Yatra:- Also known as Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib Ji, Hemkund Sahib is a place of worship and pilgrimage site for the sikhs. It is located in the Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India.
Nestled amid the Himalayan Ranges, Sri Hemkunt Sahib is a sacred pilgrimage revered by thousands of Sikhs every year. Adorned with beautiful scenic view, the holy place offers tranquility at such an altitude. Literally meaning “Lake of Snow”, the crystal clear water of the lake is equally cold as snow. The place can be reached by trekking through numerous waterfalls, thick forest and captivating views of the Himalayas.
The gurudwara is open only for few months and close down during the extreme winter months. Visited by a myriad of devotees from all around the globe, it accounts for the highest gurudwara of the Sikh community.
- History Of Hemkund Sahib
The site of the Gurudwara, as mentioned in the auto-biography of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru of Sikhs was unexplored and untouched for almost more than two centuries. The locals were in great awe of the lake and revered the area around it, known as “Lokpal” (sustainer of people). It was Bhai Santokh Singh (1787-1843), a Sikh historian-poet, who with his vivid imagination described and explained the story of Dusht Daman meaning “vanquisher of the evil”. It is also believed that it was this place where Guru Gobind Sigh Ji meditated in his previous life.
- Architecture of Hemkund Sahib
Crafted out of white marble, Hemkund Sahib is an imposing star-shaped structure lying on the banks of the beautiful lake. A water body behind the structure is a source of the Lakshman Ganga.
- Attractions Nearby Hemkund Sahib
You can visit a small temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman located nearby.
- Best Time To Visit Hemkund Sahib
The Hemkunt Sahib Yatra is open for some particular months. The journey usually begins in June and ends in the month of October during which the weather allows for a pleasant expedition.
- How To Reach Hemkund Sahib
The only way to reach Hemkunt Sahib is on foot. The 15 km trek begins from Gobindghat on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The last 5 km of the trek is a steep climb from the Ghangharia, the base of Hemkunt, the path winding along the surging waters of Lakshman Ganga.
1. Be prepared for any kind of weather as it changes very frequently.
2. Make sure to carry a raincoat, wind-sheeter, first-aid kit, torch, spare battery, sweater, jacket, water bottle and a good pair of trekking shoes.
3. The darshan at the Gurudwara usually closes in October.
- Other Places To Visit
A) Valley Of Flowers
A World Heritage Site, Valley of Flowers is probably one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The spread of colorful flowers against the snow-capped mountains during spring is a must-see.
You should also laze around the umpteen number of Himalayan water-falls, streams and paddocks for the beauty of the place to sink in. It is also a nice experience reaching Valley of Flowers from Joshimath. As one nears Gangaria (which is roughly 3 km from the valley), the perfumes of the flowers start coming and visitors are mesmerized by the experience. The visitors need to take a permit from Gangaria to enter Valley of Flowers. The permit is for 3 days and one can trek only during daytime. Visitors are not allowed to stay in the valley during the night and hence accommodation has to be taken in Gangaria itself.
- Best Time To Visit Valley of Flowers
Being a snow-clad valley, the Valley of Flowers, is almost throughout the year, is accessible to tourists only in the monsoon season, between the months of June and September. Summer season is the time, when the Valley has just begun to bloom, and hence not worth visiting, while the snowfall in winters makes the site not only hostile but also defeats the purpose of visiting this valley altogether.
- Summer (March - June) : This is not exactly the most advisable time for a visit to the Valley. The snow starts melting, and the flowers do not even bloom at this time. However, being the off-season, you can go for a trek to the adjoining trekking hot spots.
- Monsoon (July - September) : This is the best time for a visit to the Valley. The flowers are fully bloomed by now, and the snow has also completely melted away. The climate is also pleasant during these months.
- Winter (October - February) : Beginning from October, the winter season is the least advisable time for a visit to the same. The snow starts falling, and the valley becomes unbearably cold.
B) Nanda Devi National Park
Himalayan snow leopard is the major attraction of Nanda Devi National park amidst the valley of flowers and mountain ranges. Other animals found here are the endangered Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, and brown bear.
It is also popular for its medicinal plants and herbs. Nanda Devi peak, which is one of the highest peaks of the world can be seen very closely from this National Park. Along with Valley of Flowers, Nanda Devi National Park has been declared as World Heritage Sight.
C) Fauna And Flora
This area is home to several rare and endangered species including the Snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, musk deer, flying squirrel, tahr, brown bear, red fox and blue sheep.
However, the density of animals is very low. Among the birds, Himalayan Monal Pheasant and other high altitude birds can be sighted in this National Park. Among flowers, orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and anemones are very abundant. However, there are more than 500 species of higher plants in this area. Some of these plants also have medicinal values.