As a Hindu we have many god and goddess in our religion and each of the god/goddess sits high up in the mountains. So my affair with mountains started in childhood, thought at that time I was really not sure if I was in love with these majestic mountains, poised landscapes.
I went to one of the ‘Chota Chaar Dhaam Yatra’ (the small circuit of four Abodes) with my family and cousins few years ago. It is one of an important Hindu Pilgrimage circuit in the Indian Himalayas, consist of four sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, BadriNath. In this post I am writing about my journey and trekking at Gangotri(Ganges River) and Gomukh (source from where Ganges river originates).
Gangotri is a place of Goddess Ganga, every year millions of people come here to pay their visit, stay here to attain peace and moksha. People travel from all over world to seek yoga knowledge and submerge themselves into the holy environment of this place. During evening prayers, this place has a divine feeling, with priests reciting prayers, devotees singing bhajans and playing instruments. One has to be there in person to feel the deity.
On our second day we started our trek to Gomukh which is a 18kms trek from Gangotri. The mighty river Ganges starts from Gomukh, above this there is only is the land of Glaciers. It is a very strenuous, risky (believe me very risky), long and a gorgeous hike. When I say risky, that means you have to be really very careful during this trek as the path is not very well laid, a slip of foot will take you right down into the fast flowing Ganges, almost whole of the hike is exposed to steep cliffs, you will need scrambling with your foot & hands at many point as there is loose sand and stones on the way. As these hills are prone to landslides, you will have to careful of falling stones. In addition to that almost all year around peaks are covered with snow and it gets really cold.
We finished this hike in 1.5 days, as we had our parents with us who did not want to walk continuously. We halted at tent shack on the way, where we had our dinner and got some beds. It was not a very cozy tent, it was ripped off from many points so it was cold inside. During the night temp might have fallen down to several degrees in minus as I remember at one point I had covered myself with 4-5 blankets to escape from the cold. It was an adventurous night in the hills.
When I think about it now, I feel lucky that I have been to such a beautiful place showcasing snow-capped peaks, fast flowing river, people meditating around me. I have been lucky to have it done with my dearones. Though I should not forget to mention, I hiked up 18kms, hiked down 17kms, at the last 1km I sat on a stone step and cried and cried because I was tired and I was happy to be back alive 🙂 But I adore those moment when my brothers(younger to me) tried consoling me saying it’s ok do not cry just 1km more 🙂